7 Tips for Avoiding Office Gossip

One of the most brutal and destructive of all negative elements in any office environment is office gossip. In a lot of cases it is hostile, and sometimes malicious. Office gossip can often be considered "abuse by other means". Experienced managers and supervisors don't like it, and try to crack down on it, because of the serious damage it can do in the workplace. It can fragment working relationships beyond repair, and create factions in the office. In some cases it can create potentially dangerous situations involving violent confrontations.

Workplace gossips are persona non grata with managers and supervisors for other reasons, too. They're troublemakers by definition, and their behavior inevitably creates problems, intentionally or otherwise. Any gossiping is done at the expense of the employer's time and against the interests of other employees. It's often in the employer's best interests to get rid of the gossips to improve staff morale and to send a message to any wannabe gossips.

Important: Managers and supervisors dislike known associates of office gossips, too, as potential spreaders of gossip. Do not associate voluntarily with office gossips, and don't be seen with them, even accidentally, if you can avoid it.

How to stay out of the gossip loop

Avoiding office gossip can be very difficult, particularly if you've been inflicted with the office gossip as a workmate, but it is possible. This is a case of "What you don't know can help you":

1.Don't participate in any office gossip session. Find an excuse, invent a reason, but get out of the talking zone.

2.Don't respond to information: If you seem interested, you'll get your ears talked off. Total silence is a good killer of gossip. The average office gossip may be mentally quite a few cents short in the dollar, but they'll get the message.

3.Be negative, or look interested: Office gossips need a good audience. If you don't meet the criteria, you'll be avoided in future. If someone tells you later you're considered standoffish, you've succeeded in getting out of the loop.

4.Don't repeat anything you've heard: Meaning anything at all. This is a conversational habit to avoid. It's natural, when discussing any subject, to refer to information you've received. Don't do it. Let the subject go, don't promote discussion.

How to avoid being the subject of gossip

Gossip about anybody can be created out of thin air. Gossips don't seem to care, as long as their mouths are moving. To avoid being a subject:

1.Keep your personal affairs private: Do not discuss with anyone any important or sensitive information, particularly about relationships, which are common gossip fodder. There will be no facts to back up any gossip.

2.Make sure the people you talk to aren't gossips: It's easy enough to just mention a name to someone, and if you start hearing gossip as a result, avoid that person. Go into your "staying out of the gossip loop" routines when speaking to them.

3.Keep your professional work secure: Some of the most malicious gossip is work-related. The best defense is ensuring no information is available.