I can not tell you the number of times over the years that I have been out with a group of people having a great time, laughing and really feeling good about the friends I’m hanging out with, only to find out some time down the road that one or two of them have spent an inordinate amount of time gossiping and saying mean things about me behind my back.
I’m an adult and this still happens to me.
If you were to ask me, I’m pretty low key and in the background.
I’m usually the designated driver.
But for some eerie reason, people still find a bone to gnaw on.
My friend Paula put it best in a comment on KaPow! KaBoom! Kablooey!:
“Great advice! Gossip is toxic and is a tool used to control and create confusion. More often than not, gossip is loosely based on reality, and the gossiper’s sole intent is to manipulate the truth and twist it in a fashion that ultimately harms another person’s reputation and opens that person up to emotional and possibly physical violence or verbal assault. People will like us or they won’t; people WILL talk about us in judgment or they won’t. Gossiping about others breeds gossip about ourselves. It’s the natural order and cycle of shitty energy and bad mojo.🙂”
The one thing you can always count on is that I will never be the one gossiping and saying mean things behind your back. I just don’t have the time it takes to spend on anyone like that, especially if my only goal is to express how much I don’t like them. It’s just a total waste of time. I’d rather talk about how we can all improve our relationships with others, or how we can discard the toxic baggage. Let’s have that conversation.
How do you deal with someone that gossips about you?
It depends on the gossip and who is saying it. Every situation will be different, but most often I will confront the person talking. This might make me feel a bit more powerful in a setting that was clearly started to make me feel powerless, but it won’t stop the gossip. This person will just deny and deflect and then go back to the same people and gossip some more. That’s who they are.
Rare is the person that will admit what they did and apologize. When you find that, reconsider your position. They might deserve a second chance, but keep your guard up.
So if you confront the gossiper just know that the only thing you’re doing is making your voice heard for a few short minutes. It might make you feel better. It makes me feel better to know I said something to the person. It increases the integrity I have with myself. I am not foolish enough to ever think I have given the gossiper something to mull over and think about because obviously if this person ever did have an intelligent thought it would surprise me.
People that maliciously gossip in order to malign and destroy another person’s character are some of the most heinous folks that walk the earth. They are the trashy National Enquirers among us. I don’t continue to have relationships with people that behave that way. Suffice it to say, once I hear the gossip, I am pretty much done there. That person brings nothing good to my life.
How do you deal with what is being said?
That depends on the circumstances and whether or not any of it has any ring of truth to it that might hurt you, your family, or someone close to you.
Gossip in the workplace is the worst. When people feel insecure in their professional life they tend to want to find something they know, or they have, that no one else has. Then they like to share that. Sometimes what they share is constructive, but when it’s gossip being shared about a colleague, it is never constructive, professional or healthy. Gossip about the person they work with is one thing, but gossip about their personal or home life is truly bottom feeding at it’s most disgusting. Under these circumstances, I’m going to recommend confrontation and most definitely exposure. Someone that has those kinds of tendencies has a real problem with decorum.
If they will say those kinds of things to you about your colleague, exactly what are they saying about you to other people you work with?
I know! Right?! Just can’t trust anyone, can ya? Lol! You see, that’s the one thing the person listening with rapt attention, almost salivating because the gossip is so damn juicy, never stops to consider. I am here to enlighten you, sisters and brothers! If they are talking a blue streak about your colleague to you, they are talking a blue streak to your colleagues about you! Don’t even doubt it!! You are caught up in the storm, baby! It’s just like Paula says in her comment;
“Gossiping about others breeds gossip about ourselves. It’s the natural order and cycle of shitty energy and bad mojo.🙂”
You can sit there and laugh and tell me, “Oh no, she would never do that to me! We’re friends!” and I’m going to look you in the eye and call BULLSHIT! They have probably already done that and more, to you.
Do you want to know how to get yourself out of the shit storm of workplace gossip?
Just shut it down. You’ll experience some twinges of hate from your gossipy colleague, but that will pass, eventually. In the meantime, you need to make it very clear that you know who they are and what they do and you’ll no longer be contributing. You can gently remind them how unhealthy workplace gossip tends to be and ask that they try talking to the person they dislike, instead of talking about them behind their back. They’re not going to take your advice, but at least you let your position be known. They’ll leave your office and look for their next trash receptacle and you can use all of this free time you’ve just gifted yourself with to further your career and do a much better job.
It’s the same with regular, everyday gossip. Just don’t listen to it. Shut the person down. My personal favorite to use is “Please don’t talk about my friend that way.”
I was talking with one of my friends about gossip that had been shared about me and how I would appreciate it if she would shut it down next time she heard it. She responded that she was sure I heard all kinds of mean gossip about her too. I smiled at her and replied, “No one gossips to me about you because they know better. I would never stand for it.” This is true. When people know your integrity, they know not to cross that line with you. Because I had always spoken highly of my friend and had never fallen below the belt and gossiped about her, other mutual friends followed suit by always keeping her in the best light. That’s the way to avoid the drama of gossip.
There are so many times I wished I hadn’t found out about mean gossip and those times are the hardest to reconcile for me. You see, when you find out a friend you absolutely adore has been gossiping behind your back, you really don’t want to believe it. I can speak from the experience of having my heart broken this way. I wanted so much to turn back the clock, to never have heard what was shared, so I could keep my friend. But in the end I knew that to hang onto someone that doesn’t respect me and has spent time trying to hurt me, was not a healthy route for me to take. So I let them go.
To everyone out there that struggles with the pain and agony of mean gossip and the people that share it, I wish you the best of everything. Try not to let it get to you and give yourself the gift of leaving them in your rear-view mirror as you travel onward and upward, without them. Good people will always see you for the grand person you truly are and they will never trust the person that gossips. And the ones that do continue a relationship with the gossiper? Those are the people you can feel pity for. They will never be more than what you see now and were never the person you believed them to be.