Why People Gossip and How to Avoid it

"Allegretto" by Mimi Stuart ©

Why people gossip and how to avoid it

Gossip is unconstrained and often derogatory conversation about other people, and can involve betraying a confidence and spreading sensitive information or hurtful judgments.

Research shows that people who gossip the most have very high levels of anxiety. They are generally not particularly popular because they cannot be trusted. Spreading private information or negative judgments is painful to others and reflects poorly on the gossiper.

Why do people gossip?

•  To feel superior

People who don’t feel good about themselves temporarily feel better when they judge others negatively.

•  Out of boredom

When people can’t generate interesting discussions based on knowledge or ideas, gossip can rouse people’s interest.

•  Out of envy

People gossip in order to hurt those whose popularity, talents, or lifestyle they envy.

•  To feel like part of the group

People gossip to feel as though they belong to the group. Yet, when acceptance is based on being “in on a secret,” it is not based on a person’s identity, but on exclusion or maliciousness.

•  For attention

A person gets to be the center of attention temporarily while divulging a piece of gossip. Yet, spreading gossip or rumors is like buying attention; it’s temporary and has little foundation.

• Out of anger or unhappiness

A person can derive a sense of retribution with disparaging remarks.

Is it always wrong to talk about others?

Most people have a natural curiosity about what’s going on among people in the community. Some of the best books are biographies that tell the life stories of other people. However, the best biographies give the reader an understanding of the nuance and complexity of the person’s character through facts. They are not based on one-sided, offensive judgments of the person.

The key is to look at one’s intent in discussing other people and relationships.

Is the intent to understand human nature and improve one’s quality of life and relationships?

Or: Is the intent to temporarily feel superior or get attention by disparaging others?

Responses to unwelcome gossip:

Let’s suppose that somebody is gossiping mercilessly about Jane. It’s important not to feed the gossiper with curiosity, agreement and further questions. It’s best to simply change the subject. Here are some other possible responses:

“I notice that you talk about Jane a lot. I’m curious why she interests you so much?”

“Let’s take a look at it from Jane’s side.”

“I am more interested in what you are up to.”

“Let’s talk about something more positive or decide what we’re going to do this afternoon.”

“I feel uncomfortable listening to negative judgments about people unless we figure out how to help them.”


Gossiping shows others the gossiper’s insecurity and meanspiritedness. It also leaves everyone involved feeling as though they’ve just eaten a bad apple. Ultimately, insight into the intricacies of human relations and behavior is more interesting, uplifting, and enlightening than one-dimensional judgments and rumors.

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

Watch “Distinguishing Harmless from Malicious Gossip.”

Watch “How To Respond To Malicious Gossip.”

Read “Dreading intrusive questions at family gatherings: ‘It’s none of your business!’”

Read “Venting and Triangulation.”

Recommended Reading:

On gossip Dr. Rosnow: http://pbskids.org/itsmylife/friends/rumors/article4.html

127 Responses to Why People Gossip and How to Avoid it

  1. Mary says:

    I believe people who get on other people’s cases and gossip about them are people hiding bad things about themselves and their own families and lives. It is beyond low self-esteem. Trying to kill someone continually with your mouth is actually trying to kill them! Gossip is bad stuff.

  2. Connie says:

    I have dealt with gossip for most of my adult life. My ex husband was an abusive alcoholic who destroyed our family. He affected my children and myself in unspeakable ways mentally and emotionally which I deal with to this day. My life with him was a nightmare and getting him out of my life took everything I had. He was a narcissist who felt he owned me, and with little support, getting away from him was very hard. Two years after we parted he died a tragic death in a fire while intoxicated. His family blamed me for all the wrongs in our lives and spread vicious rumors about me. His grandmother who raised him along with 5 sisters are who I mean by family. I left the town I lived in, went to college and then later left the state. I have since found a wonderful man who I am happy with, who treats me very well. They are still talking about me to one of my daughters. They are claiming that I was at fault for everything wrong. I even caused his drinking. They are telling her he was a perfect father while I was this horrible mother. That he worked, cooked and cleaned while I did nothing. He never cooked or cleaned but he did work. But, all his money went to his drinking and drugs; he spent it on his friends and himself while we lived in poverty. This was twenty five years ago! My thing is how do I stop this from affecting me? Why do they continue to do this all these years later? Should I confront them? This truly hurts and makes me angry and I just want to get them out of my life completely!

    • Alison says:


      I’m sorry about all the grief and suffering you experienced while married to your ex husband. I’m so glad to hear that you were able to conjure the strength to get away from him and to go to college. That can be very tough to do when your self-esteem has been assailed by emotional and mental abuse, and it is something to be proud of. I’m also happy that you were able to meet someone who treats you well.

      I would not confront your ex’s family members. I would not give them the power over you by engaging them and showing them that they can hurt you. When you engage someone and defend yourself and correct them, what they sense is that they have the power to hurt you, and that may be the only power they have in their lives. So they will relish it, and continue to put energy into hurting you. Your defensiveness will only encourage their attacks.

      I would try to avoid them, and I would focus on improving your life, your relationships, and your pursuits. Hopefully you will realize soon that it is the poverty of their imaginations and their lack of capabilities that lead them to malign you.

      Regarding your daughter, she will see more clearly the truth over time. You can admit to her that you are not flawless (no one is) and that your biggest weakness was allowing yourself to be controlled and bullied and staying with someone who treated you badly. You wished you had not stayed with your dad while he was abusive. You can say it’s hurtful that your ex’s family will always see you as problem and that what they say about you is untrue. You can clarify any facts you want to your daughter, but do so with dignity. Tell her you’d be happy to clarify anything she wants, but you prefer not to hear repeated negative gossip about you, because it is hurtful and untrue. Be a role model of self-respect and strength to her, not of weakness and victimhood.

      Most importantly, try not to focus on your ex’s family members any more. Don’t allow their manipulation and negative gossip to gain power over you. Focus on the positive things you want to continue to accomplish in your life!

  3. ROGER says:

    You have to remember one thing: “It’s none of YOUR BUSINESS what other people think about you.

    It’s a bitter pill to swallow but unfortunately it’s fact.

    They ALL ARE INCONSEQUENTIAL to your well being and life in general

  4. Ella says:

    I don’t normally search online for help with personal problems but I am so glad I did today. I needed some ideas to help me avoid gossip and I found this. I have spent some time reading your responses to comments here. I feel you offer sound advice and are very positive. I love it. I look forward to checking out other articles along with your youtube videos.

  5. Alison says:


    That is annoying and strange.

    I wonder though if you are giving her too much power by your active response, for instance, speeding away when she drives near you. She can sense that she has some power to cause you to be so reactive. Someone who gossips negatively about others usually gossips and does other negative things because it’s the only way they can feel a sense of power in their lives. Perhaps your reactions could be toned down and you could see if she loses interest in provoking you.

    If she’s truly stalking you and presenting a risk to you or trespassing, then you should talk to the police. But if she’s simply hanging around and trying to provoke you, you might try changing your response. What if you waved at her or nodded to her in an impersonal but not angry way when she came into view. What if you didn’t speed up when she drove near you, and then you waved and then ignored her, but not in a hostile manner.

    Alternatively, when you see her, you could say something like, “You seem to follow me around a lot. How come? It almost seems as though you like me.” But don’t act in an angry way. Just be very neutral. It is possible that she has some strong projections about you. People who insult others and gossip negatively often only know how to get attention by provoking others. You take away her power by being less provoked.

    I really think that if you become truly less reactive, she will get less pleasure out of your reactions.

    Good luck!

  6. Mariah Jasmine Velasco says:

    My sisters are the gossipers not me. They had addiction to substances in the past they are now in their mid 30s and i’m 21. I think it’s sad that they have to talk bad about me because i’m doing all the right things, going to school and working. They always had something to say and feel bad. It got worse at my cousin’s wedding. Both my sisters and one of my girl cousins were talking bad about me. The thing is they were talking about me in front of my Dad, and my Dad just eats it up, it’s crazy! It just hurts inside and I don’t want to be an angry person inside. I want to stay blissful. Reading this article was helpful some, but I just can’t wrap my head around the fact that they would be jealous. I need answers, me and my Dad aren’t on the greatest terms right now. He graviates more over to my half sisters. When they also caused him great pain, more than me. At least i’m going down the right path. One of my sisters is married to a total LOSER. Maybe she is miserble in her life and feels the need to talk shit about me. Ugh it is so frustrating. help.

    • Alison says:

      Hi, I’m sorry to say that there are people including your father feel threatened by your success. Yes, they are jealous. Often parents’ attention is directed to those who need them the most. In your case, he may feel more needed by your sisters who complain and have more problems.

      Unfortunately, your father will continue to have power over you as long as you long for his approval. Yes, it is unfair that he listens to negative gossip about you, while you are going to school and working. I’m sure it hurts.

      I recommend that you continue to avoid gossip and avoid thinking about your sisters and the whole negative atmosphere of your family. Try to remain courteous, but put more time and effort into people whom you look up to. Find other role models and friends. Try to be kind but continue to expand your own life and don’t expect appreciation from your family. I know that may sound harsh. But you actually are more likely to be appreciated when you are not hoping for it. You will have to emotionally separate a bit more from them (that is, not care what they think, while continuing on the right path and acting with respect).

      Good luck. And I admire what you are doing.


  7. Nouss (not real name) says:

    I have some one sneaking around behind my back trying to turn people away from me and against me that I have either came in to contact with or spoken to or I have been friends with now and in the past. This has been going on for many years simply because the person causing the trouble and those they have sucked in to helping them with their lies and deceit have been given the benefit of the doubt and their absolute word taken as gospel another words the absolute truth! Just because what you hear or are told about a person sounds convincing doesn’t mean that what you have heard or been told is absolute gospel, the absolute truth usually there is more to the story than what you have heard or been told or it just so happens it turns out to be absolute rubbish. People distort the truth or make bullshit up about others for two reasons and that is to either exact revenge and not always for genuine reasons either or secondly it’s done out of pure jealousy of the person they are doing it to. In my case and I can prove it this persons motivation for what they are doing to me behind my back is caused through the person being jealous of me. I am dumbfounded as to why the person is jealous of me. (This is the threat the person sent me. “The reason why *** is doing this to you is because *** is jealous. On everything you. Do. Everything you touch *** wants what you have.. But *** nos *** can’t so *** is trying to steal every thing you have. *** wants you to be unhappy in love.life.health.money everything in ur life *** wants to take away but I can make this person stop and take *** out of ur life FOR EVER…….if you want me help.” This person tried to pose as some body else professionally in order to cover their tracks. This person posed as a psychic in order to cover their tracks and to try and scam a large sum of money out of me. Trust me the above was not written by any psychic. ) While I have confronted people in the past that have turned away from me or against me and have avoided me like the plague as to whether this person or any one else that has been sucked in to helping this person through this persons lies and deceit has contacted them I have been told two things “Mind your own business.” or “We don’t want to get involved”. Strange but true. Hence because people I thought were friends have refused to tell me that this person or their many helpers have contacted them behind my back and these people I thought were friends have given them the benefit of the doubt and taken their word as absolute gospel, the absolute truth and have not even bothered to question me or let me have a fair hearing I have had no way of proving it to the police or to a Attorney so that I could take legal action to have this person and their helpers stopped from sneaking around behind my back continually trying to turn people away from me or against me with lies and deceit. These people that were my friends or just people that I knew go away and gossip and in turn this turns more people away from me or against me. It has gotten so bad I cannot even go to the hairdressers to get my hair trimmed with out this person going there behind my back and bad mouthing me. Yes it is true I have only just changed hairdressers due to the last hairdresser’s behavior toward me. I had done nothing to this hairdresser in the past to warrant this sort of behavior from them. How the hairdresser treated me was the same as how the rest treated me that have now turned their back on me because of contact from this person so I knew some thing was wrong straight away. (I found out purely by accident that this person had contacted who I once thought were friends behind my back and but also contacted people that I just knew from talking with them in the public domain or who came to my house.) I have now became a person who no longer trusts any one and is suspicious of every one, who is to afraid to let their guard down in case I end up hurt again. After reading Paul’s statement above I have to agree with him. Most of the people I once thought were friends were from a church parish I used to attend and one of them is minister who was once a minister of that parish but had moved on but kept in contact with some of the parishioners he considered as friends that in turn I thought were my friends up until this person had made contact with them behind my back and they turned against me as I stated above with out even giving me a fair hearing or questioning me as to what this person had told them. These people even the minister who consider themselves upstanding Christians went back and repeated to other people from two other churches of the same parish what they had heard about me with out even knowing if what they were told about me was the truth the gossip they started then got passed around to other Parishes of the same religion in the small city I live in before I knew it even more people started avoiding me like the plague so hence I discontinued going to church and will never return to another church to join them for worshiping again. These people that call themselves Christians seem to be to worst offenders when it comes to gossiping. They seem to think because they are Christians they have a special license or some sort of special privilege from God that allows them to meddle and interfere in another’s business and to gossip about another’s business because if they ask for forgiveness and God give’s it to them every thing will be just fine again. They seem to think because they can ask for forgiveness and they think they have been forgiven they don’t have to do any thing else like go back and clean up the mess they made of some poor innocent persons life they have made a mess off with their meddling and interfering and gossiping they simply think it is okay to move on and to take the high road and be the bigger person – put it behind them and move on to new friends and bigger and better things. More like move on to bigger and better things to meddle and interfere in and gossip about and damage yet again another innocent persons life and more often than not permanently damage another’s life through their meddling interfering and gossiping and again they move on to what they call bigger and better things mean while Mental Health and the innocent persons family or next of kin or care givers etc are left to clean up what serious damage and more often than not the permanent damage these people have caused through their mindless meddling and interfering and gossiping. Some people never recover from the serious or permanent damage these people cause and so commit suicide. Although I am now fully recovered I was on one of those innocent people that has had their life permanently damage through these sort of people that I became suicidal. Going back to the person contacting people behind my back it got so bad I at one stage couldn’t leave the house as I was to scared to as this persons intimidation by stalking and harassing me by contacting others behind my back affected me to the point that I started to close down emotionally and needed Mental Health help. The police and Mental Health both failed to listen to me and believe what I was telling them, my family was no better and hence the person who contacted people behind my back and lied to them and deceived them got away with it and so it is the same for the gossipers to this day the same is still happening. I now have very very limited contact with the out side world as I don’t socialize any more out side of the house I am to scared to and once again I cannot trust any one and I am suspicious of every one because of this person contacting others behind my back to ruin my reputation and my life in general and those that are sucked in to this persons lies and deceit that than go away gossip about it to others who know me who also then avoid me like the plague. The irony of it all is no body this person has spoken to behind my back has the guts or decency to tell me what this person has said to them about me that has them and others avoiding me like the plague. So you tell me please how I am suppose to put a stop to this person contacting others known to me behind my back who in turn go away gossip about what they have heard from this person that in turn ruins my reputation every time? It has became a viscous cycle that repeats it’s self time after time because no body wants to listen to me, no body want’s to tell me what this person has been telling them about me behind back so there fore I don’t have the proof or evidence to take to the police or a Attorney in order to have this person and the gossipers stopped. I have once moved but the person found me again through some who they gossiped with who I used to socialized with through the church and so moving was useless. What is the point of me moving again? It will change nothing, I will only be found again. If some body really wants to go great lengths to find you chances are great that they will find you even the police have told me this. Thank you for your time and many blessings to you Alison. p.s I have had to remain anonymous as this person also stalks me online to find out information on me e.g who I talk to or who I am friends with online. This person will not stop until they are stopped legally which at the moment as I stated above has no way of happening yet.

    • Alison says:

      Unfortunately I can’t help you, nor did you ask for my help. I think it’s best for you to talk to a mental health professional where you are living. Take care, and I wish you the best.

      • Good Old John says:

        Dear Alison Poulson while I read your written answer to Nous with great interest above and I read the person Nous’s written concern as I was asked to take a read of the above I cannot agree with you due to my knowledge or awareness concerning , the minister and the parishioner’s; Christians if you will that is secret or known to only a few people on the subject of what Nous raised above by those involved from a particular religion; The minister in general while I don’t expect any church or minister to be perfect did do the wrong thing. Behaved in an unwise manner; stupidly by siding with and interfering and meddling in negative gossip, idle talk or rumor,
        about the personal or private affairs of another. *(yes I do know the minister have for some years.) This on the whole is below or contrary to the standards expected in his particular profession by the church synod etc. Unprofessional. The minister did in fact due to believing by siding with and interfering and meddling in negative gossip, idle talk or rumor, about the personal or private affairs of this persons past slept with as in indulge in sexual relationships with those from the persons past who started the negative gossip, idle talk or rumor, about the personal or private affairs of this persons out of pure cold jealousy. Professionally speaking it was not the ministers job to share a bed with those spreading the negative gossip, idle talk or rumor, about the personal or private affairs of this persons past it was the ministers job not to side or believe what the minister was told it was the ministers job to help those who came to the minister with the negative gossip, idle talk or rumor, about the personal or private affairs of this persons past to help them move on with life; not take sides or share a bed with them like the minister stupidly did the minister should not have behaved below or contrary to the standards expected in his particular profession by the church synod etc in an unwise manner; stupidly, unprofessionally like the minister did even if the minister did or did not know all the facts. The Christians involved in this should not have interfered and meddled in negative gossip, idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of this person, deliberate gossiping and interfering and meddling is worse than spontaneous adultery! Gossiping and interfering and meddling is one of the number one reasons why people stop going to church. Gossip and interfering and meddling causes suicide. Gossip and interfering and meddling causes divorce. Gossip and interfering and meddling drives people out of church. All it takes is gossiping and interfering and meddling one time and you may destroy a marriage, a family, a friendship, a church or someone’s life. It’s been said: “Believe none of what you hear, and only half of what you see.” I like that. The facts are nearly always distorted and false as they pass from one ear to another. What began as a hold of the hand usually ends up turning into adultery by the time it reaches enough ears. The only safe thing to do is to be quite, or steer the conversation in a positive direction. What I do is immediately mention something good about a person if their name is brought up in conversation this is what the minister should have done in the first place not take sides just because the ministers fellow parishioner’s did. I hate gossip and so does God, because it hurts others. You might as well put a gun to the person’s head and pull the trigger when you speak evil about them. Gossip is a sin just as interfering and meddling is any Christian and minister should know this full well! James 4:12 says that God is the only Judge, and warns not to judge (condemn) others. Jesus taught in The Golden Rule in Matthew 7:12 to treat others the way you want to be treated. You or the minister or the parishioners/Christian’s wouldn’t want someone spreading their sins and faults all over town, or even repeating them to one neighbour or parishioner like they have Nous. These people should not judge others or Nous because they sin differently than they do. To the same extent as the damage these people including the minister caused by their gossiping words and interfering and meddling, to that same degree God will judge them by their own words (Matthew 7:1-2) they should know this and if you did not you now do. So what’s the answer? It is not speaking to a mental health professional where you are living like you erroneously told Nous; Nous did not start the problem here the minister and the ministers fellow parishioner’s did; These people need to learn to keep their mouth shut! It works. They need to learn if they don’t talk about another, then they can’t gossip, interfere and meddle. What usually happens is that people they listen to about others and this has happened in Nous’s case spread negative,misinformation, by not having all the facts, and someone’s life and reputation are injured or destroyed subsequently in this case Nous tried to commit suicide, lucky they this time but subsequently next time they may not be so fortunate and will be solely to blame for some poor unfortunate suiciding. Proverb 16:27, “An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.” I learned years ago to just shut my mouth. When we open our mouth, we will always be tempted to talk about someone that has hurt us, or a person that we don’t like. Ephesians 4:30-31 teaches that it grieves God when we speak evil of each other. Jesus taught us by example to wash one another’s feet, not bite and devour one another. The first thing that the wicked do when they think a person sins is start a smear-campaign to permanently destroy that person with out even knowing the facts this is what happened to Nous. The answer is not for Nous to speak to a mental health professional where you are living like you erroneously told Nous; This will not remedy the situation what so ever; has not in the past so what makes you think it would work now? Contrary of your false beliefs Alison Poulson I know this as 100% fact Nous has shown and indicated a high or satisfactory degree of intelligence and mental capacity, revealing or reflecting good judgment of sound thought over the many years that I have known this person this persons written statement above yours contains 100% fact with no distortion or exaggeration. This has since been proven. Nous is not a nut job like you seem to think by your written comment and obviously some one else’s judgement. “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36) These people did wrong not Nous; before any one opens their mouth against another next time they ought remember gossip is deadly. Like bullets fired from a gun, words cannot be taken back. The Bible has much to say about the words we speak, especially as Christians pity these people didn’t bother to read the bible properly before they wrongly and stupidly interfered and meddled in negative gossip, idle talk or rumor, about the personal or private affairs of another as pertaining to Nous and Nous’s situation if they did Nous’s situation clearly could have been avoided. This clearly has nothing to do with speaking to a mental health professional where you are living like you erroneously told Nous; This has every thing do with a religion full of corrupt people and you expecting Nous to speak to a mental health professional where Nous is living like you erroneously told Nous to change this? In reality what can they do? Speak to the minister; who will they believe? The minister; subsequently the minister is treated like Gods gift and the light shines out of the minister; subsequently the minister is treated like his every word is the absolute truth because the minister is a minister and because the minister is a minister people automatically assume the minister would not utter a lie subsequently Nous will be treated like a nut job go unbelieved. Yeh good advice Alison Poulson you typed in your written response “speak to a mental health professional where you are living’ like you erroneously told Nous, sorry it is not relevant or appropriate use your brain; all you have achieved with your written answer is to humiliate and belittle the person Nous adding to Nous’s pain and agony of what Nous is already suffering, how the hell did you become qualified to give out advice I wonder? Email the person advice such as you gave Nous next time don’t air it in a public domain by posting it on a public media site for all to see; no need to humiliate or embarrass them; learn some respect in doing so you just may save a life.

        Every Christian and this goes double for ministers ought to mind his or her own business…

        Namaste and peace be with you Dr John C Johns Jnr; Czech republic.

        • Alison says:

          I know many people who have been helped by mental health professionals when they are struggling. I don’t find it humiliating in the least to suggest seeing a therapist or mental health professional.
          Best to you,

      • Ali says:

        Wow. Did you make it through the whole thing? Love your answer.

  8. Deelee says:

    Also, the reason why I think that people know me for being this way is that they really only talk to me about these things. My best friend often “triangulates” me (from your other article) about her spouse. Now I feel like our friendship needs work, too, if that is why we’re so “close” :(

    • Alison says:

      You could talk to your friend and say something about wanting to gossip and triangulate less, and as your friend, you’d like her to support you in doing that. If it’s an ingrained habit that she only talks to you about her problems, you may have to make an effort for a while to guide the conversation to other topics. If she gets defensive or is unwilling to change the relationship dynamic, you may end up drifting apart, which is also part of life when one person tries to grow and the other feels threatened by that. Good luck.

  9. Deelee says:

    Hello, I came to this page after Googling “weakness, gossip, self-esteem.” I feel like each of those is a problem for me, a very serious problem. I realized that my gossiping and two-facedness at work is what I am known for, especially by people who only know me tangentially and haven’t worked directly with me before. I was Instant Messaging my cubicle mate this morning about a man and woman who both work in our room and have apparently started dating. The woman is always going into the man’s cube and giggling, whispering, etc. I IM’d my coworker next to me that I didn’t care about their personal business, and that the woman’s laugh was just irritating me. In no time at all, my cube mate and I were talking about a rumor my friend down the hall told me about the pair and their dating history. I kept saying “it’s none of my business” but I didn’t stop the conversation. Five minutes later, another coworker came in, and my cube mate brought up our conversation about the couple. I was shocked and said, “Don’t repeat all that, now you’re making me feel like a s**t talker!” But it was too late – they were out in the hall discussing what I had said and adding their own details of things they’d noticed about the couple. Now I’m so afraid that one of them will tell one of the couple and it will blow up in my face. I am so ashamed that I brought it up. I should have just quietly asked the lady to keep it down a little so I could concentrate. If I have to instant message to talk about people, it’s wrong. I’ve realized that this is my M.O. I say “well, it’s none of my business, BUT…” and I truly feel that it’s my need to feel “connected” with people, like I have nothing interesting to say on my own. That rush of being “in the loop” or sharing little tidbits of “info” is so hard to stop pursuing. I have a sticky note right by my computer that reads – “Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?” because I know I have such a problem with being two-faced and a gossip. Thank you for this article because it really does speak to me right now. I know I have a lot of work to do on myself.

    • Alison says:

      Thanks for your comment. Good for you for recognizing that gossiping is not working for you in the long run, and for trying to stop your impulse to do so with the sticky note message. No one is perfect. You can start honing down the gossip by only saying things that you don’t mind having repeated to anyone, particularly the people being talked about. It will be challenging, but you may end up saying things that are more wise and thought-provoking rather than just titillating, and you won’t have to worry about someone repeating what you say. You’ll have to think about what you say more carefully, but you won’t have to cut off conversation. Those people who are only interested in very negative gossip may lose interest in talking to you, and/or you’ll bring out the better side of others.

      All right, this may sound corny, but if people are drawn to you and your cubicle, why not find another focus for group discussion–at work or outside of work. For instance, start a book club, or have a different inspiring quote above your desk everyday, or get passionate about an interest, a sport, an artistic endeavor, and have more interesting topics of discussion with others that can satisfy that need for connection.

    • Izzy says:

      At least you recognize you have a problem and aren’t living in denial, good for you :)

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  11. Grace says:

    two of my best friends are telling me about how bad each other is and one of them(friend A) asked me to ask the other(friend B) what they thought about (friend A), but i promised to not tell anyone what (friend B) said. i only told (friend A) a sentence about what (friend B) said before (friend B) asked me to not tell. i kept their promises and did as they requested.
    but now i feel guilty…..
    and i know everything theyre saying
    and friend B brought up about what another of our friends thought about friend A but it was a misundertsanding that friend A told me about but she cant apologize to her(friend C) sic e everytime she tried in the past friend C would always tell other people about it and say how suspicious friend A is and gossip about her.
    so friend B is mad at friend A because of friend C but it was a misunderstanding.
    and theyre telling me all about it and asking me to keep their secrets and what they say and how they all feel and asking me to ask the other about things like why theyre mad at them or how they feel about them but i cant tell anyone even though if i tell all of them what they all said about each other they can all either forgive each other and understand rhe situation or get even more mad at each other and worst of all, me, for breaking all of their trusts all at once………

    • Alison says:

      Well, you could say that you don’t want to get in the middle of these situations. Or you could help each person find a diplomatic way to talk to the other person.

      Next time a friend A, B, or C starts talking to you about a different friend, you might just ask, “What would you like from me? How can I help you with this?” If they just went to vent and complain, then I would back away from the conversation because it’s just not going to make anyone’s life any better. But you could see if they want help in being able to deal directly with the other friend in question in a positive, productive way. You might check out my video on “How to respond to malicious gossip” for some other examples of ways to respond: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_CpfkSVSlQ

      Good luck.

    • Alison says:

      I just wanted to let you know, I wrote a blog today about your situation. Let me know how you end up handling it.

    • lyzsha says:

      tell your friends to listen to this and they will surely change their hearts, and pray :-)

  12. blessie says:

    I don’t know whether it’s my attitude or not, but I see people gossiping about me, even in a place where I can hear them as though I’m dumb. Worst part is when they talk to me, they tend to be so nice and sweet as if I don’t know what’s going on? They are such hypocrites.

    As a result, whenever I’m alone and hear someone talking, I feel like they’re talking about me though they’re not. The problem is whenever I confront them, they take it to another leveL of rumor. I had this fantasy or wish to live in an uninhabited island where I’m free from depression but the problem is humans are supposed to be socialized but I feel like being myself when I’m alone. I’m afraid I might do something embarrassing which will rise another gossip when I’m in a society or public places .. I believe most people gossip.

    • Alison says:

      I think it’s important to try to rise above the fray and ignore the gossip. There are people who are too busy or too interested in more interesting endeavors than to gossip. Keep your eye out for those types of people. In the meantime create a mental island around your feelings. In other words, don’t let yourself dwell on the petty gossip people may or may not be participating in. You don’t have to be hostile toward them, but don’t allow yourself to dwell on them. If you are hostile, confrontational, or become depressed and meek, you become a victim, and an even easier to target for the bully gossipers. So when you are near such people, just be casual, even friendly but unconcerned as though you really are not interested in them or what they are talking about, and focus on something more positive. The best way to avoid feeling hurt, angry, or depressed about such things is to switch your focus to more positive and interesting activities and people.

      Good luck.

      • Paul says:

        the problem is that excludes about 98% of the population. Some people who i expect much better of also love to gossip and talk crap like and old fish wife. Company execs, vicars, doctors. Men that should act better!

    • Alison says:

      Hi again, I ended up posting a blog today in response to your question. sowhatireallymeant.com
      Humor is the best though it may be difficult.

    • Soney says:

      I feel the same way! I need friends but my enemies start backbiting about me and friends runaway from me! I want some one to share my feelings! So helpless!

    • MyLife says:

      It is no surprise people gossip about others whether from family, office workers, or even friends. It is not about whether they are gossiping about you, it is about whether they gossip about anyone else. Often what people say and do to others may at some point do the same to you, if not now then when.

      I have a close family member who lives and dies by what gossip they can come up with to feed to other relatives.. usually by way of complaining about me when they don’t even understand why I do or don’t do things, or what they elect to do voluntarily but decide to complain about it to others and often when I never asked to them to do something. But how is that wrong or hurtful?

      Firstly it’s gossip, gossip is usually for any good reason other than to reward the gossiper. But I find some of what happens as a result is the listeners then chime in with their ‘expertise’ and as the person has not much self direction of their own they follow the lead and suggestions of others outside the issue, and the family. By the way these relatives also are gossip mongers.

      What can one do? Find new empowering circle of people to surround yourself with who understand you, don’t judge you prematurely, and resonate with the fact don’t do to others what you don’t want done to you. With family its a bit more challenging and so you have to do what you can as sometimes even discussions on what is going on just leads to denial and confrontation that escalates because the gossiper will seldom ever assume responsibility for their own acts.. that is in part why they gossip.

      Years ago I built a community that aligns with the pretext that energy attracts like energy, and if you want a productive, happy and healthy life you need to surround yourself with the people who reflect your principles and beliefs. It has grown over the years and from it I’ve learned not all people make gossip a life long profession or career. There are good people out there, you just need to attract them, find them, and connect with them. Once you catch someone beginning to gossip about someone take note and if they do it repeatedly its time to move on.

      There are plenty of people on this Earth there is no celestial or spiritual law that says you need to subject yourself to someone who creates a harmful hurtful environment for you.. sometimes the gossip doesn’t even realize the harm they are inflicting and most importantly the foundation for driving you away.

      Keep the faith and trust me when I say there are people who do not dabble in living in a fantasy world of gossip to justify their own lives or existence.

      Best wishes on your journey!

  13. DarkGold says:

    I have been a victim of office gossip and have also indulged in office gossip. Both have had serious career implications and although I have always been the ‘weakest link’ so to speak, as I have not really been a full on expert in this habit I have decided that it’s not for me. However the bad G seems to be the favourite type of social glue to bring people together, mostly at work, which is why many a productive worker would prefer to telecommute. So it seems I am paying the price dearly for not slamming someone behind their back or speculating over whats happening in the latest soap opera. To not gossip is to earn a labels such as ‘snobbish’, ‘stuck up’, ‘uncommunicative’, ‘dumb’, ‘stupid’ and naive not to mention a few and often means being an isolated loner, as somehow the modern world has decided to get off on detrimental chat. Regardless of what age and gender it is a damaging habit and should be treated like smoking and drinking-normal but in healthy limits or not at all.

    • Alison says:

      Sorry it took me a while to respond. I’ve been out of town.

      I have not been in that kind of work environment and have not experienced what you describe–fortunately for me. It is a pity that this goes on and that being unwilling to slam someone behind their back would cost you in your job.

      As long as you are not behaving in an overly judgmental way toward the gossipers and thus provoking extra hostility, it seems that you aren’t left with much of a choice. It’s better to feel good about your behavior and be negatively judged by others than to lower your ethical standards. I believe there are organizations that discourage gossip and promote more collaborative healthy interaction in their culture. It would be great if you could eventually find one like that to work for.

      It’s such sad behavior, like eating junk food that is starting to rot. It may be filling, but it will make you feel sick and is far from being nourishing.

      Good luck. Please let me know if you find a successful way to handle gossip in the workplace.

  14. Sony says:

    Can some one help me on this issue . My enemies took all my friends away from me. They wrote down my name on FB and use bed words. It was hurtful . Now I have no one to share my feelings. After 6years when I use the same language for them they all vanish but I have no one left arround me. They also threat me they will come where ever I will go. I am so inscured now. I want to start my studies or job or want to make friends but I know they will come and take away my happiness . Because of my family I have to live like that for ever I think.

    • Alison says:

      I would delete my facebook page and not read anything that such people write. Find new people that are more positive. It may take some time, but it will be worth it if you have a lot of discretion in whom you become friends with. You may have to move or join a group that is completely different from what you have been involved with before, such as a group that does charity work, choir, church, a new sport. Be daring and try some new things that will challenge you and take your mind off the negative people of the past. And remember, even when others are cruel, they cannot control your attitude or your thoughts.

      Good luck.

    • vineeth says:

      Dear Sony, I can understand your frustration..what I was thinking was wheather they were true friends and how they can reject you with such an unwise staement…anyway you know yourself, who you are and what you are..take courage my friend..its not end of the world..noone can ruin your life provided you act wisely..its my prayer that you would regain peace and joy within you that you will be so refreshed…so keep smiling, we all love you

    • Dave says:

      I 100% agree with Alison. Delete Facebook and never go back to it. Its a horrible tool/application that just seems to vring out the worst in people.

      Real friends do’t need Facebook to talk to one another – they pick up the phone, or get together to talk and share things face to face. What you described is bullying.

      Take the high road and be the bigger person – put it behind you and move on to new friends and bigger and better things.

  15. Sony says:

    Hi Alley, I suffered the same problem. Alley if you received my email address contact me if you want to. So we can share our feelings to each other

    • vineeth says:

      Dear Sony, I can understand your frustration..what I was thinking was wheather they were true friends and how they can reject you with such an unwise staement…anyway you know yourself, who you are and what you are..take courage my friend..its not end of the world..noone can ruin your life provided you act wisely..its my prayer that you would regain peace and joy within you that you will be so refreshed…so keep smiling, we all love you

  16. Veronica says:

    I used to ignore gossippers. I realised that the best thing to do is to confront the main gossiper with facts very calmly. One thing for sure, they hate to be confronted and exposed. Ask them why they feel the need to gossip.

    • Alison says:

      Thanks for your comment. This sounds like excellent advice.

    • gigi says:

      I just confronted a neighborhood gossip who had been saying unkind and untrue things about me. She became enraged—accused me of doing just what she’d been, tried to hurt me with words… It took a lot of restraint, but I was kind and would not allow her to draw me into a pissing match. In the end, she withered into submission, trailing comments about how happy she is in her life without me and how busy she is with her “true” friends…. She’s a sad example of a lonely person whose life hasn’t gone well, so she got her excitement and, I suppose, an emotional boost from putting others down. My job now is to watch my own response and behavior—to not be her equal.

  17. Faith Lim says:

    I had been a victim for about 14 years. I always don’t know how to confront them. Some of them thinks its just a joke to gossip about me and tease me as a group. Sometimes I can’t even think fast to shoot back at them. I tried ignoring and it never goes away. So I tried changing myself and ended-up I was like pleasing them? Recently, there was a day where I tried a job where I am very new to everything. They gossiped very loudly as they felt I was very blur and slow at doing things. Yet I tried my best to do as fast as I can and yet they aren’t satisfied. They even gossip about me behind my back so loud that the public could hear and there was nothing that I could do. And what I realised, even if I am slow at work, I can’t believe they were so rude to the boss and complained everything about the work. What would you people think that I should do? Or what would you do in this situation?

    • Alison says:

      I’m so sorry to hear this. Each time they said something, I would say, “That’s very hurtful and rude. Are you really enjoying hurting me rather than helping me to become faster?”

      Is there any free counseling you could get to help respond better to such meanness? It’s more about tone of voice and body language, which may take some practice.. You don’t want to show fear. Being overly-nice may convey that you want to please them because you fear them. Bullies love to attack those that show fear.

      It would be great if you could find a place where they are not so rude. There are not bullies in every organization. I wish you the best of luck.

      • Faith says:

        thanks for your advice. :) Yeah. I also wish to move on too. I wish history doesn’t repeats itself too..

        • Alison says:

          History doesn’t have to repeat itself if you take your lessons from history and act on them. Often the things that hurt us most when we are young can be turned into great blessings, although it takes effort and sometimes suffering. I hope you can find the power and wisdom within you to avoid letting these small-minded gossipers hurt you, whether that takes striking back, finding support or a friend, or finding different work. Good luck.

  18. Alley says:

    I am currently undergoing some intense gossip about myself. I don’t even know what it is about because the small group of older ladies doing this don’t talk directly to me about it. When I am with them participating in a volunteer project, they give slight hints, inuendoes, which I ignored until one of the ladies started backing away from me if I get too close to her. No, I am not kidding. It’s as though she finds me repugnant, or is insulted, or thinks I am a felon. It is bazaar. This is a small community, and this is causing me such pain, I can’t describe. Is there anything I could do? I have taken my name off their list as participating in their project, which is my message to them that I won’t stand for this ugly behavior.

    • Alison says:

      That is weird and unfortunate. Is it possible to single out one of the nicer ladies when she is alone and ask her about the situation? If you want you could start with something like, “I wonder if you could tell me why the group of ladies seem to to be so rude to me. It’s very unpleasant particularly since we are all volunteering, and I’d appreciate understanding what is going on.” Of course you could approach the group, but people tend to behave better when they are not in their group. I think it would be interesting to find out what’s going on. Do you have any idea? They may be behaving in a small-minded way stemming from jealousy. Do you dress differently? Are you much more attractive than they are? However you handle it, make sure you sound self-possessed and dignified, though not arrogant or attacking. It would be nice if they were called out on their behavior.

      I’m glad you took yourself off the list. I hope you can avoid letting it get under your skin. It says so much about them and not you. I hope you can find decent, enjoyable, positive people to be around in the future. Good luck.

    • Paul says:

      old women…the meanest of the lot. Sweet old granny…..not from what i see. Too much free time on their hands. Bitter, no sex for 40+ years, low estrogen. Produces mean spirited people.

  19. JIM says:

    Good grief. Until i started taking my son to school I never in my life believed “grown ups” and i use that very tongue in cheek, can act such a way.

    Like little school yard bullies. Constantly gossiping, back stabbing with small minded crap.

    At first i tried to have different subject. Weather, news, countires, cultures etc…most of seemd ro go way over their heads and they didn’t sem to like it. so after awhile i gave up and simply keep out of the way.

    But they keep on with their little click, circles, the gossip, the drama..what would life be without it for them? Most do not work, the ones that do i can only guess they do exactly the same there.

    I am amazed we have progressed from the cave with this behaviour.

    And the men that act this way, deserve to be castraited.

    Most of the attitude seems to be “I better join in and be part of the group or i’ll be on the outside.” Unbelievably weak minded people every-where.

  20. Fee says:

    All of the things said out here about gossipers is TRUE 100%. They are weak, ignorant, low self-esteem, and simple minded individuals. I recently started a new position in an office that is 90% female and it seems like I am the hot topic of discussion. I am in my early 30s, very attractive and educated while most of the women are in their mid 40s to early 60s. My presence in the office seems to bother them. They especially hate the fact that the older men pay more attention to me though I am not seeking such attention. There is one woman there who seems to be obsessed with me and want to know every detail of my life. When she asks questions, I just look at her and don’t say a word. I guess some may think that I am young and carry an attitude but that is not the case at all. I see how they operate on a daily basis with gossiping, whether about someone else or celebrity gossip. I do not want any part in such chaos. I took a huge step back with this job in terms of title and salary. As the old saying go, you get what you pay for and I am surrounded by a bunch of low minded, low self-esteem, and unaccomplished gossipers in their 40s and 50s.

    • Alison says:

      That’s a difficult situation for you to be in. But it sounds as though you are handling it as best as it can be handled. When people don’t have enough going on in their lives, it can be easy to turn to gossip. I hope you are able to eventually find a job with more professional and enjoyable people!

    • puppiesandbubbles says:

      whoa there sister not everyone in their 40’s and 50’s is like this. Ummmmm im 42 and VERY SECURE IN MYSELF. I agree with your first two sentences until you go on attacking people and age hierarchy. Men have very attitude cattyness as well and MOSTLY 20 something women LOOOOOOVEE TO gossip. Please don’t judge a book by it’s cover because i get snarky people too of ALL types. I blame drug addicts and alcoholic abusers and irresponsible people. i don’t say anything to anyone unless they give me a reason and it’s usually to be intelligent of say this to my face not to my back. AGE has nothing to do with it!

    • JIM says:

      I kind of have to agree. At my local store 90% of the checkout women are in their 50’s+ and again that’s all they seem to do. I even had to break up a conversation after a 2 minute wait, just to get served. And the “look” I got for that was amazing.

      I’d say over 80% of the female population is like this…sadly i’d say about 50% of the male population is like this now and getting worse.

      • Alison says:

        That is terrible. My experience isn’t so extreme. Are you sure it’s vindictive gossip, and not just chatting in order to have connection?

        • Mish says:

          Are you angry because others aren’t treating you like the superior being you think you are?

          Sometimes a work place is just not a good fit. You might feel better somewhere with people your own age.

          For the record, I’m nearly 50 and not threatened by attractive younger gals. I like the way I look and I don’t compare myself to others!

    • Paul says:

      well it’s clearly jealousy. I would be tempted to run their noses in it. get a t-shirt with something like “I could steal your hubby if I wanted to..”

      “Your husband is eyeing me up..”

      “This is not an illusion…i really am prefect!”

      F*** em!!!

  21. jamie says:

    Let me get straight to the point of GOSSIPPING im sick and tired of it Neighbors especially got nothing else to do!!! Meanspirited,superficial who put others like myself down :(

  22. annoyed bro says:

    well oh well how must I say this. people who gossip particularly guys have this stinky aroma. if your smart enough you can sense a negative reason why they gossip particularly rumor spreading. let me put it this way , he has low self-esteem, because if he has high self-esteem believes in himself; he would do some productive things like going fishing, gym, study, work, vacation, clean, movies, etc…. its not the end of the world if your feeling like shit, life is a phase. highs and lows, remember this life is a phase shit. get it through your skull, and stop gossiping because your only telling people , don’t trust me, look at me i’m so jealous of so and so. it’s freakin obvious. people may play dumb but they can see through your fake act. and guess what? there probably there with you because their fake themselves. their not your true friends idiot. but nonetheless, you can change this stinky good-for-nothing-lifestyle just, change your ways. make real friends who are chill, open-minded don’t overreact and gossip like a lunatic.. thank you, and pardon my boldness

    • Alison says:

      I agree. I’m coming out with two short youtubes in the next day or so, and they cover many of these same consequences of gossiping. I don’t mind boldness, though I could live without the namecalling :)

  23. Janet says:

    I come from a big family and have lived with gossiping and secrets all my life, now as Im older and married, since my husband started coming with me visiting my mother and where sisters and brothers would all meet, at first he was liked but now even though nothing is said directly to us he is not liked. My mother has since died and we don’t go to the family home as often, the sisters do all the judging questioning why im not working in a certain career why im not having children would I want children and then saying to others that he doesn’t want kids hes got some already. I am my own person and don’t need these petty small minded people in my life, I found out this from another sister and know she gossips too but I am very intuitive and have been all my life and know when someone is off with me, sometimes it gets too much and I don’t visit for weeks and when I do I only see my brother. I find that women are the worst, I include myself in this but I try not to get involved. I am getting to a place of peace and try to ignore these gossips family or not and I know what they are at is not out of concern, Ive known them too long

  24. Jennifer says:

    sorry but MOST people that I encounter the gossipers ARE POPULAR. Always needing to be the center attention and outcast quiet, giving people whom DON’T gossip. just my opinion. (on the job, at church and when happy) …. people want to steal happiness.

    • Jennifer says:

      AND might add MOST have some sort of alcohol or drug problem or some sort of other co-dependency. then you have the Ms. perfect who think the whole world owes them a favor because they have female entitlement issues. I graduated high school a long while ago and shouldn’t experience this ever again. time to grow up! If you ever have to say anything to me then woman or man up and say it to my face. weird , odd people and you wonder why you have to hide behind your adult friends and keep in a clique.

    • Alison says:

      Maybe some are popular among certain groups. It may be because many people who gossip do so in order to get attention. Of course some people who crave attention will have honed their ability to do so in many ways, having developed a sense of what will make them popular. It may not be that gossiping makes them popular, but that people who crave attention also tend to gossip, not always though. Popularity and attention don’t lead to happiness and fulfilling relationships though.

      • Jennifer says:

        I just feel that I have to wear a lapel with an monopoly card stating “you won 10 dollars on a popularity contest”. live in a horrible neighborhood and feel am judged constantly by these people whom do so much harm to society. I feel blamed and just so very tired of misery caused by others and also the tarnish of how some people still rub money in my face when they don’t even know me. I’ve lost a lot of jobs because of favoritism and nepotism and feel don’t have a chance to make a better work environment. I hope our world gets better.

        thank you for your reply as need to start understanding why some people don’t make an effort to be better. it just troubles me.

        • Alison says:

          Hi Jennifer,

          I feel very sad when I read your comment about the way you feel in your current neighborhood. I wish there were some way for you to feel better about the situation or to screen out the negative. When you feel too inundated by the negative around you, you almost call more negativity to yourself. But when you are feeling so bad, it is hard to change things around you and even your attitude.

          Is there any time in your life or were there any activities in your life that brought you some joy? I hope you can find a way to focus on something that can buoy your spirits. Unfortunately, when you feel down and out, it tends to bring more hardship into your life. On the other hand, if you have a friend, institution, church, physical place, or activity that can bring you hope or support, then you might find a way out of your situation and avoid despair.

          I wish you the best Jennifer.

          • Jennifer says:

            Allison. Thank you …. I don’t know why the neighborhood is like this anymore…. didn’t mean to make you sad. It is sad though and just don’t understand nor do i want to try. i will still pray for kindness but these are some bad ppl and i used to speak up for myself but don’t because i really do fear these ppl. scarey.

          • Jennifer says:

            i do have somewhat of friends but not many as am the “single” girl so not many ppl want to get to know me. To be honest at this point I really don’t care as it seems abusive to me and done with trying to make friends to queen bees. They just see me as a poor person. Someone to make themselves look good. Well anyways i go on nature walks and trying to start a new job so hope my next year will get better. I’m not a pity person by any means and never really get into the “craze” of things so thank you for listening to me and pray for Dallas tx and the way of the world because i don’t think my comments or positivity will change a person if they don’t want to be changed but the way some people treat me is like being in a firing squad in Mexico. the truth. it’s sad be well and thanks for listening to me.

          • Alison says:

            It is true that some locations are just not right for certain people. I’m glad you have a new job and I hope it will be a supportive place for you. In the long-term though, you might have the goal of moving to a different city or at least a more supportive or neutral neighborhood. you may not be able to do it right now, but you can take the steps you need to take to be able to so eventually. Someone just sent me these quotes from something like the daily love blog, which could maybe be inspiring to you. Take care.

            Today’s Rad Quotes

            “Negative thoughts stick around because we believe them, not because we want them or choose them.”

            – Andrew Bernstein

            “Believing in negative thoughts is the single greatest obstruction to success.”

            “Holding on to negative feelings and past circumstances is like placing a lock on your soul.”

            – Charles F. Glassman

            Affirmations for today

            I allow myself to think negative thoughts.

            Negative thoughts are sent as my teachers.

            I am free from negative thoughts once I express them.

      • Paul says:

        Is it getting worse? Or am I only just noticing it now?

        My next door neighbour is the same. Old women, doesn’t work, spends all day “talking to other neighbours” I actually overheard a conversation and it was all gossip and name calling.

        So when she talked to my wife and i, I didn’t want anything to do with her. She noticed this and gave me a real ugly look..no doubt i’ll be the focus of her gossip party from now.

        Immature beyond belief.

        “Some people just get older without growing up.”

        • Alison says:

          I don’t know if it’s getting worse, but I do think that there’s a correlation between not being engaged in interesting pursuits in life and gossiping. If you are happy or busy or learning and passionate about improving at work or in life, you will see gossip as uninteresting and dispiriting.

    • Jessica says:

      I agree entirely! For some women, it is like the high school popularity contest until the grave. My widowed mother encountered such mean-spirited gossip from her church women’s group. These women are in their 70’s ! It never ends. Unfortunately women pass down these qualities to their daughters and it never ends. I also come from a large family headed by nosy, simple-minded women who are not very content in their marriages and if they perceive someone might be happier, more successful, attractive then they are – watch out!

      • Alison says:

        Thanks for your comment. It’s hard when you are experiencing that kind of behavior in your own family. Good for you for recognizing it and trying to avoid it. I’m coming out with two short videos in the next couple of days on gossip and will post them on my blog.

      • JIM says:

        Again, i have to 100% agree. You’d think older people at the church would be the very best when it comes to anti -gossip….???

        Not so. Some are f*** terrible and i wonder how on earth they have the gumption to even call them-selves church goers or Christians. I wonder what they actually think when reading the bible? or does it simply wash over their tiny minds lost in the next piece of gossip?

        I asked some of my local church goers about gossip and how they felt about it. The biggest gossiper there said “I don’t gossip i just talk about what is going on..” In her old, deprived mind, it’s all justified.

  25. CarterDr says:

    There’s a married couple on our street who spread vicious rumors about my neighbor supposedly stealing money from road fund to pay for their cars and garage. When my neighbor got wind of the malicious rumors, she quit the road trustee position. No one wanted the trustee position having seen what happened to my neighbor. So the woman who started the gossip volunteered for the trustee position! A year later, this same gossiping trustee slanders my neighbors in the road newsletter, after Mrs. Gossip’s husband was caught illegally digging in my neighbor’s yard without permission. Mrs. Gossip also revealed to everyone at a road meeting that so and so cheated on his wife with a stripper, so she didn’t want him doing the snow removal anymore! My neighbor attended the meeting and tried to stop the gossip, but Mrs. Gossip insisted “Well, we don’t like it”. I have to admire my neighbor for trying to stop the garbage, even though he’s had his own problems with the cheater. What is really frustrating is that the rest of the people at the meeting were a bunch of cowards and said nothing. Just like they did when Mrs. and Mr. Gossip ran the neighborhood spreading malicious rumors about my neighbors supposedly stealing from the road fund! I know two of the families have the “we stay out of it” attitude, which on one hand I can understand, but then on the other, when an obvious wrong is being done to people’s reputation, they won’t stand up for what’s right. Now, several years later, I am the object of Mrs. and Mr. Gossip’s maliciousness. I have seen the slanderers huddled up talking with both of the “we stay out of it” families, gazing towards my house. The gossip revolves a disagreement I had with Mrs. Gossip who is a chronic liar and beyond reasoning with. So I bounce back and forth between being angry with the cowardly “we stay out of it” neighbors and
    hoping they remember that the Gossips are well known for slandering their neighbors and stirring up strife in the neighborhood. If I were to talk with the “we stay out of it” families, that’s the line I’d get from them, even though they stood there and listening to the Gossips. So needless to say I’m feeling pretty negative about a lot of people on my street, which I’m sure is what the malicious slanderers, the Gossips want. I’m waiting for the Gossips to make a few more slanderous steps and considering suing them, which I think is the only thing that will shut them down.

    • Alison says:

      What a terrible situation for the whole neighborhood. One of the most insidious actions to take can be to say and do nothing. I’m not saying that is the case here. But sometimes saying nothing is a way to sanctify what others are doing and saying. Other times saying nothing and not being reactive at all is a way of taking away power from someone who is grasping for power. I can’t tell what you should do in this case, but the important thing is that you are grappling with what to do. It could be that Mr. and Mrs. Gossip are seeking any kind of attention they can get, in which case it may be best to ignore them but to stand up for yourself and others when appropriate in a clear but unemotional way.

      What I would recommend is holding your head high, being friendly with all the other neighbors, and ignoring the gossip and slander, speaking up in a dignified way against it when appropriate. Live your life so that others will know the gossip isn’t true. Try not to gossip yourself. Over time, more and more people will know that Mr. and Mrs. Gossip are bad news.

      If you’re gossiped against again, go to Mr. and Mrs. Gossip and ask why they spread the rumor. Don’t go out of the way to defend yourself, or you may look guilty, but when asked state that it isn’t true. Don’t act defensive or angry.

      Document everything, just in case. Stay unemotional, or you give the gossipers power over you, which they enjoy. Network with other neighbors, in other words, stay friendly with others on a one to one basis.

      • JIM says:

        but it is amazing how many people will believe some-ones gossip without ever wanting the facts. Tell them anything and they act on it like it is 100% factual. No facts needed (NOR WANTED)

    • JIM says:

      what sadly, seems to be truth is people like big mouths. If you try and do the right thing and act dignified, some people take that as a sign on weakness and or guilt.

      “Birds of a feather stick together”

      “w***ers love other w***ers”

  26. RDK says:

    I have been beating myself up over this kind of stuff for a while now. I feel like I’m constantly trying to get out of negative conversations where others talk bad about others. It feels like its a full time job. I’m to the point where I just want to say, “ya you’re right, he/she’s a real bitch” and then just walk off. And then the worst part is that I start feeling annoyed with the people who are gossiping and so guess what I want to do… I want to GOSSIP! Anyone who says they never gossip is a lier. Gossip is ugly and we have all done it at some point…

  27. Huntjint says:

    People do something stupid that becomes an entertainment for others. For me, they’re subjected to observation, which is sad. What can I do? They are adults. I have NO right to prohibit them from doing something for themselves unless they want to murder someone then I know I’m obligated to protect my friends from electric chairs, and especially their victims. I’m not going to be a mother of these reckless adults. Anyway, I’m grouped with several women and some of them have been a sorta women. Yes, I know most of their stories except their husbands’. The other one said that she cheats because her husband have been dissatisfying her sexually. I accepted this alibi and I credited her for deceiving her spouse. I minded my own business, right? I’m a good citizen or a good friend. Eventually, I found myself projecting people that they would cover their friends’… I clearly stated to my husband that I wouldn’t trust his friends. I was surprised when I caught myself accusing my husband’s friends may be a part of deceiving me. That’s the consequences of being considerate to my friends.

    It took me awhile to understand my own psychology. I wondered what kind of a friend I was. I also questioned myself whether I was a decent person, a devil, a psycho, etc. Take note, I was in my mid twenties. My head was in my anus cavity.

    My main point, gossiping about people is like having chicken wings at the snack bars. Nothing more to it really. For me, it’s stupid stupid topic. I would rather talk about ideas, imaginations, and other things that aren’t about our dramas or play chess/scrabble.

    If my friends gossip about me, I don’t give a rut. I have nothing to worry. If they envy me, then I have no idea why they would. I didn’t say something that can make them feel inferior.

    Frankly, I have decided that I will separate from gossipers. I really don’t like to sit with them discussing shit without a solution for almost a decade now. My patience for them is gone. My belief that they would change, but…

  28. agathe says:

    I just start a job in a prestigious company. I have so much interest in what I do. Unfortunately, this fashion company just contain of colleagues who like to gossip. I always have to avoid them in the lunch time. I don’t want to be asocial but this negative atmosphere is really sucking my energy. What is the best tips to handle such situation?

    • Alison says:

      That’s a difficult situation. You don’t want to seem arrogant and judgmental. Yet being around people who gossip is negative and draining. I wonder if you can be friendly but distance yourself when they start to gossip. Often people who gossip a lot do so in order to get attention and to feel better about themselves by diminishing others. So in essence, they feel a bit inferior or inadequate themselves. Sometimes you can reach people like that by asking about them, that is, by redirecting the conversation to their opinions and thoughts, likes and interests.

      If the whole company atmosphere is negative, then eventually you may want to look for another job, and simply develop character in the meantime. Different companies have completely different characters depending on their values.

      Good luck and let me know if you find a way to honor your own values of not diminishing others and yet not being asocial.

    • JIM says:

      i’ll guarantee they’ll be CEO in 5 years time…..crazy f**** world we live in.

  29. I simply want to mention I am all new to weblog and seriously liked this blog and you article on “So what I really meant…” is amazing. There are some interesting closing dates in this article however I don’t know if I see all of them middle to heart. There is some validity however I will take maintain opinion till I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we wish more!

  30. curiousms says:

    In my personal experience – why I googled ‘why people gossip too much’ – it’s a bunch of guys who just gossip indiscreetly about me. Of course, in their view, it’s not gossip just male bonding. I just find it so incredibly childish and stupid that a conversation I’ll have with one guy then becomes a drama when he passes it on to one of my male relatives and the HE passes it on … incredibly that people have nothing better to do with their time and have limited questioning or critical thinking abilities ….

  31. Paul says:

    I find most of the time its ladies who ask you lots of personal question and then they do gossip about it. I find it unpleasant. I have found in team if you have ladies co-worker then they do lot of gossip about any person. they even gossip about their own good lady colleague in her absence. I used to find it funny but now I am fed-up of their continuous negative thoughts. And hate answering them when they ask about judgement. Sometime later I found them they are totally separated; nobody wants them , nobody talks to them , nobody likes to work with them. I am sure they must be busy with gossiping 😛

    • Melissa Griffin says:

      I can’t stand gossip. However, I love conversation which most women these days don’t seem to know how to do. I believe that is why most are long time singles. I have always worked with men and have always been happy at work until the economy changed and I had to take a job in an office that was 90% female. I was miserable because all they did all day was gossip. They never shut up! They felt any question they wantes to ask you was okay so I just wouldn’t respond and just leave them standing there talking to themselves. Honestly, I have no tolerance for women today. They’re needy and need an assigned therapist with them at all time cause they’re blind.

      • amanda lynn says:

        The last comment was a little bit harsh but I totally agree with both. Some stuff should just stay at home or be completely eliminated. I think women really want friends but like Melissa said, they think we want gossip. It must have been nice working alone or with some low key men. Women really could learn from other women that sometimes quiet time is okay, and positive talk. Its a hard habit to break but you can if you are conscious about it.

      • Amber says:

        Spot on. I feel exactly the same about woman who have nothing better to do. I was always the unlinked
        One because other woman hated that I got along with the men better in the work place.
        Men just don’t bitch like woman do.
        Is rather work with men any given say of the week. They know how to keep it real and will help without some snide remark. It’s in their make up and most don’t realise everyone already thinks they’re a bitch, we just don’t say it to your face.

      • Huntjint says:

        There is a gossip that needs to be resolved. If talking about it without an attempt of resolution, I find the gossip to be useless except creating problems.

        I personally grew up a lot. I find my friends too unproductive. Perhaps, they should go on holidays other than their work.

      • RDK says:

        I’m sure you are aware that the attitude towards woman in most of the comments I have read are demeaning. Women have problems gossiping. We have all gossiped at one point or another. Who am I to think I’m better than someone just because they have a weakness that might be more obvious than my own. I admire people who can make friends with both sexes. I am a woman and I’m proud of it. I have many woman friends who are kind, trustworthy, thoughtful, and brilliant. You will find what you look for.

        • Alexand says:

          RDK, glad you chimed in. I appreciate the fact that you took time to reflect about the possible causes and effects of both gossiping and making implicitly demeaning remarks about women. As a feminist therapist who’s worked closely with many women, I want to note that, in our mainstream US culture and in many other cultures and sub-cultures, women are discouraged in many ways from directly feeling or expressing certain emotions and thoughts connected with assertiveness and conflict. It’s my belief that gossip and similar behaviors serve as indirect outlets for these thwarted energies and rights. In the distressing types of gossiping behaviors detailed both in Alison’s thoughtful article and these comments, I see something poignant and striking. In so much gossiping, I see the complex minds and desires of people (women, primarily, though by no means entirely) who are *still* being told, after all these years of sexism and feminism–in both subtle and blatant ways–that they don’t have the same right or freedom that men enjoy to be direct about what they think, want, and feel. In so much gossiping, I see the beautiful minds of complex, vital people enchained and enmired in dead-end activities that function as a substitute for deeper vitality and a more “alive” engagement with the world. It’s like applying lipstick instead of eating a cherry. I believe we have all–male and female–gossiped and felt the “bad apple” taste in our mouths (great metaphor), and sensed afterward, even dimly, that we’re not doing justice to ourselves or the possibility of connection with, and empathy toward, other people. I’m very glad this article is here, and I’m glad to see that so many people are giving their energy to the vital question of what we and others are really doing when we gossip. Thanks to all.

          • Alison says:

            Thank you for your thoughtful and interesting comment. I hadn’t thought about it before, but I think you are absolutely right that gossip is a way to assert one’s pent up desires and opinions, after the fact rather than directly with the person who is annoying one. By learning to assert oneself directly in a compassionate though straightforward way, instead of having to “be nice,” one can actually be truer to oneself, more authentic with others, and thus have more vitality, and less pent up resentment that may come out as gossip. Thank you for your comment.

        • Mish says:

          Well said! I would like to be friends with someone like you!

    • Carole Heath says:

      I quite agree Paul with your comment. Asking personal questions is unpleasant. I don’t like it myself. I try and avoid women who do this type of things like are you married have you got any children. If you say no I am not married the answer is would you have liked to have got married don’t you feel lonely without children no I don’t. People’s personal life is their own business and I for one don’t like some nosey women or men ( which is very rare) poking their nose into my business.

      • Matilda Forbes says:

        Spot on Carole Heath I quite agree with your comment. I am a single person of 68 years old. I get the same questions you have mentioned. Why do people assume we all want the same things out of life. I have a nice life lots of friends a good social life and two lovely Cats called Tinkerbell and Tabitha. I avoid these nosey people they want to mind their own business and leave me alone.

    • JIM says:

      i am guessing now for the younger/dating population with social media it must be hell.

      Break ups can be hard and some people do not take it well. So, they probably jump on social media and gossip like crap. Telling all kinds of secrets, personal things etc. Thank god i am past that crap.

  32. procrasinatingpolly says:

    Thanks for clarification. Sometimes i am not gossiping, I am just curious about other people’s lives, people condemn as a gossip. A friend of mine, I want to cut off seems to think I am gossiper, when I am just worried. Yes, I will be frank and say yes that sometimes I am just too nosy or that I am gossiping. Not all talking about people behind their back is wrong. Pointing out other people’s flaws is not always wonder, either. I am pretty angry at the moment. I feel unreal to pretend everyone is just so nice and wonderful all the time. It is better to honest and realistic, then sit around and pretend everyone is such an angel when they are not.

    • Alison says:

      Thank you for your comment. I wouldn’t advocate pretending that everyone is nice and wonderful. But I find it more interesting to focus on why someone would be driven to behave in a certain way, and also to focus on situations and people who have accomplished something worthwhile. What you focus on for most of the day affects who you are and how you feel. So focusing on other people’s weaknesses without attempting to understand the intricacies that drive them can bring you down. On the other hand, focusing on more positive people, accomplishments and abilities can inspire you to improve your own life.

    • Melissa Griffin says:

      You don’t think it is odd to be curious about someone else’s life. Get a life of your own and be curious about that. It’ll only get better. I have a female who has been leaving me messages for months not to say “Hey girl was out living my life and thought about you and decided to give you a call
      and say hello”. She keeps saying she is concerned and I’m trying to figure out when I told her “A grown woman” when she needed to be concerned about me “A grown woman”. I already have a modher and she has never had to worry about me. I don’t need my friends too. I don’t need those

      forms of friendshipseeworrief

      • JIM says:

        yeah…like i have the time to even worry about any of my friends lives? Not a chance.

        A lot of it seems to be too much spare time on their hands.

        “the devil makes work for idle hands”

    • JIM says:

      B*S*……like the old gossiping church woman who in their mind isn’t actually gossiping “just talking”

      BOLLOCKS! a spade is a spade. or a gossiper is just that a gossipper

  33. whatever says:


    there I said it and also companies should stop hiring gossips and people who just want to do the job and GO HOME!

  34. mira pacheco says:

    I just don’t how someone can be so nice and sweet then next thing you know spreading rumors about my oldest son, my daughter and me.. she is new in the church her boyfriend brought her or win her to church that we go.. and she even spread rumors about her boyfriend who brought her to church.. My son loves them and trusted them like his own brother and sister like a best friend but he learned that they are not what he thinks they are.. my son is hurt so bad but he wouldn’t do a thing about it.. Thank God!! and I don’t know how someone can be so sweet and seems like she can’t harm a fly.. but her mouth is like burning sulfurous… don’t even think what she says and not scared or don’t even have fear in God.. you know what I feel right now about her.. I know that Im suppose to get mad at her but what I feel right now is mercy toward her.. like what you said in your message, a gossiper never happy with themselves and they are full of jealousy.. I wonder and how can I help a person like her.. the thing is I don’t want to be around her anymore or my children.. I don’t trust her anymore.. All I can do is just pray for her.. 😉

  35. carman lopez says:


    • Patricia Morgan says:

      Sounds like jealousy to me.I live in a complex for older people,I`m the younger end being in my 60s.I dress in my own way,not too young but not Grannyish either.I still wear my jewellery and have a nice hair cut,and try and keep fit walking my little dog.
      I joke with the elderly men and they do so back and others join in.Any new man to joing our compex,I found out is warned off me because they say I`m looking for another man.This is very hurtful as I have lost the last three to cancersG and heart attack.I`m happy on my own now,but enjoy a little light banter which makes most residents laugh.I think because you have some property and wear your jewellery etc,we don`t fit into the dowdy life style.Just ignore this woman,or tell her she could be had up for slander..keep looking good for yourself.

      • Alison says:

        I think there’s nothing wrong with banter and light flirtation. Life is short, we can enjoy each other in the fleeting moments we have together as long as there is mutual respect. I hope you can ignore any negativity from the person who is saying hurtful things, and continue to interact with those who appreciate you.

    • justanopinion says:

      Don’t worry, she’s probably just insecure and jealous. Lots of women are like that. Reasons could be lack of self worth, unhappy with their own life, dissatisfied with their looks/appearance, they feel ‘unlucky’ or ‘put upon’, they feel shortchanged by God or by life, or…take this – they wish they could be YOU.

      Instead of getting pissed off about this person, take comfort in the fact that 1. You’re fortunate NOT to be born to be her 2. She’s a miserable, loser and she KNOWS it.

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