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

205 Responses to Why People Gossip and How to Avoid it

  1. Giossip Avoider says:

    I had to cut off a gossip recently, and it is something that you need to do at times.

    He left a message on my home voicemail (I work from home), with a negative comment about my employee. Fortunately, I erased it before she heard it, although my son did hear it, and he goes to school with the woman’s grandchildren.

    This guy has a reputation for being a gossip, but this was the first time his gossip got in my way.

    Mr. Gossip, whom I’ve only seen once in 10 years and been distancing myself from, had exploded at me in a phone call a few days before. Despite that, he continued to leave messages every few days to talk about things, which seemed bizarre.

    When I finally took one of his calls, I told him that I was very upset that he had exploded at me. He asked what he had said, because he had been drinking that night for pain management purposes. He had been blackout drunk.

    I then told him that the message he had left about my employee was extremely inappropriate and discourteous. He apologized profusely, but that was the last straw.

    I warned my employee to not talk about work or her personal life with him, or it would get back to me, and that I would do the same.

    Mr. Gossip continued to call, and I finally took a call. He asked how my employee was doing, and I told him not to ask about her any more. He stopped calling me for 8 months.

    He’s been fired many times, and now works part-time, being a couch potato at home the rest of the time. He’s bored, and even before he self-destructed with alcohol, he was always a blabbermouth, telling people inappropriate things about himself and about others.

    He continued to call my employee to get information occasionally, and then started leaving me messages again. She said that he would keep probing her unless I did something, so I decided (and this may be the coward’s way out), I wrote him a letter laying out how what he had done was not only annoying and offensive, but getting in the way of me making a living. (If I had called him, and he was drunk, he might not have remembered.) Regardless, I had had it with him, and didn’t want to get into an argument with him.

    A warning to gossips: people will start avoiding you and be guarded in their conversations with you if you can’t stop spreading gossip.

    • Alison says:

      That sounds reasonable. I also think it’s a good idea to block calls from people who leave nasty or drunken messages. You can always let them know in an email or letter that you’re doing so because it’s disturbing to receive such messages, and that you are doing it for their own good, as they probably would be embarrassed if they knew how they sounded.

      Good luck!

  2. Dette says:

    My husband is a gossiper. He gossips about everything and everybody he doesn’t seem to have any faithfulness toward anyone but himself. He even gossips about his daughter to his sister. And back and forth. He even has the nerve to gossips about me to all of them. I have caught him on the phone doing it before. It is sickening. I thought only women gossip so a couple of times I wanted to check his pants for women Plumbing instead of men Plumbing. It is sickening. I am getting to the point to where I am starting to despise him for doing it. He even gossips on the job. We are over the road truck drivers and he gossips to our boss about me. It is horrible. I think it is from the lack of attention that he got from his mother. She had six kids and it must have been hard. To show attention to one of them, when she was working. Plus his dad was a truck driver on the road. six kids nagging at you all the time leaves little room for individuality. He was raised in the sort of house to where they called each other stupid when they got mad at each other. Can you imagine? Really barbaric. Anyway that’s what the issue is.
    I hate gossip because I was not raised that way. In my home it was just two of us me and my little brother. My mom taught us that name-calling and gossip hurts the other person so it was a no no. You can imagine it is a shock in the face just to find out that my husband does it. He did not do that activity when we were dating. and not in the beginning of our marriage. Now everything is out on the table and I’m wondering what is what. How do I handle this without destroying my marriage????

    • Alison says:

      This has been a difficult question for me to respond to. There is no clear abuse, though I guess you could call it emotional abuse. But not really. He is not intentionally trying to hurt you. Yet he is not only hurting you, but he has lost your trust and your respect, two of the most fundamental characteristics of a long-term loving relationship. Therefore, I think it is very serious and that you should treat it that way. If it were merely mild harmless gossip on occasion, then it wouldn’t be so bad. Everyone has some flaws. But the perpetual gossip, and any gossip at your expense is very unappealing and simply broadcasts his insecurity.

      While I am not suggesting that you leave him, I believe that if you don’t let him know how seriously this effects you and the relationship, that you will merely shut your private thoughts off from him and have less and less of a chance of re-gaining your attraction and/or respect for him.

      If it were me, I would set up a meeting with him. Let him know you have something serious to talk to him about. Be kind, tell him what you like about him or what drew you toward him. Then tell him that you don’t intend to hurt or criticize him, but need to tell him about how your feelings about him are changing due to his behavior. You are concerned that you are losing respect or attraction to him because he gossips about you and just gossips a lot in general. It makes you feel uncomfortable, it causes you to lose your trust in him, and it is causing you to view him as feeling insecure and inadequate and needing attention that comes from providing gossip. Tell him that you do not want to criticize him and hurt his feelings. Rather you need for him to know how it is effecting you, because it is effecting the relationship. If he gets angry, remain calm and repeat the above, and listen to what he has to say. IF he will not converse, write it all down in a compassionate letter. Also you might provide for him a couple of articles or videos on gossip.

      If he continues despite your feelings, then I would let him know how serious this is, and that you want to attend counseling with him to continue the relationship.

      Let me know how it goes. And let me know if you come up with anything else helpful.

      Good luck!


      I have a few different articles about giving advice or talking about serious problems. You might read a couple of them for ideas.

      e.g., “Compassionate Confrontation”

  3. Ken says:

    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 Wow you got it. Remember the most sneaky people always seem like they are the nice ones

  4. John says:

    This is so true that people gossip to feel better about themselves. It is often best to stay far away from these types of people

  5. Again and again says:

    Thank you for the valuable information. Envy and gossip has just cost me every thing I worked my entire life to achieve. It’s truly parralized me .

  6. John says:

    Yes some people can be nasty like this try to avoid such people and do what is right sadly they do exist

  7. robert says:

    I always like the saying if you have an issue be sure to go to the source and not make it an issue of gossip

  8. vivi says:

    I am the victim of those people who
    gosipp about me even people I dont know
    Sometimes, I want to kill them, but I cant. I hate them. I cry because of them.
    I dont have many friends bcos I hate

    • Alison says:

      Oh I am so sorry. What can you do to prevent this from hurting you so much? You have to find a way to focus on improving your life and focusing your thoughts on other things. You are giving them too much power to hurt you. I don’t know enough details to give you specific advice, except that if you suffering this much, please reach out to someone who can help you. An employer, a counselor, a church, an organization, or a nurse or doctor. Find someone you trust to talk to to help you build your self-confidence and change your focus onto more self-empowering endeavors, people and thoughts.

      I wish you the best, and feel free to email back. Also, this may sound silly, but make sure you are getting enough sleep, exercise, eating healthy foods, and getting out in nature. Of course, this may not be enough, but it can help you from falling into a deeper depression. Please get some help.

    • Denz says:

      I live in a very small town and yes we have the good types that keep their noses out of peoples lives, and then we have the nasty small minded f$*wits, My gossipers spend most of their days in my local pub just slagging me off…i walked in there one day just to get their reaction the whole place stopped and stared at me… i looked around and i started to laugh out loud, i was laughing so hysterically that these idiots thought they were getting at me, but they soon realized i didn’t give two s**ts about them and carried on chatting to my friends. Hahaha

  9. My mom told that my uncle feel so mad to my dad because my uncle hears that my dad won the lotto so my uncle have a talked to my dad.I honestly says that my dad haven’t won the lottory If he won he we’ll be leave our house and bought new home right away.My mom told me that someone is talking to my uncle about the wrong news my mom has suspicious to my family members also who have business of gossips,lying in there outdoor home.What should I do to help my family?

    • Alison says:

      This is a weird situation. I would stay out of it. If anyone tries to drag you in, just state what you see as the truth in a calm way, and say that you prefer to spend your time focusing on something more positive.

      If you feel that you must step in to help, talk to each person without saying ANYTHING negative about the others, and say what you think is true, and that you hope everyone can focus on enhancing their own lives and stop negative gossip, and that that is what you are going to do. Then lead by being a good example.

      Sorry you have to deal with this. Good luck.

  10. Ronnie says:

    Great points I noticed those are not educated love gossip and I don’t mean educated as have a degree. I mean educated as far as have nothing to generate about conversation

  11. Elze says:

    Good day
    I struggle with the same problem. My friends are all from one friendship group and i find that they talk about eachother, e.g. Jane will gossip and complain about Peter to me and then the next day Jane acts all best buddies with Peter… i dont understand why? And i try to keep myself out of all of this negative chats by not saying anything or to avoid the chat but now im being left out of all friendship activities and they make me feel like im nothing i do also know that they gossip about me; this one friend will be on her selphone while im talking, she will ignore me or starts talking about something els or with someone else i also notice she like attention and always have to talk about herself if you have an opinion about something she makes you feel stupid. Please help me what should i do just ignore the fact that they are like that because im sharing a room with them or should i get out of this friendship?
    Kind regards

    • Alison says:

      Good day.
      I would look for more interesting friends who gossip a lot less, but who are more considerate. Hopefully you don’t have to share a room together for too long. In the meantime, be respectful and polite and try to enjoy their company when you’re in the same room with them without being sullen or defensive. But start focusing on other activities and people that will be more rewarding in the long-term, even if you have to spend more time alone for now. There are plenty of people out there who focus on more interesting subjects and are more positive or interesting to spend time with.

      Good luck.

    • Azum says:

      Elze I’m very happy to have come across ur comment, we living in a world today where people are searching for attention.please you are awesome know that , your so called friends know it , please concentrate on vibrating at your highest self (Remain Positive, exercise, Do things that makes you happy or getting to highest self ) an example remember a scenario when you studied for an exam and took it and passed with an ‘A’? in the same way moving forward with your life GOALS concentrate on those thing don’t worry about them gossipers TOTALLY IGNORE them please, people would come to and they would seek out your guidance even some of those gossipers that are ditching you now -they are doing it just to drag you down may be because you dont act INDEPENDENT -You should show courage, INDEPENDENCE -all of them would beg for your forgiveness.Take this as a way to build your self up for the better no great goes on this energy pattern without set back or little things like these -as an overview -you can see that you evolutionary pattern is different and your friends are jealous be your best SELF
      good luck!!!

  12. Shirley says:

    I feel disappointed that I found out my husband is gossiping about me all the time with his two best friend (female and male). I accidentally read their messages from Whatsapp and after my husband complaining about me with his friends, they commented about me as immature and they started to dislike me. In their conversation, they wish I won’t join their gathering so that they could meet up and continue gossip about me.

    I feel hurt and feel that my husband did not respect me sharing and updating them our arguments, my job problems, my mother’s problems, my financial problem, and my daily stuff..

    I have tried to talk to my husband last year about this matter and thought he will stop gossiping about me but lately I’ve checked his messages he’s still doing the same thing. This is really killing me and I felt scary the person sleeping beside me every night tells my matters to his best friends. This is an unhealthy relationship I can say, the reason he sharing out his thoughts to his friends might trying to release his stress but I feel a bit too much sharing single matters of mine everyday. When we fight, even I did not did any wrong, my husband complaint to them when he’s angry and his friends who did not know the full situation side him and start gossip that I’m childish, create problems and saying bad about me too. I’ve lost my reputation from their friends and I’ve decided not to meet them up for future gathering.

    We have married not more than a year, I have ever think to divorce him since his mother doesn’t like me and had prejudice to me. But I’ve just gave birth to my little one so I might need to think twice to make this decision.

    • Alison says:

      I’m so sorry to hear this. It will be extremely difficult for a marriage to work if one partner is negatively gossiping about the other with his friends. Unless he’s willing to change dramatically and choose you as his best friend and partner, the marriage is probably not going to last. You both need to love and protect one another, not to undermine each other.

      Perhaps see if he’s willing to go to counseling or read a John Gottman book. He needs to learn to talk to you directly when he has problems, not to others, unless it is with a counselor or perhaps a best friend, but his conversation even then needs to be focused on promoting the marriage, not undermining it and criticizing you. If he’s not willing to talk to a counselor together, I would start counseling on your own and gain the strength and independence needed to potentially leave.

      Good luck.

      • Shirley says:

        Thanks for your prompt reply Alison.

        I don’t think he’s willing to talk to a counselor together. Everytime when problems arise, I talk properly to him and he listened and trying to solve the problem but he will complain to his friends too. This make me and my family sick of it. The only thing just end this marriage to solve everything. My mom said husband that gossiping to friends about me have to leave. Shall I move on? Just pity my newborn baby.

        • Alison says:

          This is a big decision for me to weigh in on without really knowing both of you and the circumstances–how he treats you, etc. But from what you say, it doesn’t sound as though your relationship has much of a chance, especially since he’s not willing to work on things together with you, but prefers to criticize you to friends.

          If you do move on, for the sake of the baby and yourself, do so in the most respectful, dignified way. He is the baby’s father and we all have weaknesses. He simply may not be cut out or ready for a serious long-term relationship, which requires supporting your partner and cherishing the relationship. If you decide to do so, find a way to talk to him about moving on without belittling him.

          It is wonderful for a child to have a father (or grandfather) in his or her life. However, it is also important that if there are two parents that they treat each other well and with respect. The most important thing for a baby is that there is one parent or caretaker who is loving, has self-respect, and is well-grounded. The worst thing is for a baby to be in a household where there is misery and unhappiness.

          Good luck.

          • Shirley says:

            We’ve argued just now and I’ve decided to make a move since mother in law doesn’t care n likes me so much. But the most pity is baby will pass to him..

          • Alison says:

            I want to suggest that you make a life-changing decision and have a discussion when you are not angry. It will go better if you cool off first. All the best to you.

          • Shirley says:

            My parents wants me to divorce him coz he’s not gentle and gave good relationship with my parents all the while.

            I was thinking 50% to go back to him coz of baby but what if the problem never solve his mother kept criticize me and he still share my stuff to his best friends. He given an excuse that he’s stress so he need to share with his best friends. Its normal to share thoughts to friends when stress? But he’s sharing our arguments, problems to them.

            I have 50% to divorce but my parents wants the baby and this will be unfair for her living with single parents.

          • Alison says:

            This is a big decision. When you say that he’s not gentle, do you mean that he’s violent? If so, then your answer is pretty clear. If he is kind and willing to change, and you are looking at yourself objectively too, then you might want to give it some time. But if he is consistently rude and doesn’t treat you with respect, it is unlikely to get better.

            All the best to you.

  13. JustStrong says:

    Yeah Just If Anything You Dont Need Friends I Had No Friends At All For Ages Doesnt Affect Me You Dont Need Someone To Like You For You To Like Or Love Yourself You Dont Need People To Love You For You To Love Yourself Or For You To Feel Good No One Who Needs Friends To Be Okay Anyway Especially If They Always Get You In Trouble

  14. Laura says:

    I have three cousins, 1 one of them tells me that two other are talking about me behind my back. Who is worse the two talking behind my back, or the one that is telling them what they are saying. Who is worse?

    • Alison says:

      I think the ones talking behind your back are worse. Of course, everything depends a bit on how mean-spirited each is being. I imagine your one cousin is trying to protect you from trusting the others too much. Ideally, that cousin who told you about the others would have also told the others to please stop gossiping. Try not to let it bother you, but remember that these cousins are capable of gossip.
      Good luck.

  15. Burnt says:

    Greetings Alison, I was so compelled by some of the messages posted and I must say indeed a lot of us has been through so much. It is sad to see that our childhood was not as pure and innocent as it should have been. My heart breaks for many of us, though I am glad to see that there are a lot of hopefuls looking to make a change. I am usually a very straight forward person, however specifically twice I too have been trapped by the gossip vine.

    Lately I have been in a down mood due to a few life changes and disappointments, I feel I have been burnt a few times now and 2 or 3 times is way too many, I too was sexually abused as a child, at times the bad memories had come back, but I never let it hold me back instead I encouraged myself to never take the blame, forgive the abusers act and move forward by educating my son and especially my 5yr old Daughter about the signs to be aware. I don’t feel this is the main factor in my current situation I’m about to share, but if it is I don’t see it.

    So the first part of my being burnt started in high school, I had a best friend (NEW GIRL) whom at first I did not gravitate too when she started at my school, due to her being new and always wanting to be the forefront of everything, I guess me being more reserved and more cautious about trying new things keep me front liking her too soon…I take risk however I analyze it first then gravitate slowly if I see it fit. Eventually (NEW GIRL) I became friends after something we connected on, then it lead to close friends to best friends, as a teen she lived with her moms friend as her mother lived in another country, after 2years our friendship started become a bit rocky due to her gossiping about other students which I opposed and eventually she retaliated with negative comments directed at me. I finally met her mom after a year of friendship and immediately connected with her, she was an amazing lady, because New Girl lived away from her mom, I felt sorry for her so I tried to ignore her bad behaviors.

    After 3 years of friendship it went down, due to romours of her being promiscuous, for a while I was admittedly defending Her that she was a virgin as that is what she told me, really why would my bestie lie about this, eventually I had confirmation it was mostly if not all true, the guy I was with told me his unfaithfulness and that he had done it with her, I felt betrayed, a bit stupid and naive, then more signs came, she would try to get with my older brother, keep in mind he did not go to my school or lived in the neighborhood so that was very convenient, we had stopped talking for a while until I confronted her, she denied it with the guy I was with, but after looking back on her always saying he is a dog and he is no good made me think. Eventually we were friends again but not as close, she tried leapfrogging a few of my friends and cousin in which she met them through me, she would make plans with them without me because she thought they were pretty (she was a very superficial girl) At one point she introduced me to a guy she said was her friend and she wanted us to go on a double date, I will admit the guy was attractive not that smart but attractive, his friend not so much…after meeting up it turned out the guy was her boyfriend, I was to date his friend and you know the friend was a great guy, I felt horrible that I was trying with her and she did such a thing. Her mom had passed away RIP after high school, so I was there for her after all that’s what friends do right, we had a few more disputes and eventually I walked away.

    Forward 10 years later… I became acquaintances with my cousins girlfriend (8 years younger than I) after doing him a favor, then we became friends. An opportunity came up for an apt in my building, because they had too young kids and where they lived was not so great so I told her about the apt, the issues started when I offered to help with packing, while helping her she had a few things she had put in the trash which were of good use, so I asked if she knew anyone she could give and her response was “why should I give someone something if I no longer need it” I shared with her ways I donate things, she did not respond, still packing I noticed she was throwing away my gift I bought for her shower, she said she did not need it because someone bought her a better one, realizing she did not remember I gave her the gift… I did not make a big deal out of it, she had some extremely old and dirty pillows I was about to toss but she insisted on keeping them, I said why look at them, that needs to go, then she agreed that she will buy new ones and put the old ones in the trash. After moving into the apt, she was not happy with her unit as she felt it was too small, one day her, her mom, sister and cousin visited me unexpectedly, she started crying that her apt is small and that it is not the same size as mine and that she thought it was the same as mine, her family had seemed embarrassed of her behavior and apologized because it might have been her hormones after all she just had a baby. I looked pass it, I introduced her to two of my closest girlfriends right away the interaction was not good, she was rude to one of the girls “Apple” after my friend offered to help with something, which didn’t go too well.

    My girlfriends and I usually do girls night so after the young mom moved in she wanted to be apart, because my friends did not like her I still asked them and they said right out NO… after a while hoping they would give her a chance, eventually one of my friends “Apple” started being acquainted with her, my other friend Lisa not so much, due to a conversation I had with the young mom, which was not a secret. My friend “Lisa” had purchased something for her, while getting her package she learnt my friend was doing something for someone whom I did not get along with, and “stated oh yeah I heard about her, Burnt told me about her” Lisa shared her interaction with me…”Your friend is trouble” and because this is something she her self has been through, this young lady does not know how to keep her mouth shut, at the it wasn’t a bother; as what was said was no secret so I left it alone. Over time the young lady tried talking to me about my 2 lady friends but my loyalty was nope I will condone this and if you have an issue then you need to speak to the lady the issue is with on your own, if it is not important I would leave it alone. She started talking to Apple about Lisa, after talking to Apple about it; she said she felt sorry for her and that she needed someone to talk to, and I disagreed her intent was not what Apple thought it was, I was more aware of her intent, due to previous conversations on the young moms part, she tried to talk about Lisa to me but I was not having it, she thought Lisa did not like her and fact is she really did not, the young mom had messed up with something that had to do with Lisa’s young daughter and a mothers instinct is to protect her cub. Young mom had asked me over and over again and I would always remove my self, eventually I was brutally honest I told her “look I’m surprised that you have all these suspicions and seen the signs, yet your trying to be friends with her, then talking about her and her kids to me, listen she does not like you” you know what you did and I think you should either apologize, gain some dignity and move on, you just met her it’s not like you’ve been friends for years, then it turned into blaming me you knew and did not tell me, I said come on where adults here and because you can not admit you were naive, you want to blame me.

    I know there were many signs to end the friendship, but like my friend from high school my self pity jumped in. A lot more things started happening in a short the time my friendship with her, young mom would always be at my house, always talking to me about my husband (how cute he is, why his brothers does not look like him) eventually my husband started feeling uncomfortable as he felt she was always at my house when he comes home from work, so he would go in our bedroom until she leaves. It turned from fascination with my husband to gossiping, any chance she got to talk about her friends, sister or family she would. One major issue was with her sister, her sister was always upset when she is out with her friends as her sister had issues with keeping friends of her own. The sister felt left out and she did not hide it, because she displayed it in front of me, at one point I told young mom listen, I see exactly what you are talking about and because she is your family spend time with her, I know I am your friend but I believe family comes first and I do not want to be apart of that problem.

    For a while I pulled away and eventually we gravitated back, the issues with the sister continued, her sister would take any opportunity to upset young mom if her day was not going well. I told young mom you should never let anyone take your sunshine when they have a dark cloud, what your sister is dealing with she is going to have to figure it out on her own. Her sister was interested in an apt in my building so an opportunity came up, being the kind person I told the young mom about it for her sister, the young mom insisted she wanted to see apt first and if it’s bigger she would take it and give her sister her’s, now this would not have been fair she had 4 people in her family and the sister had 6 people, the new apt was a bit bigger which would be more ideal for the family of 6. Also she had just moved in 2 months prior.

    So the sister got in, which turned out to be hell she had similar issues as young mom. I kept my self out of it. Over time again young mom wanted myself, my friends and her sister to hang but that did not happened, we just did not mesh well. I had a talk with young mom and she said at one point She felt I was not around and I reminded her about the family comes first discussion, she then started gossiping about her sister ( the sister is always copying what she does and that the sister is envious of her) I should have then but I did not tell her she did the same towards her sister and other folks. I started having a lot of issues with her behavior and did not tell her, so I admit I started talking to Apple about my concerns until it turned into gossiping. I had issues with her cleanliness, she had kept the dirty pillows I thought she tossed, while bad mouthing others about their homes being dirty in which her home was no better, I just think if your place is dirty you should not judge someone else for the same thing, she constantly called other women ugly and always sticking her nose where it did not belong and realized I was now gossiping about these things to Apple buy keeping up a fake friendship with the young mom. It made me feel awful, so instead of confronting young mom I blamed myself for being too harsh, I tried to convince myself to ignore it, but the issues still grew.

    She had a birthday dinner and my friend Apple felt bad she did not get a gift in time, I told her I wouldn’t worry about it, we are going together so the gift I have is from bought of us, after dinner two of young moms closest friends did not have a ride back to her apt, so they drove with me, they came to my place to wait until young mom arrived, immediately as they entered my apt they whispered to each other “oh this is what she is talking about” when young mom arrived she was opening her gifts and started making snark remarks about some of the gifts she received, in particular she received a gift I was not aware she liked, she always told me her other friend collected pandora charms and that it was not her thing, it turned out someone bought her a Pandora bracelet and the necklace, she commented “I don’t know why they bought me this necklace, I get bored of things I’m not interested in” everyone looked at each other in shock, except who —-ME—- not the first time seeing this.

    The next day Apple told she was disgusted by her behavior and now she does not feel so bad for not bringing her a gift. A month later this lead into a further conflict with her and Apple, in which Apple said she was done with the friendship. During the summer the young mom and I hung out a few times, eventually I noticed her and Apple started being friends again, then Apple began to become a bit cold towards me, I ignored it. The young mom hand some skin issues and was not taking care of it properly, one day on a road trip she took a business card and started scratching the dead skin off her hands in my car, I look at her in disgust and that was it for me, all the nasty traits and behavior came back immediately… So I decided nope this is not good for me and removed my self. During the course of the friendship these are the issues: I mention I wanted buy a decor for my house, immediately she ran out and bought it before I did, she would talk about other folks home being unclean and her’s would be the same, said her sister is envious, but did the same, was upset a parent at her kids daycare keep driving different cars and that the next time she comes with a new car she is going to key it, she does not buy gifts for people who show up empty handed to her parties (don’t be too quick to judge), she doesn’t like this but buys it because her friends has it, always comparing my daughter with my friends daughter, goes to the store and switches prices, has friends that works in clothing stores so she can fill a bag and walk out without paying, stole an item at my cousins store because she needed another one and the list goes on. I really felt this young lady was zealous of anyone she thought might be a threat and mostly with me, starting with the day she cried for my apartment, I started feeling the single-white-female effect, she changed her to look like mine, changed her husbands look to resemble my husband, she had an accident and bought the same car as my husband, copied the same party themes as my self, friends and my cousin and it goes on.

    Alison I’m sorry for this “Novel” but what happened next ended my friendship with both her and Apple, the young mom asked for us to meet up because there is something she can not let rest, I had all suspicion that Apple had something to do with the meeting, because I suspected she was now gossiping to my friend about me, I did not have evidence and I had to find out, so we met up. Now because my hobby was baking, young mom had ordered from me a few times, but because of a bad order several months before I had I felt horrible and just wanted to take a break, I told the ladies about this and that I won’t be doing anything for some time, 2 or 3 days after telling them young mom asked if I could take an order and I told her no not at the moment , I felt insulted because I told her I needed a break, so my request meant nothing to her. A month or two after the bad order Apple had asked if I have decided to bake again as yet, told I was working towards it and since the time off I’ve been figuring out ways not to mess up again, she needed a small order for her daughters graduation, so told her I would try. I was able to do the order for her, this is where the meeting with young mom comes in, she was upset why I did not take her order and I took Apples, I looked at her seriously were talking about food, she was serious, I chuckled and told about her being inconsiderate, and that Apple came to me months later and asked me, she still wanted to know why I did not do it for her, because of how the conversation was going I told her Apple begged me, which was a lie… My intent was to confirm that Apple was the one who set her to meet up with me, knowing her verbal diarrhea she would take it directly back to Apple, then it went into I deserted her and I was not there… Because she was very immature in handling the truth and felt I let her down easy, I put the blame on her sister and for the way she spoke about her family, which really was a part of it, I told although your sister has issues with your friends I’m speaking about me and that the sister has an actual issue with me, I reminded her that each time she talks about her sisters jealousy with our friendship it had to do with her, you know your sister has issues but each time an issue comes up you are the one mentioning my name to her by saying “burnt and I went here, burnt planned this, burnt did that” when she gets upset…you not any one else comes back to me with what happened. I’ve asked young mom before to stop talking about me to your sister but it continued, there were other interactions directly with her sister so I knew for myself she had a personal issue with me. She said no her sister did not have an issue specifically with me it was with all her friends and now that I am taking myself away I’m making myself the problem. I thought so I guess myself and all your friends hang…. Which we never did and that while chatting about me to your sister her friends came up as well, nope not so. Alison maybe you can make some sense out of this please?…. I realized the maturity of her brain and ended the conversation by letting her know that it looks like we’re not seeing eye to eye, here are 2 options either your ok with me disappearing when your sister acts up and I’ll come back after the storm or we simply just not be friends, I told her it is what is and the ball is in her court. I also kept in my mind that I wanted to confirm Apple set her up to have this meeting, so I planted the Easter egg about Apple begging for the order.

    The next day I heard a knock at my door, low and behold it’s Apple…we talked for a bit and knowing some sensitivity about Apple she brought up young mom telling her I said she begged for the order, I knew I was right, then I felt betrayed because I was thinking as my dear friend why would young mom feel so comfortable to come to you about me and why did you listen, immediately everything she discussed was shut off, I was betrayed and loyalty was very important to me, Apple kept saying I’m not choosing sides but you were mean to young mom and I should have not done this or that, immediately all her nasty comments about young mom came up, but I did not say anything I was hurt. Apple felt what I said about the begging was to shut young mom up, no it wasn’t I said I knew I planted trap and you both walked right into it. Apple repeated almost everything discussed at the meeting, but said I’m not going to take sides, so asked her why did she sit there and have her talk about me, Apple replied she needed someone to talk too, same thing she said about Lisa in which she no longer speaks to because of young mom. While Apple was telling me all the things the young mom said, I kept my mouth shut not letting her about know about the times the young mom would discuss her to me, because I wanted the gossiping to stop.

    After a week or two Apple had an event coming up and knowing young mom would be there I was still going to attend, however I few unforeseen events happened, I had a few family deaths, some issues with work, a hit run with my car, so i felt over welmed and choose not to attend, I gave Apple a brief explanation and her reply “That’s ok, I expected you to cancel” that is when our friendship ended. During all this I only had my closest friend to talk to and she was aware of everything, she always told me to end it with the young mom in the beginning but I did not, after telling her what Apple did she said I understand your disgusted with the young mom, but Apple was always the problem, from the beginning as your friend she should have not allow the young mom to talk about you, but she did and there must be something your not aware of why she allowed this. A guy friend of mine knew we were all friends and knew I introduced young mom to the ladies, we saw each one day and he asked about the girls, that is when the flood gates opened I knew it was wrong to gossip that way, but I think because this happened before and my friends basically cut me off and to find out the truth later I felt enough is enough your not going to get away with this, I allowed it before but no way not this time. After my guy friend I spoke he said that there are two thing I did not like about this and that young mom was wrong, she met your friend through you she had not right and your friend Apple should have not condoned the gossip.

    3 months later Apple called me to talk wanting to know what happened, but you know my close girlfriend and I predicted she would call, because Apple was the coolest out of all of us, she was expecting me to chase her, but she realized I was not like the other two, we talked and I told how I felt and basically she should of shut down the gossip from the beginning and she did not. I also told her many times young mom brought her name up to me and I shut it down, I choose not to say what it was because it time for a new chapter. Apple had a party coming up and something happened between her and the young mom she was done with 3x before, but she said that is not the reason she wanted myself and hubby to come, rather she missed us and she was wrong in how she spoke to me, ok then she went on about young mom lying about something after she confronted her why they may not be friends again, I said well you confronted her 3x before about lying and you still choose to be friends with her. I wasn’t and did not ask what it was, young mom was just a non factor to me now, so I cut the conversation; I told her we would let her know if we are free, but again another problem came up, my refrigerator was broken, everything started adding up, I felt stressed, so I did not attend her party, a few days later I called her and I could tell she was not happy. We still keep it mutual when we see each other but I am aware there is still a problem, I’ve decided this does not belong in my life, so I keep it mutual say hi as there is nothing to chase I’m moving on. My biggest disappointment is when ever someone brings up young mom to me I get really upset and belittle her, then when I walk away I’m angry that I should of walked away in the beginning. What should I do?

    I’m really sorry for this long story, but that is what I can sum up short.


    • Alison says:

      Hi Burnt,

      This is a practically a novel, and I read through it very quickly but unfortunately don’t have time to respond thoroughly to something this long. I will respond briefly to a couple of points. If you can synthesize your question into a brief set of facts and a question, then I can respond more easily.

      I’m sorry for the abuse you experiences as a child.

      You say “you felt insulted because you told her you needed a break.” No need to feel insulted. Just politely maintain your boundaries. Say, “I’m sorry I’m still not doing that.”

      Asking gossips to stop talking about you is usually not effective. You need to cool down your friendship and have better boundaries. Read “Setting Boundaries” or watch “Setting Boundaries” and watch “How To Respond To Malicious Gossip” and “Why do People Gossip and When is it Malicious?”

      There’s no need to continue a friendship with someone like this: “it turned out someone bought her a Pandora bracelet and the necklace, she commented “I don’t know why they bought me this necklace, I get bored of things I’m not interested in” everyone looked at each other in shock, except who —-ME—- not the first time seeing this.” Nor with someone who steals from stores.

      Next time you tell someone that you will come to a party, do the courteous thing if you decide not to go, and give them a quick call.

      As to your last question, if you move on with your life and do more life-enhancing activities and eventually meet more positive people who read, work, volunteer and learn things, rather than gossi maliciously, you will no longer feel upset about young mom. Make sure you don’t belittle her, and you will much better about yourself. But you must move on in your life. Reading about this and having self-reflection is a good start.

      Good luck.


    • Darby says:

      That was very long. Skimmed it…will read again when I have more time

    • Kate says:

      Sorry, this is way too long and confusing to respond to. I wish you the best.

  16. anonymous says:

    Hi i need some help. Theres this girl at school who is pretending to be my friend i think, i recently had a falling out with one of my best friends, so she keeps hanging out with her and gossiping about me. One time i heard her say, so are you still best friends with her(me)? Then she said i dunno. Then the mean girl replied how do you not know, i already told you so much stuff about her. What should i do? I really just wanna be friends with my best friend again, how do i get rid of that mean girl…?

    • Alison says:

      Hi, I would focus on doing things with your friend–one day at a time–in other words, call her and plan stuff that you typically have a good time doing together. Try not to talk about the other girl, and definitely don’t act jealous of her, even if you feel a little jealousy. If your friend wants to include the other girl, don’t make a big deal about it, and just say, “sure.” But in the future you might try to plan things that happen to be inconvenient for the other girl.

      In essence, nourish your relationship with your friend by doing some stuff that is fun together. Don’t try to get rid of the other girl and don’t gossip about her. She just might stop being negative about you, if you aren’t trying to get rid of her. If she continues to be negative, act above it, and your friend will probably see that you have more self-respect and self-confidence than someone who likes gossip maliciously. If your friend doesn’t see it, then it may be time to find better friends. In fact, it’s always nice to have a couple of different friends, so that you won’t feel possessive over your one best friend.

      All the best,


    • Alison says:

      PS I also just noticed that you are in school together. So you might be more likely to have lunch together and hang out between classes than to call each other. If that’s the case, I would just be outgoing and friendly as though you didn’t have a falling out, and join her for lunch, and if the other girl is there, be polite. Don’t worry about the negative gossip, just make sure you don’t ever say something about anyone that you wouldn’t want repeated.

      There are three reasons to avoid negative gossip:

      1. The person you are gossiping to could spread it and get you in trouble.
      2. The person you are gossiping to knows that you might gossip about her when she’s not around.
      and most importantly,
      3. It’s boring and small minded.

      I don’t want to be too unrealistic. Some gossip can be fun, but make sure you use your discretion, and that you wouldn’t mind having what you say repeated to anyone else.

      Good luck!

  17. Noy says:

    Hi, I’m guilty of participating in gossips and I usually catch myself when I realize it petty and not venting. I rarely gossips about other people but there have been venting going on. My problem is other people talking sh*t/gossip about other people. They feel like they been “wronged” by the person. Which is usually always the case with work gossip. I don’t join or put my 2 cent in. I kinda do factual comments if I can. I find myself not liking a coworker so much. I always hear her Bi*tching about someone. And she take joke soo seriously. She can joke with other but get annoyed and offended when you do….since I worked there I hear her complaining about 2-3 co-worker and I’m sure she does it about me. One of the girls she complains about is now the girl she comains to about another co-worker. She’s (they) are th3 victim that felt they been “wronged”. I feel these are result of miscommunication, misconstrued understanding and some were beyond the persons control. This is getting me up. I didn’t join in but i don’t like sorta hearing it or seeing them whispers in the corners. I ignore it and focus on my job. But it’s getting to me because I don’t like it and what this person is doing. I see a pattern and she’ll just talk shit about everyone at a point because we have “wronged” her some how. I feel she’s a mean spirit person. I was joking around and she got all mad and annoyed with me. She acts like i don’t do my jobs. I do my job and then some. Others people seen, recognized it and always compliment me on it. How do I best interact and deal with this type of person? For sure i need to stop joking around with her. She gets grrr…about it. I need to avoid and not join on the complaining about others. I feel she feels she always has to be involved. Any suggestions?

    • Alison says:

      How annoying to have that negative energy in the workplace! I would definitely not gossip with her, as she will certainly tell others what you have said, and it isn’t life-enhancing anyway. You might still be respectful and polite to her. Could you go to your manager in private to let him or her know that the work place environment is being affected by the negative gossip? You don’t even have to mention names. Make sure you tell your manager that you work hard and get along with everyone, but that you notice that the whole environment is negatively impacted by negative gossip that seems to be spurred on by one particular person.

      I hope someone else has some suggestions, and I’ll continue to think about it.

      Good luck.

      • TheOtherSide says:

        It is quite annoying to hear these things once you decide you no longer want to live that type of life. With it being at your job, I hate to say there really isn’t much that can be done apart from bring it up to management as the above has stated. If you really have taken into account and decided to rid yourself of negativity then you’ll next have to realize that it truly is only your account. Work will be hostile do to a loss of professionalism that probably only existed centuries ago. Interupt conversations with positive messages or ignore the negative. You have to work so there’s not much you can do. Just find peace in knowing you’re in a better frame of mind to realize what’s happening. Be careful not to allow this to make you feel superior though. I personally am trying to encourage those I have to face to understand where I’m coming from. They’ll avoid you, embrace you, or ignore you themselves.

  18. TheOtherSide says:

    So this is a topic I’ve become very interested in recently. I’ve seen some post and I have to be the one to admit I was completely guilty of being a gossiper for the most part of my young life. Recently I’ve had some new awakenings in my way of thinking and I’ve worked on many things. Gossip is one I’ve cut from my life. Now I try my best to use people situations in understanding them and even myself rather than just belittling or killing time. The problem is not everyone is that way. So many years being a person who considered himself better than others I developed quite the friend list. One specific friend, I have done my best to show there are better things than gossip and that gossip really makes us weak. Unfortunately the god complex is real and I don’t see some of my “associates” as I view them currently changing. I’m pretty much considering finding a new batch of people to share ideas and adventures with, but I’m not a go out person neither so finding new friends will be slow. In the end I’m happier being positive so if I end up with short pal list it’ll be ok with me.

    • Alison says:

      Good for you, and unfortunately not everyone is on the same path. You’ll probably get bored with people who gossip too much, and you will eventually make what I think are more interesting friends. Unfortunately you have deal with associates as best you can. Good luck!

  19. Beyonce says:

    English is my 3language so please escuse my French lol.
    I’ve been sexually abused since I was 7 by 2family members and one family friend. It went on for years. Never told my parents because I was going to be blamed. My younger sister was molested and my parents never stopped abusing her emotionally and reminding her what happened. Also calling her names:stupid, naive, retarded. Couldn’t take the chance.
    My dad been struggling with undiagnosed depression. He’s never happy, nothing positive comes into his mouth. Our house is like a funeral when he’s around. Unfortunately we are all around him. We wants his approval and he never gives it.

    Was always the good one, the smart one and pretty too. Even though deep down I blamed myself for what happened. Got married when I was in university. Was 21years old. Wasn’t ready but wanted to please my parents as I was old enough to get married according to my culture.

    After my first child, my husband lost his job, from nowhere I lost it. Was worried about everything. Was depressed, needed all male’s attention.
    Had affairs not because I wanted it but because I needed the attention.
    Went through so much. My child hood abuses came back. Struggled. Remembered all the abuses we went through both physical and emotional from our parents.
    Was a mess for 6years. Oh by the way I started drinking for the first time too.
    My husband did not know what to do with me. He got disconnected. Our marriage became a hell.
    Throughout my life I found myself gossiping about other people. I enjoy other people’s misery, I spread gossips. I never start rumours but I’ve been spreading them.

    Now that I feel like everybody knows what I’ve done, I’m jealous about other good wives, women, moms I see in the community.
    I hate pretty women coz I feel filthy and ugly now. “Good women” discusses me but as u said on ur article, it’s because I envy them, it’s because I’m in pain.

    I’m starting to join the churches but I feel like everybody talks behind my back. So anytime I hang out with other people I start gossiping to get their attention and to be liked or show off. At the end I go home sad because I revealed my true colour.

    I really wanna get self respect, I wanna forgive myself, I wanna deal with my guiltiness. I wanna learn how to self control myself because anywhere I am I wanna win the conversation, I wanna show that I’m smarter when I’m in the community that I undermine. And when I’m with men I play respectful or stupidly interested in whatever they have to say.

    My husband hates when I start gossiping and I noticed that he tend to give attention or respect those I trush. I guess he sees them as special women since they thretened me. I guess I make him pay attention to beatiful and strong woman.

    Any woman who doesn’t pay attention to me or who doesn’t like me or who ignores me or who doesn’t laugh at me or comment on my Facebook pictures then they become my haters and so I’m insecure around them therefor I have to dig for their imperfections.
    And I enjoy when others gossip about them.
    And I feed the gossip.

    I have excuses about everything. I feel like everybody gossip about me therefor I should gossip back.
    My dad always said that everybody is gossiping about our bad behaviour.
    He always talked about others succes except his own family.
    I don’t talk about anybody’s success but their failure.
    I enjoy people’s failures.
    I love unpopular, poor, “ugly” miserable people and sad people so I can help them.

    I have lots of issues no wonder why I feel judged by everyone including my husband, my siblings and few friends I have.

    How can i become à better Person ans stop gossiping?

  20. DJ Bruce says:

    Dear Alison Poulsen

    There are 10 kids in my family, and my parents attended to Indian Residential Schools, but they both died, long before they had the opportunity to talk about their own childhood abuse. So I’m sure you can imagine how we were all raised. So to top it off, my parents had no parenting skills.

    I’ve had so many ups and downs in my family. You see, at age 38, in May 21st, 2004, I underwent major brain surgery. The tumor was called ‘meningioma’ and it was located on the left side of the emotionally stability part of my brain. It took the neurosurgeon and other staff members nearly 7 hours to remove it. It turned out to be the size of a baseball, and flat like a pancake. We found out a year later that it has been putting pressure on my brain since my early child hood years. I felt healthy for awhile and was able to see clearly for once in my life.

    But then it came back again, on the same spot 4 years later in 2008. This time it grew quite rapidly and aggressively. So I was introduced to a Radiation Oncologist, who set up 30 Radiation Therapy Treatments to destroy it. I’m okay now, although I still have P.T.S.D. and Epilepsy. I’ve been going for therapy since December 10, 1982. I will possibly need to go for therapy for the rest of my life, according to a couple of psychologists who spoke to me about my case. Because what happened, due to the surgeries and radiation, and how it’s affecting my mind and personality.

    Mind you, my own 3 children have not always been innocent little angels. I used to badmouth others in front of their faces, or behind their backs. But then I suddenly felt great shame, because of the way my actions made me feel afterward. So I tried to change my personality as much as I possibly could. So got into counseling for so many years. I also became a born again Christian for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    I’ve really learned so much about reading this website about GOSSIP. My two older sisters have always been gossiping about other people their whole lives. I figured they were gossip about me behind my back. So I used to wonder why I was always being labeled as black sheep of the family, and now I know how it all got started. This has been happening to me my whole life, and now I’m a 50 year old grandmother with kids.

    I once told my older son who is now 32,
    not to say rude things about his younger sister who 31.
    He asked me
    I told him
    “because she’s your sister!”
    So what he said to me was,
    “Okay mom!”

    But you know what else? On the other hand, I think its quite alright to be discussing with you about these personal issues I’ve been having. Because you have a double PhD. So you know exactly what I’m talking about.

    Its very fortunate of finding this website on the Internet. Because it’s giving me a lot of feed back on myself and others around me. Now I know that people who do gossip- should be minding their own affairs, and should be keeping their personal opinions to themselves. I mean, nobody’s perfect, right? I’m not saying that I am either. Most people have personal issues, and they need to learn how to deal with. But only if they want to. I’ve learned a lot of insight, about myself just by reading this.

    So now, I don’t want to open any doors for any more gossipers to be bothered with. I’m a writer, artist, and singer. So I prefer to be left alone whenever I can, these days. I think I’m being way too open about myself on here, might because I have nobody else to talk to.

    God Bless you!

    Thank you very for posting this website!
    Ms. Alison Poulsen, PhD

    • Alison says:

      Dear D,

      Thank you for posting this comment and your self-reflection. You certainly have been through a lot in your 50 years here. And it appears that you have worked quite a bit on becoming a better person and becoming more understanding of the imperfections of human beings that cause so much pain. Good for you for avoiding gossip and focusing on becoming a writer, artist, and singer.

      Thank you for your appreciation. Good luck with your future. All the best,


  21. Ron says:

    One of the best ways I learned to avoid this is not to get close with people at work. In addition I decline holiday parties etc it is best to be the person who no one knows anything about this often keeps peace

  22. Anonymous says:

    I am I victim of gossip in a christian group in which one of my relatives brought me into. I been attending for two months now and it feel so hostile. Ive had a dark past which led me into seeking god and he knows im trying so hard to change. Our group meets 4 days a week at one of the members home. Most of them are family members and some are friends of theirs. Almost everyday I go they have something to say between each other about me from my past, looks, how I dress, sing, ect during church. The kids drop my bible on the ground and I have my eyes losed praying. They often blurt out names as I walk out the door. I know I am not perfect. Would I be wrong to leave the group and start praying by myself? What should I do?

    • Alison says:

      Dear B,

      You would not be wrong to leave the group. In fact, I think you would be doing yourself a disservice to stay in a group that treats you so poorly. What they are doing is mean and very disrespectful. It would be better to pray by yourself. I also think you can go to different church groups or churches and test them out and see where you feel most nourished. It would be great if you could get some counseling and/or find a church where you are not only treated with respect, but can learn how to handle and avoid such hostility as you have faced. When you have relatives that treat you so poorly, it doesn’t come as naturally to defend yourself and to have self-respect. But that can be learned over time when you choose to be with people who are respectful. Counseling can also really help to develop self-respect and gain tools to deal with disrespect. Most important for now is to avoid hostile people, even though they may be relatives.

      Take care of yourself.


      • Hello, and God Bless to you both Alison and the submitter we will call “B” for confidentiality. (please excuse my spelling lol.)
        As much as I like the advise given, I would approach this a different way; “B” If it may be that your past is getting you down and you are struggling with this, so it seems? There are a few ways to look at this. 1)Communities are small, and groups are “clickie” meaning, no matter what group you belong to. It is your life to make the positive impact. Ignore any negatives and try to say a “Hi” and or “Hello” to as many people you come across stranger or friend. It will boost your ego and play a role to the psychology aspect: “If a person does not respond to a “Hello” : If you find yourself worried or distraught at this action, I would suggest that you still have yet to get over any underlying issues to your past, in which you feel that people may talk negative about you. (These people are christians, and they keep allowing you into their home to join their group.) That says alot! Thus being said… I would ask politely to the group moderator, if there is any thing you could do in order to help them out and “REVERSE” the deeds that have been given to you and pay them with kindness. Keep at it and don’t let talk ruin your life.. God Bless!

    • Eric says:

      That’s not a very Christian attitude on their part. I quit church before I finished high school simply because most of the members of the church were hypocrites.

  23. Eric says:

    It’s interesting that 95% of the comments are from women. Here’s a comment from a man.
    I’m a single guy working in an office environment where there are mostly female personel. Most of them are decent people but a few of them are real bitches who like to cause me problems.
    Recently one of the newer female employees, who has reason to see me in my office, comes in and flat out asks me if I’m interested in an affair, to which I reply in the negative. Then she suggests a one night stand. Again…NO!
    So then she says I must be gay. I tell her I am not. Then she apologizes and asks me not to tell anyone of the conversation. Which I gladly agree to.
    A month later another coworker throws a party at his place and invites everyone. At this party I get totally snockered and pass out on his bed, with his permission. Then another male coworker passes out drunk next to me. Both of us dressed…nope, nothing happened.
    Monday morning (just today) the first thing out of this bitches mouth is that other guy and I had sex. And she says to me “I figured you were that way”.
    I really wanted to kick her teeth in.
    Of course she spread it all over like some funny tale. The other guy didn’t say much but he was pissed too.
    I’m considering filing a formal complaint with HR, but we all know complaints from men about harrassement are not taken seriously.
    Anyway…that’s why I’m here. To vent about evil bitches!

    • Alison says:


      I have just a little time right now, and if I think of a better answer when I get home next week, I will write again.

      This situation is very annoying and I’m not sure what you should do. I would consider making a complaint, though as a man you do have to be careful (unfortunately.) Yet it’s not only harassment, but some gay bashing as well, even though you’re not gay–she’s using it as an insult in the workplace. Very unprofessional and crass.

      Part of me wants you to be able to talk to her briefly and with compassion and say, ” Hey, I don’t think you realize how inappropriate it is for you to ask make advances at me one day and call me gay the next. It’s weird and not fostering a good workplace atmosphere.” But it is probably better to make a formal complaint, but I would emphasize that she’s worsening the productivity of the workplace with her focus on gossip and you in particular. I would just make sure you feel very calm and self-possessed when you make your complaint. You don’t want to seem weak or angry.

      I sure would avoid getting drunk anywhere near her in the future. Sadly, she’s not going to get the respect she’s seeking from others, and she definitely won’t get into a good long-term relationship with the way she’s handling this.

      Whether you make a formal complaint or not, I would make sure you remain very professional, friendly and courteous with everyone. Don’t appear embarrassed or angry or arrogant.

      Let me know what happens. It’s a pity when one person can be so annoying. You have to figure out how not to let her get to you..

      Good luck.


    • Mary McMorrow says:

      What else could you expect from a woman who propositions you anywhere – thart’s how those types are. I have been the object of vicious gossip too many times in my life and people who do the manipulating of your reputation are the ones who have to be looked at. Gossip is a form of murder.

    • sharon says:

      I am a female and my advice would be to go to HR. I am also tired of bad behavior not being addressed. Don’t put up with this go to HR and file a sexual harrassment complaint about this woman. I wish you had done this when she came to you in the first place asking you for a one night stand. Make sure you bring that information to HR also. This should not be tolerated you are all there to work.

    • Alison says:

      Hi again,

      I think your situation is more of a office business environment question rather than a psychology question. So I talked about your situation to two friends, one man and one woman, who have been in management in the corporate world for many years. Both said that what you experienced is clearly sexual harassment, and that you should take it to your supervisor/manager. Here is what one of them emailed me after the discussion: “One thing I wanted to make clear…He should go to his manager/supervisor first, before going to HR. His boss should take action from there. Never want to blindside your boss. His boss should be the one to connect with HR on his behalf. If the boss doesn’t take action and the problem persists, then he has no choice but to go to HR.”

      Without making a formal complaint, further harassment cannot be dealt with. They also said that you should document the dates and what was said, just in case of further problems, or perhaps a civil suit, which your company could file if the woman doesn’t stop her behavior after being talked to.

      Good luck.

  24. 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.

  25. 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!

  26. 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

    • StopCrying says:

      If its not your business to know what other people think about you, why does this page exist. Just ask them a personal question then take the piss. 1-0 you

    • n says:

      Sorry, but it absolutely is my business to know. It’s my life they are discussing, yes? And if their thoughts about me lead to my being passed over at work, or not trusted to do something that I am more than capable of doing, then they are discriminating against me,and I deserve to know why.

  27. 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.

  28. 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!

  29. 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.


  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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 🙂

  33. Pingback: Top 10 Career Mistakes Twentysomethings Should Avoid - GEN Y GIRL

  34. 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 🙂

  35. 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.

    • 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!

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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!!!

    • n says:

      Maybe throw a little modesty into the mixture of your perfection, and they might find some positive things to say about you.

  44. 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 🙁

  45. 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 🙂

  46. 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

  47. 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.

  48. 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”

  49. 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…

  50. 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…

  51. 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.

  52. 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!

  53. 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 ….

  54. 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!

      • mary mcmorrow says:

        HAH! HAH!

    • 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.

  55. 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

  56. 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!

  57. 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.. 😉

  58. 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.

    • mary mcmorrow says:

      That is hard! Quite nasty! Ask her why she does this to you. In front of others so there are witnesses. Nasty people have rough humor. Pray for peace first so you can carry it off with quiet confidence. Wish you luck! Keep looking your very best and with a great smile!

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