Gossiping about someone behind his back, especially when he is the subject of unbridled rumors, can be unbearably exciting. Unfortunately, this can really hurt someone's feelings. The American Psychological Association even believes that the stress caused by gossip can cause students to decline academically. Gossip is also a double-edged sword - while it's fun to gossip about other people, when we do, we invite gossip about ourselves, which is rarely entertaining. Do it for the good of your friend (and yourself) - quit the habit of gossiping before someone gets hurt.
Method 1 of 2: Handling Gossip About You
Step 1. Tell your friends
If you learn that someone has spread bad rumors about you, your first course of action should be to consult with your closest friends. This should be someone you know and trust. Tell them the facts about the situation. If the rumors weren't true, they would definitely fight the spread of the rumors by dropping them whenever they heard someone carrying them around. If the rumors are true, they can still help stop it from spreading by defending you and rebuking the person who spread it.
Another good reason to turn to your friends is that they will keep you from feeling overwhelmed. When it seems like everyone you know is talking about you behind your back, you can feel completely surrounded - good friends will remind you that there are always people who love and appreciate you
Step 2. Face the source of the rumor head-on
If you know for sure who is responsible for spreading bad rumors about you, don't let it go. When you have the chance, walk up to her and tell her that you don't like the mean things she has said. Stay calm when you do this - you certainly don't want to use bad words like this guy. You also don't want to give the viewer the impression that the rumors are true if they aren't - if they don't know all the facts, they may think particularly angry rebuttals to mean the rumors are true.
- Say something polite but direct, like: "Hey. I want you to know that I don't like the things you say about me. Keep that thought to yourself, you suck." Then, just walk away - this guy doesn't deserve your time. Ignore any insults you hear as you walk away.
- Sometimes, the person who started the rumor didn't do it on purpose. It could be, for example, a friend who accidentally leaked a secret. In these cases, it's okay to express your disappointment, but you should avoid acting in a way that seems vindictive or accusatory (as above.)
Step 3. Maintain a healthy self-image
When you're worried about a piece of gossip changing the way other people think about you, that's bad enough. Don't let gossip change the way you think about yourself! The worst thing you can do is let a piece of gossip become a predictor of your needs - let your anxiety change your attitude and actions. Remember that just because someone says something about you doesn't mean it's true. If someone is spiteful enough to spread gossip about you, they must be annoying enough to lie.
For example, if you happen to overhear someone talking about how you speak with a slight slur, don't be quiet and aloof to avoid having to hear your own voice. Everyone has a little characteristic that makes them unique - a gossiper's behavior actually shows his pitiful, low-key qualities
Step 4. Ignore
Gossip is often better dealt with not given any attention.
Most people don't think very hard about gossip - if they see you reacting in a way that looks agitated or embarrassed, they can assume the rumor is true, even if it's not. It's a good policy to react to gossip as if it doesn't bother you. When you hear that there's a rumor going around about you, just ignore it with a comment like, "Heh. You're pretty stupid to believe that." Do not worry about it. Others will pick up on both verbal and non-verbal cues from you. If you act like the rumors aren't worth your time, there's a good chance they will follow suit.
When you hear gossip about yourself, laugh. Act like it's ridiculous! Share a laugh about it! Turn things around by making the person who started the rumor the target of jokes - how funny is it when they actually think spreading stupid rumors about you can work?
Step 5. Never let gossip affect your routine
It's true - if you know there's a bad rumor going around about you, it can be hard to show your face in social situations. If someone tells the rest of the soccer team that you have ringworm in your groin, for example, you probably don't expect time in the locker room before practice. It's very difficult, but try as hard as you can don't be shy from the activities you normally participate in. Doing so will only make you feel more isolated. Instead, show the world how little you care about gossip by not changing the way you live in the slightest.
Step 6. Tell someone in authority
If rumors and bad gossip are a frequent problem, or if someone says a rumor that could get you in trouble for something you didn't do, tell your teacher, counselor, or administrator. These people can help you sort things out - they can give you advice on how to proceed, make you feel better, and even discipline the person who started the rumour. Don't be afraid to contact someone in authority for guidance especially when dealing with bad and stubborn rumors. These kinds of people are there to help you.
You should definitely tell someone in authority if the gossip makes you feel like you can retaliate by doing something drastic, like getting into a fight. Many schools have a zero-tolerance policy for aggressive behavior. Don't get kicked out because of a stupid rumor (especially if it's not true.) Get in touch with someone in authority at your school right away
Step 7. Stay away from people who gossip
One of the best ways to avoid gossiping about you is to stay away from the type of person who says bad gossip! While they may seem popular or cool, these people are pathetic and hopeless. They can't have fun without spreading hurtful rumors about other people. Don't mind them. Find friends who don't get pleasure from hurting other people. Remember - a friend who stabs you in the back by telling bad rumors is not a friend at all.
Method 2 of 2: Handling Gossip About Others
Step 1. Don't pass gossip
The most important thing you can do when you hear gossip about someone is to stop the rumors. No matter how attractive it may seem, it's not worth hurting someone's feelings. Put yourself in this person's shoes - would you like to one day go to school to find out that everyone is talking about you? Wouldn't that make you feel lonely and betrayed? Don't pass gossip - if you do, you're helping it spread.
- It's also not a bad idea to try to convince the person who told you the gossip to stop spreading it. If they are close friends or good people, you may be successful. However, if they were already kings or queens of gossip, they probably wouldn't listen.
- Let's use an example. Say a friend came to you with an interesting secret about a kid you know named Jason - he hasn't been to school this past weekend because he got mono from kissing Kim under the seat at the gym! In this case, just calmly say something like "Oh, let's not spread rumors about him" to crush the conversation.
Step 2. Don't assume the gossip is true
Don't let the baseless rumors you hear influence your attitude in any way. Don't start avoiding or antagonizing people just because you heard something bad about them. One of the reasons gossip can be so hurtful is that it can change the way friends and acquaintances behave around them. Imagine, for example, what it would be like for someone walking down the halls of a school if people were whispering and giggling as he passed. Never change the way you think or act toward someone until you have reason to believe what you hear are true.
In our example, you wouldn't let the rumors about Jason and Kim change your attitude in any way. You certainly won't be avoiding Jason in the dining room or complaining about having to share a locker with Kim, for example
Step 3. Don't make exceptions for gossip you know to be true
Much of the gossip you hear is completely bogus, usually created by someone to get back at someone else. However, sometimes, rumors can be true or half true. Even if you believe the rumors you hear are true, don't spread them. It's a shame to have personal information spread around the school. Would you like it if everyone knew some embarrassingly true information about you, for example, you have dirty rashes? You definitely don't like it - other people do too.
Let's just say you know the rumors about Jason are true because your Mom is the doctor and she leaked the information at dinner last night. Keep this information to yourself. If you let it leak, the information could be more hurtful to Jason than the false rumours. Gossip is gossip even if it's true
Step 4. Keep it a secret
Sometimes, people will trust you with sensitive personal information. This could be something they know about other people or it may be information about themselves. If someone has entrusted you with a secret, never tell anyone without their permission. Not only was this a major breach of their trust, it was also a surefire way to start spreading rumors that could spiral out of control easily. Save your reputation as a reliable friend by keeping secrets that have been told to you.
The best way to avoid revealing secrets is to simply fake ignorance - pretend that you don't know anything. It's smarter to do this than admitting you know a secret and refusing to tell it - if people weren't interested in the information beforehand, the promise of an interesting secret might make them try to pull the information out of you. For example, if Kim tells you that she actually has mono from Stephen's best friend Jason, don't tell your friends I have a secret, but you can't know it
Step 5. Never start a rumor yourself
This seems like a no-brainer, but it's surprisingly easy to start rumors by accident! Whenever you say something bad about another person in the presence of someone you can't trust to keep a secret, you create the possibility that someone will hang around with your words. Find safe! Don't risk hurting someone's feelings or opening yourself up to retaliation just because you let go of your words. Keep the bad words to yourself - or, if you absolutely must share them, be sure to talk to people you trust to keep their mouths shut.
Even telling it to a trusted friend can carry risks. They can, in turn, tell it to other people they trust. As this cycle repeats, more and more people will hear your gossip and the likelihood that it will reach the general population will increase
Step 6. Know when to report rumors to the teacher
The above rules have occasional exceptions. When you hear rumors that make you think that someone is in danger, you should tell your parents, teachers, or administrative officials as soon as possible.
This is all the more pressing if you have any reason to believe the rumors may be true. For example, if you hear a rumor that someone has brought a knife to school or if a friend tells you that she has had thoughts about hurting herself, you should immediately tell a counselor or teacher.
- Breaking someone's trust by telling a teacher about something dangerous he or she is planning can make you feel guilty, as if you betrayed this person. However, a person's physical well-being is more important than his or her sense of trust in you. In fact, in most cases, the name is unfaithful when no Prioritize the safety of friends.
- Remember, if the rumors are fabricated, there's nothing wrong with you. Some people may just gossip for fun, and if you can't stop it, try not to take it to heart. It's not you, it's them.
- If this is causing too much trouble, instead of spilling an interesting secret on the first person you see, hold back your cravings and take some time to think.
- If you still can't stop gossiping that's OK! Don't feel bad for yourself! After all, we are all human, we all have bad habits.