Career and Enterprising

Tips for handling a colleague who loves to gossip

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You’ve probably encountered at least one colleague in your career who just can’t resist gossiping. 

This person might be a constant thorn in your sight or simply an annoyance that you have to put up with from time to time. Whichever category this colleague falls into, it’s important to know how to deal with them effectively.

Here are some tips for handling a colleague who loves to gossip.

Set boundaries

Don’t be afraid to tell them that you don’t want to talk about personal matters of others, and walk away if the conversation gets too uncomfortable. It’s also worth noting that you don’t have to justify your behavior to them—just because they gossip doesn’t mean you have to.

Use “I” statements

When dealing with a colleague who loves to gossip, it can be tough to stay calm. But by using “I” statements, you can avoid getting drawn into their drama. For example, you could say, “I feel uneasy when you talk about our teammates behind their backs. It makes me feel like I can’t count on you.” By spotlighting your feelings, rather than slamming the other person, you’re less likely to initiate an argument.

Be honest but diplomatic
colleagues conversing

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You might be feeling frustrated with your coworker who loves to gossip. But before you react rashly, convince yourself to stay composed. Here are a few tips for handling the situation:

  • Let your colleague know that you’re uncomfortable gossiping and ask them to stop.
  • If they don’t listen, try to avoid them or limit the amount of time you spend around them.
  • Keep your emotions in check. Responding with rage or frustration will only make the situation worse.
  • If things get too heated, take a break and walk away for a few minutes. This will give you a chance to settle down and approach the situation more rationally.
Avoid getting sucked into the gossip

It can be challenging to work with a colleague who adores gossiping, but it’s vital to stay neutral and dodge getting sucked into the drama. Here’s how you can manage the case:

  • Stay courteous. It’s wise to remain professional, even if the person is being rude or disrespectful.
  • Keep your distance. It might be best to avoid them as much as possible, especially if they tend to be toxic or negative.
  • Avoid sharing any personal information. The last thing you want is for them to use your information against you later on.
  • Keep conversations short and polite. Try not to engage in long conversations with the gossiper, as it will only encourage them further.
  • Remember that you’re not alone. There are probably other people in your workplace who are also frustrated with the gossiper. Seek out their support and build a network of allies.

Work days can be difficult when you have to deal with a colleague who loves to gossip. They always seem to be stirring up trouble and making office life more complex than it needs to be. But don’t worry, there are ways to address them as we’ve listed in this article. If all else fails, schedule a meeting with your HR manager or your direct supervisor to discuss the issue.

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