Curiosity is a natural part of human nature, we all wonder what is going on in the lives of our colleagues and friends and often we express these interests through discussions with others and exchanges of tit bits of information when the subject of the conversation isn’t present.
This is all well and good until the ‘gossip’ begins to spread and more often than not becomes over or under embellished along the way. Unfortunately it is also in the nature of some to be malicious, intentionally passing on information they know to be private and possibly damaging and this is what we must try to avoid.
Malicious gossip is essentially determined by the person being gossiped about’s exclusion from the group in a negative fashion and is also the point where gossip often crosses over the border and becomes bullying.
If there is a dominant member of your group of friends or work colleagues and you feel like they are trying to exclude you or another for their own malicious satisfaction listed below are a few tips which may help you to deal with the situation:
If you don’t want to be dragged into a malicious conversation then stand your ground and set your boundaries. Try saying something along the lines of “I really don’t feel it’s appropriate to be discussing somebody else’s business, especially when we don’t have all of the fact’s. Did anyone read that story in the paper this morning about…” Changing the subject to something else will help to dispel any tension and will take away the opportunity of a gossip related response.
Also be sure that you are very clear and very confident about the fact you are not willing to be drawn in. This way the gossiper will not try to push you outside as a result of you speaking up.
Finally it is important that you correct any gossip you hear that you know to be untrue. Think about how you would feel if you were the subject of untrue rumours and again, state your point in a clear and confident manner.
What to do if you’re a victim
Firstly weigh up your options. If this is a totally harmless rumour that wasn’t really intended as malicious and hasn’t hurt or upset you then it may be worth letting it lie. If its something more serious and could have damaged your work reputation or something equally as important then plan your approach before you commence. This means making sure you have your facts right. Write them down if you need to but ensure you are very clear about who said what to who and when etc. The next step is to decide how to proceed and who you are going to tell. If you feel that this is a situation that could be resolved by talking to the gossiper then make sure you have planned what you are going to say and do so in a calm manner.
You should always report more serious cases of work gossip to your manager or human resource department to discuss it rather than taking on the issue alone.
For more tips and advice please view the original article here.