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3 Tips to Shut Down Gossipy Coworkers

Submitted by WomenWorking on Mon, 10/14/2013 - 14:32

Offices can feel like breeding grounds for gossip. So how do you avoid being at the center of it? Here are a few tips:

Play nice with the gossip queen. When someone creates drama, your first instinct may be to keep your distance. But people often gossip when they feel insecure, which may result from a fear of judgment or rejection. Make the office gossip queen feel like part of the group. Engage her in gossip-free conversation. Show her she can trust you not to be judgmental and she will be less likely to spread rumors about you.

Ask for clarification. When a boss or coworker gives you feedback – especially if it’s not entirely positive – make sure you’re clear about what they’re trying to tell you. Ask for clarification on the spot. Avoid turning to less reliable third parties for their take, as that could start the rumor mill running. Open, honest communication is crucial.

Don’t fan the flames. Participating in gossip about others makes it more probable that they’ll do the same when a rumor about you is making its way around the office. So, as enticing as gossip can be, by passing it on, you’re ultimately just hurting yourself.

-Sarah Cooke