How to Deal with Gossipers – The Professional Way

What would be the best thing to do if people talk behind your back? Ignore them. Remember the saying “Dogs bark if they don’t know the person?” People tend to judge us even if the only thing they know about us is our name. There’s a lot of people who tend to do a lot of gossiping at work, bad-mouthing their co-workers, or even have the audacity to give negative feedback to their own employer or their own company who feeds them. Such hypocrisy, don’t you think? 


Why do people gossip? 


<a href=’’>Woman photo created by drobotdean –</a>


At the most basic level, judgment and gossiping is nothing more than a survival mechanism. The ego-mind labels things based on their perceived impact on one’s survival. So, when one feels that they are under threat in some way, a judgment will be made, and then they will start gossiping about the person whom they thought excels in some aspects more than they do. It reflects the insecurities of the gossiper, not the one that they are talking about. 


So sometimes, we ask ourselves: Why do people gossip? Well, it is the mindset. We tend to gossip and judge others because of our thoughts. We have been conditioned to compare ourselves from childhood with our fellow students, neighbors, and every other person in society. We have to better than others. We always work towards that. So, we have to justify we are better than others or why we like or respect somebody. The scales of measurement are given by society. 


Gossiping is a natural human tendency. We are inclined to talk about people and that is okay if the gossip we are sharing with other people who surround us will not harm the other person’s morale. The question is are you okay with that person knowing what you are saying about them? Are you feeling good about yourself when you walk away from the conversation? Don’t surround yourself with the people who gossip about their bosses and co-workers. Ask yourself if what you have to say is necessary information, if it is not, then skip it and move on. Avoid them at all costs. 


How to avoid gossiping in the office? 


  • Acknowledge that everyone gossips at some point. Sometimes they call it venting. You aren’t going to stop them – just don’t join them. 


  • Save your venting for one safe person. Don’t spread gossip about the gossips. 


  • Often you can just change the subject or walk away. It doesn’t usually require drama to avoid drama. 


  • Don’t attend social events with toxic coworkers. 


Ignore them. Don’t get involved in their gossip. Look at it like this: If you do your job your way, they’re going to talk about you anyway. Some people are like that because they don’t have anything else to do. Only you know what you’re up to, not them. They can talk smack all day if they want, but at the end of the day, all that matters is what you did at your company. Ignore them and continue to work, because at the end of the day, working hard will always have a good result. 


When you listen and acknowledge your co-worker’s gossip, you’re fueling the gossiping. If gossipers don’t have listeners, they won’t gossip. Listeners are vital to the gossiping game – no customers, no sales. So, start to think about how it would feel to be gossiped about yourself and understand the difference between talking about someone in an integral way or a dis-empowering way. 

Distance yourself and never get involved. Some people use gossip to draw others into a web of intrigue just to call them out and embarrass them. It’s office politics and deviants use it to climb the greasy pole. They’ll drag your face into the mud just to get a promotion so never allow yourself to be played like that. When your coworker starts sharing the “gossip,” let them finish their first sentence. Then immediately do one of two things: 

  1. Act like you just remembered something very urgent, and excuse yourself from the conversation. 
  1. Say, “Oh.” Pause. Then change the topic to a work-related one. 


Seriously, it’s the only way they can progress their careers and if they didn’t stab others in the back, they’ll never climb that pole. Haven’t you ever wondered how so and so, who knows nothing about the company or product got to be your department head; now you know. 

If the gossiping is already putting another person’s job in danger it would be best to notify your boss about it. Well, some might agree to disagree with this answer, but I think you should notify your boss about what’s been taking place around the office or whatever work you are in with coworkers. It makes total sense that this might intimidate whoever is gossiping and spreading rumors to coworkers. 


If you are being targeted by the gossipers, don’t give them the satisfaction of pushing your emotional buttons & getting the response they want, & be careful you don’t let them push you to the point that you are provoked into doing something that they then have on you! Still document though, if you end up losing your job over it, you may want to sue. Although likely you’ll lose without some evidence that you tried & failed to get leadership to address the problem. 


If people are targeting you in the workplace, that means you are above them. They have seen something in you. Something valuable. And that is what threatens them. So, keep shining. Keep doing good, and the rest will follow. Do not engage and stay away from that group of people. Gossip causes nothing but drama in the workplace and if you want to succeed you must limit the drama as much as possible. Don’t bother if someone judges or gossips you because they don’t know who you are, just be yourself and smile.