What to do when people gossip about you.

"Approach - Rory McIlroy" by Mimi Stuart ©

“Approach – Rory McIlroy” by Mimi Stuart ©

“I know people who seem nice but gossip about me behind my back. They are such hypocrites, it’s depressing. Being confrontational hasn’t worked.”

Rise above the fray. Don’t allow yourself to dwell on the petty gossip that many people participate in, whether they are gossiping about you or others.

People often gossip out of boredom or envy. Thus, Oscar Wilde said, The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.

This is one of the situations in life where you must create a mental barrier around your feelings. If you become confrontational, fearful, or humiliated by gossip, you increase your vulnerability and give those who gossip power over you. Ignore them and you take away their power. Don’t be hostile, but don’t allow yourself to dwell on what they are saying.

Focus on more positive, interesting people and activities. There are many people in this world who have adequate self-worth and are too busy living their lives to have any time or desire for malicious gossip. Keep your eye out for these people and find activities that you are passionate about.

If you have to engage with people who are prone to gossip, maintain a casual, even somewhat friendly but unconcerned attitude. Convey a lack of interest in what they are saying by simply ignoring them, but avoid acting superior. Thus, you will maintain your dignity and inner strength without giving up your power or provoking more hostility.

Above all, the best way to stay above the banality of scandal-mongering is to maintain a sense of humor, as expressed by Vanna Bonta’s attitude:

Gossip can be entertaining: occasionally, I’ve heard the most fascinating things about myself I never knew.

by Dr. Alison Poulsen

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2 thoughts on “What to do when people gossip about you.

  1. Becky Cassell

    What to do if it’s your own sister who is doing the belittling and gossiping to caregivers when I am trying to maintain keeping my mother at home rather than a retirement facility. How do I conduct myself in the middle of the disrespect. It’s like a bunch of gossiping club

    1. Alison Post author

      That is tough. But you won’t regret it if you can find a way to maintain your dignity. I think it’s fine and sometimes important to speak up when being disrespected or when someone else is gossiping or behaving disrespectfully to someone you care about. Just do so firmly but without nastiness. The caregivers will see through her gossip if you make an effort to be kind to them and treat them with respect and avoid gossiping yourself. If your sister belittles the caregivers, you might apologize to them for her behavior. It will be difficult to get her to change, but you can avoid participating in the hurtful behavior. Good luck.

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