The workplace may not always work like clockwork and, no, you cannot work like robots. Communication and interaction is part of working in a team and partaking in gossip is pretty much the thing to do while you’re at it. Every circus has a ringmaster and in this Colosseum of rumours stands the gossip monger, the movements of his tongue mimicking the crack of a whip. Love it? Good for you. Hate it? Here are some ways to keep the bullshit at bay.
1. Distance yourself
This can be done with the help of two kinds of approaches, depending on your personality. The first method involves being straight-up and direct, stating that you are not interested in bullshit and would like to have a discussion that is productive. The second approach is for those who don’t want to hurt feelings. Be polite, ignore and come across as genuinely disinterested.
NEVER be a participant in gossip, unless you really want to be a part of it, in which case, we’re sort of done here.
2. Add your bit of bullshit to the grape vine
This is in case you have already identified the gossiper in your group. Disclose a piece of false information to them arousing their interest, but be sure that this information does not harm any of your colleagues’ reputations or reflects on you in a bad light.
Sure enough, the piece of gossip you helped add will come back to you, and when it does, openly deny it. There are no witnesses to back the gossiper hence they are left with their back to the wall with only their reputation to be humiliated.
3. Handle the rumours
If there are rumours in the office about you, it is a form of social bullying that needs to be nipped in the bud. Approach the likely suspect who spread the rumours and just ask them why.
Be calm and do not be agitated, look them in the eye and ask them what problem they have with you.
If the hate and rumours don’t stop, do the best you can do at your job and go home everyday feeling glorious, while the rumours can rot in hell.
4. Bring it to the attention of your colleagues
Every time you are an audience member of the gossip monger, loudly thank them for sharing the piece of information they have shared with you so that it is audible to your colleagues.
Example: “Thank you Cyril for telling me that Amanda thinks I’m an oaf. I’ll make sure to thank her personally.”
In this way, you tackle both the gossiper and the person who’s spreading rumours. They’ll be avoiding you for quite a bit.
5. Question the gossiper’s intent
Is the gossiper spreading goodwill among the team members or is he just unnecessarily getting everyone worked up on something that hardly matters?
If the gossip you hear is potential rubbish, ask them why they are so interested in spreading this information around. What are they getting out of it? And why does it even matter?
6. Take the gossip as constructive criticism
So you just found out from the grape vine that there are rumours spreading about you. Take it as criticism to improve yourself, if the office is buzzing about you being a slow worker. Take steps to improve yourself and show the gossip monger, even you can change.
7. You’re here to work, not to make friends
If being jovial with your colleagues is part of your routine, make sure it doesn’t come at the cost of being a gossip monger yourself. If it takes gossiping to get closer to your colleagues, remember that you are not in college and you are not here to make friends.