Avoiding Gossip

Written by: Penny Anthem staff


It can be easy to get sucked into negativity and gossip when you are surrounded by it. Fact is, it isn’t going to help your career. It’s unproductive, petty, and can come back to haunt to. Here are some tips on how to avoid getting sucked in to the office gossip.

Change the topic:
Often times work is the main topic that comes up. This can be because your colleagues don’t have much in common outside of work- try to change that. Find out what else interests your coworkers. Learning more about one another will broaden the scope of conversation topics. Instead of focusing on who what they hate about work ask them about their family, hobbies, places they have traveled…etc.

Be upfront:
Sometimes people don’t get the hint when you try to change the topic; you may need a more direct approach.
“I don’t have anything bad to say”
“I am working on trying to stay positive”
“It’s not my place”
“It’s not my business”
“I’m focusing on my own performance”

Remove yourself from the situation:
If everyone seems to sit in the lunchroom and gossip, try sitting outside or going for a quick walk. Leaving the situation is an easy way to avoid being dragged into the conversation or having to listen to it.

Address the issue by being mature and diplomatic:
If you’re having an issue with someone- try to address it in a work appropriate manner. Check out our article on working with someone you cannot stand.

Avoid specifics and focus on the positive:
We are all allowed to be frustrated, and we are allowed to express ourselves. However, if you find yourself trying to work out an issue- avoid using specific names or specific actions.

Instead of, “Jim is so annoying. He never finishes his reports on time” try something less specific and with a positive effect.
“It’s amazing when everyone finishes their reports on time. Things run smoothly and I am able to focus on analyzing the data without feeling rushed”.

Don’t repeat something that isn’t necessary:

Avoid the “he said. “She said”. Unless someone’s actions need to be shared, keep them to yourself. Rule of thumb: don’t talk about what other people said or did. Especially if they aren’t a part of the conversation themselves.

Overtime people will notice that you don’t participate in gossip. Naturally people will stop trying to gossip with you. Keep it simple, don’t feed the beast.

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