Tag Archives: talking about other people

How To Respond To Malicious Gossip

Click on the picture below to watch the short video:

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

Watch “Distinguishing Harmless from Malicious Gossip.”

Ten reasons not to spread rumors

"Perception" by Mimi Stuart © Live the Life you Desire

“Perception” by Mimi Stuart ©
Live the Life you Desire

Telling provocative stories about other people will get you attention. Yet spreading unverified information will cause harm to you in ways that may not be immediately evident.

There are ten harmful effects to people who spread rumors and perpetrate malicious gossip:

1. You prove you are not trustworthy. When people hear you speculating about other people or spreading rumors, they know that you are likely to talk about them behind their back as well.

2. You appeal to busybodies. You will be fostering relationships with an uninspiring group of people. Individuals who listen to rumor mongering do not have a lot going on in their lives and will not be interesting themselves.

3. You hurt others. Spreading rumors damages other people’s reputation without being based on substantiated fact. You can destroy people’s self-confidence, their careers, and even their lives.

4. You feel dirty. The attention may feel good while listeners are gripped by your salacious story, but soon thereafter it won’t feel good when you realize you’ve damaged someone’s reputation.

5. You waste time focusing on hearsay. The time spent talking about others could have been used to do something more productive or inspiring.

6. You lose your credibility. When you exaggerate or spread unverified gossip, people will stop believing what you say.

7. You feel pressure to satisfy a never-ending thirst for more rumor-mongering. You will need to come up with more stories to pique the jaded or prurient interest of your listeners, which further pressures you to exaggerate or spread hearsay.

8. You push interesting people away. People with productive or interesting lives are generally repelled by rumor mongers, and will start avoiding you once they figure out your MO.

9. You lose sight of your own interests. The attention you’re getting is not in response to your more positive talents, skills and efforts, but the salacious gossip you mete out. What you focus on in life is what develops. So your more positive qualities diminish into the background.

10. You demean yourself. You degrade yourself by showing a lack of integrity when you choose to spread unverified information.


It’s natural to be curious about other people’s lives, to spread factual or verifiable news about others, and to discuss human behavior to gain insight into our own lives and the lives of others. Yet spreading rumors, which are not verified facts, generally diminishes your life and the lives of those around you.

by Dr. Alison Poulsen

Watch “How to distinguish harmless gossip from malicious gossip.”

Read “Gossip: ‘What else did you hear?’”

Watch “How to respond to malicious gossip.”

How to Distinguish Harmless From Malicious Gossip

Talking about other people is natural. Sometimes though, talking about others brings everyone down. How do we distinguish harmless from malicious gossip? And why do people partake in malicious gossip?

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

Watch “How To Respond To Malicious Gossip.”

Read “Gossip vs. Honesty: ‘It is better to be honest and realistic than to pretend everyone is such an angel when they are not.'”