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Malicious gossip is negative and brings everyone down. This video includes several examples of ways to respond to someone rumor mongering and gossiping maliciously.
Malicious gossip can involve maligning another person and making hurtful negative judgments or the spreading of sensitive or confidential information. If you gossip a lot, you will attract other people who like to spread rumors and thus don’t have much of interest going on in their lives. Distorting information, talking “dirt”, and bringing other people down will affect your life negatively.
How do you respond to unwelcome gossip?
First of all, you don’t want to encourage gossip with curiosity and further questions. Nor is it necessary to become overly hostile and angry at the gossiper.
1. You can have empathy for the person being gossiped about. Take the other person’s side and show compassion.
2. Respond with humor.
3. Change the subject.
4. Turn the tables and focus your attention on the gossiper and what’s going on in his or her life. For example, “You seem to want to talk about who Susie is sleeping with. How about we talk about who you’re sleeping with!”
5. Be direct. Say you’re uncomfortable talking negatively about other people.
6. Finally, you can avoid persistent gossipers and leave.
While harmless gossip is fine, malicious gossip is not inspiring and does not enhance people’s lives. Freeing yourself from malicious gossip will give you more time to enjoy life or to talk about more interesting subjects.
by Dr. Alison Poulsen
Watch “How to distinguish between harmless and malicious gossip” https://www.youtube.com/my_videos?o=U.
by Alison Poulsen, PhD