How to Deal With Gossip and Rumors

by Karen Kleinschmidt
Understanding the reasons people gossip and spread rumors can help to take the sting out of them.

Understanding the reasons people gossip and spread rumors can help to take the sting out of them.

From school-age kids and teenagers to local moms and co-workers, whenever people congregate, there is potential for gossip and rumors. Gossip usually begins when people want to know and understand what is happening in their environment. Rumors can start as two people try to figure out why something happened or why someone is behaving in a certain way. They may fill in gaps in the story so the outcome makes sense, and then someone else repeats it as fact. Malicious rumors can unnecessarily damage a person's reputation.


Avoid telling anyone too much information about yourself. It's best to reveal only what you want others to know. However, this could spur some people to want to talk about you and figure out any missing pieces. If this happens, sending texts or emails should be avoided as a retaliation to the gossip or rumors as they can be altered and reposted. This can be done on social networking sites as well.

Recognize who you can and can't trust to help you regain your reputation or reverse a rumor. Be sure the person you confide in isn't poking around for additional information. Kelly Cutrone, founder and CEO of People's Revolution, a company that helps people with their public images, stated in a "Teen Vogue" article that owning up to what you did is the best thing you can do to move on after damage has been done by a rumor or gossip. Even if it's not true, denying the rumor or gossip will only fuel the fire. For example, if you are accused of having sex with a guy at a party, you can acknowledge that you were at the party and enjoyed the guy's company before going home.

Set a good example of how you wish to be treated. Keep your head up and continue to do what you've always done. Those around you will know the gossip and rumors can't stop you. Within time, the gossip and rumors will die out. They can be devastating, and your reputation may be tarnished. But do your best to move on by surrounding yourself with people you trust and those who believe in you.


Refuse to gossip. If someone comes to you with information about another person, ask questions rather than making comments. In the workplace, avoid talking about your co-worker. Kindly let a gossip seeker know that you have no further information and excuse yourself.

Live by example. Speak highly of others and talk about them in a manner that you would want them to talk about you. Keep conversations light and positive, and save the juicy details for your most trusted friends and family members.

Limit your contact with people who gossip or spread rumors. It can be impossible to avoid someone completely at home, work or school. If necessary, when you must deal with a gossiper, discuss only necessary matters. Talk with the person in a friendly way, just as you would anyone else.

About the Author

Karen Kleinschmidt has been writing since 2007. Her short stories and articles have appeared in "Grandma's Choice," "Treasure Box" and "Simple Joy." She has worked with children with ADHD, sensory issues and behavioral problems, as well as adults with chronic mental illness. Kleinschmidt holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Montclair State University.

Photo Credits

  • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images