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Do you have a coworker that somehow knows and loves to chat about all the uncomfortable details about everyone’s lives? Have you recently become the subject of rumor or workplace chatter? This article will review what to do when coworkers gossip about you to help you deal with this workplace annoyance.

How To Deal With a Gossiping Coworker

You likely won’t be able to stop a workplace gossiper from gossiping entirely, but there are ways to prevent them from thinking you’re the one to chat gossip with.

The best thing you can do is nip it in the bud entirely the first time they start to gossip by being polite and firm. You can say, “I don’t feel comfortable talking about other coworkers this way.” Or you could say, “I don’t think they’d appreciate that being said about them, and this doesn’t have much to do with our job.”

You may also want to inquire about who told them these rumors, go to the source directly, and inform them that what they’re doing is inappropriate. While it may be frightening or uncomfortable, it’s important to say something when you hear something. But if both of these approaches seem too direct, you should start practicing the art of changing the subject. This way, you’ll shut the rumor mill down and show the other person that you’re not interested in the gossip.

How To Handle Gossip About Yourself

If people gossip about you, your first step is to calm down the bubbling emotions. Approaching the situation with anger can lead to poor decisions and get you in trouble. Once you feel calm, speaking with the instigators privately is best to inform them that what they did makes you uncomfortable. You should avoid being confrontational or accusatory, as this will immediately cause someone to go on the defensive.

Instead, you can say things like, “I’m not sure where you heard about this, but it’s not true, and if you would please stop saying these things, I would appreciate it.” You could also say, “I’m saddened to hear that something I told you confidently has spread around like this. What can we do to avoid this situation in the future?”

What To Do When Gossip Goes Too Far

Sometimes, if gossip goes too far, it can be a sign that you’re in a hostile work environment, especially if the gossip is persistent, intentional, and discriminatory. If you feel unsafe or unable to do your job, it’s time to report the situation to HR. In these cases, you may not feel comfortable or safe speaking with the instigator directly. Don’t put yourself in the line of fire; take it to someone whose job is to deal with situations like this.

Ultimately, the best thing to do when coworkers gossip about you is to lead positively. The more kind and empathetic you are, the more you show others that you don’t tolerate the opposite.

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