A little gossip in the office is just a part of professional life, and it’s usually harmless. But if the conversation stops when you enter the room, or colleagues are casting sidelong glances your way, concentrating on your work can become a challenge.
1. Get all the facts
Sometimes it’s almost too easy to overhear things in the office and totally misunderstand their intention. So before you go on the warpath make sure you’ve got all the facts straight. You wouldn’t want to accuse people of things they haven’t actually done.
2. Pick your battles
Depending on the type of rumours making their way around the office, it might be smartest to just ignore it. If the source has no real credibility, or the subject of the gossip is really minor, getting upset could make it seem more legitimate. A simple denial will do.
On the other hand, if the rumour is malicious and threatens your reputation or job in a big way, stand up for yourself.
3. Confront the rumours with humour
Showing that you’re aware of what’s being said about you – and that you’re a big enough person to laugh about it – will shut down any catty coworkers very quickly. Approaching the source with a light joke rather than anger or tears will downsize the problem and earn you respect.
4. Approach the source of the gossip
If humour isn’t enough to quell any unsavoury rumours, try talking to the source of the gossip in a calm, but open way. Tell them that they’re making you uncomfortable at work and you’d rather that the information they’re sharing be left at home.
This can be a tricky one, because you don’t want them to go on the defensive and have it turn into an ugly confrontation. Just try to keep an even tone and avoid attacking or criticising them. The key here is to keep it professional.
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Putting the person on the spot like that will hopefully appeal to their conscience and prevent any more gossip from them in future.