Ways to Stop Gossip in the Workplace

How do I Stop a Co-Worker from Gossiping

If you are wanting to stop a co-worker from gossiping then you may not be alone. 

Gossiping in the workplace is more common than we thought. 

According to the Human Capital Hub, “75% of white-collar professionals admitted to chatting about workplace concerns or co-workers while at work”.

That’s a lot of gossiping happening around the office. Although many have claimed gossip can have its benefits, it can also hurt the workplace environment.

Gossiping can become detrimental at work as it can tarnish someone’s reputation, instill doubt towards the company, and even cause high turnover. 

Therefore, making it essential to stop gossip in the workplace.

Amora V Lifestyle features how do I stop a co-worker from gossiping and stop gossip at work.

1. Kindly Disagree

When someone is insistent on gossiping about another, kindly disagree. 

Here are a few ways to disagree with a co-worker without seeming aggressive.

  • That’s strange. I’ve never noticed
  • I didn’t see that
  • That doesn’t sound like something [they] would do

Disagreeing will hopefully end gossip immediately. 

However, if they continue, stick to the plan, disagree, and defend the victim.  Eventually, they will get the hint and stop.

2. Tell Them I'm Busy

Possibly one way to stop gossip in the workplace is to Tell them to Stop Gossiping. However, it is important you distance yourself from those who gossip to help you not care what others think.

Have a deadline coming up? Working on a significant project? 

These are all good excuses to avoid office gossip. 

When stopping by your desk, tell them you can’t chat. You are busy and have a deadline you are trying to make.

3. Brush it Off

Brushing it off is the ability to engage in conversation without seeming interested. 

If the person gossiping is trying to connect, then showing a loss of interest in the conversation may be all it takes to end the gossiping in its tracks.

4. Change Conversation Topic

Changing conversation topics is a great way to end gossiping. 

Changing the conversation with the person is a way to get off the gossip train. My momma always said, “people love talking about themselves.”

Casually transition the conversation to their children, dog, or weekend plans or ask them about a great place they like to eat. 

Engaging in conversation about their lives is an excellent way to redirect the conversation back to the person allowing them to speak about themselves. 

This also allows for a more positive conversation topic.

5. Kindly Ask Them to Stop

Another way to stop gossip in the workplace is by Kindly asking them to stop

If nothing else works, ask them to stop. There are ways to do this that are kind and will not leave the other person feeling embarrassed. 

Below are a few examples of how to achieve this.

  • Hey, I am trying to work on myself, and gossiping is one of the things I would like to cut back on. Can we talk about something else?
  • I understand your concern, but I am trying to cut back on gossiping. Want to talk about something else?
  • I like this person and don’t want to speak poorly of them. Let’s talk about something else.

These are just a few ways to ask someone to stop gossiping about another co-worker. 

Doing this may likely cause the person not to gossip with you in the future.

6. Direct them to the Person of Issue

If someone is gossiping about another individual at work, kindly redirect them to that individual. 

Say, “I don’t think I can help with this problem. Possibly talk with [person of issue]. Hopefully, you can get this resolved”.

Directing them to the source of the problem will get you off the hook of having to listen to their concerns or complaints. 

Hopefully, it will solve the issue they are having with the other person.

7. Be Positive

Being around someone who constantly complains may do more harm for you than for them.

When a co-worker begins to complain, they may seek validation. 

By validating their feelings, you are entertaining their negative thoughts, which puts those thoughts into your head. 

If they continuously come to you to validate their complaints or gossip, then the negative thoughts will keep growing in your mind. 

In time, constant exposure to complaining, ill speaking of others, or negativity can hinder your ability to stay positive in your working atmosphere. 

Furthermore, being around constant gossip and complaining can turn a job you love into a job you hate through a change of your attitude. 

Being positive to someone who complains about gossip allows you to dismiss their complaints without enabling further thought. 

Therefore, dismissing them allows you not to entertain negative thoughts. Therefore, you are gatekeeping negative thoughts from entering your headspace. 

Removing gossip or complaints allows a more positive working environment. 

8. Offer a Solution

If a co-worker is coming to you and genuinely seeking help from another co-worker, then tread carefully. 

The last thing you want is to be between two co-workers’ office drama, especially if it may hurt your job. 

However, if in the position to offer a solution to resolve the problem. 

Doing so benefits all party members without causing an issue within your place in the company you work at -then, it may be a good idea if offering a solution can dissolve the problem. 

9. Report It

If nothing else works to stop gossip in the workplace then report it to HR

Suppose a co-worker gossiping is causing an issue at work, and you have tried everything to get it to stop. 

If nothing else has worked to stop gossip in the workplace, then the last stop is to report it to management or Human Resources.

Workplace gossip can impact your morale, attitude, and relationship with others at work. 

Therefore, if gossiping is affecting your mental well-being or position at work, then reporting it is likely the best solution.

Amora V Lifestyle features a full list of how to stop gossip in the workplace.

Benefits of Workplace Gossip

Gossip in the workplace may allow the ability to pass along valuable tidbits and information needed to feel comfortable or get the job done. 

For example, Sally has been working hard on a presentation for a client that just went with another company. 

A co-worker notifies her of the rumor so she can ask her boss if she should continue with the project.

Another benefit of workplace gossip is the ability to allow individuals to create a bond with one another. 

Although gossiping has a few benefits, it has even more downfalls in the workplace.

Why is Gossip in the Workplace is Toxic?

Workplace gossip is toxic because it can spread false information that may cause anxiety among co-workers. 

Thus, resulting in a loss of motivation or even high turnover. 

Especially when something sensitive is already happening, such as a company-wide buyout or an internal scandal. 

The last thing needed is false information spreading that adds more worry, doubt, and fear to co-workers.

Another reason workplace gossip is toxic is it can jeopardize someone’s reputation within the workforce. 

Speaking poorly about someone’s performance, work ethic, or inability to do their job correctly is very serious. 

Doing this can damage their reputation and even cost them their job—[Read also: What to do if You Find Out Someone is Gossiping About You].

Why do Co-Workers Gossip?

There are several different reasons co-workers may gossip around the office. 

Below are a few more common reasons co-workers speak badly about others and the company itself.

  • Wanting to connect with you on a more personal level.
  • Struggle with insecurities and gossiping about others makes them feel comfortable
  • Dislike the other person
  • Intimidated or feels threatened with their position by the other person
  • Doesn’t realize how gossiping is harming themselves and those around
  • Jealousy

These are just a few of the many different reasons why someone gossips. 

Finding a reason behind why the co-worker is doing this may help put an end to it. It also may make finding the best approach to end gossiping easier.

How Does Workplace Gossip Make You Look Bad?

Workplace Gossip looks terrible for those spreading the information and those partaking in the gossip. 

Those who gossip within the workplace may not seem trustworthy. 

Furthermore, spreading falsified, hypothetical facts or smearing someone’s reputation can seem immature and petty. Moreover, it does not scream top management material.

Therefore it is wise to pass on office gossip, especially if you want to enhance your career within the workplace.

If you are currently struggling with a co-worker gossiping, we have the tips and tricks below to help you stop gossip in the workplace. 

Full List of How to Stop a Co-Worker from Gossiping and Stop Gossip in the Workplace

  1. Tell Them ‘I’m Busy’
  2. Kindly Disagree
  3. Brush it Off
  4. Change Conversation Topics
  5. Kindly Ask Them to Stop
  6. Direct them to the Person of Issue
  7. Be Positive
  8. Offer a Solution
  9. Report It

In conclusion, talking behind someone’s back in the workplace is a widespread practice that can cause much harm. 

Below are a few examples of how gossip can cause issues within the workplace: 

  • Negatively impact the work environment
  • Causing harm to an individual’s reputation 
  • Raising concerns about the company leading to increased employee turnover 

Therefore, making it crucial to put an end to gossip in the workplace.

There are several reasons why co-workers gossip, including wanting to connect with others on a personal level, feeling insecure, or being jealous.

If you’re dealing with gossip in the workplace, there are several approaches you can take. Below is a recap of the different ways to handle gossip in the workplace: 

  • Try responding with kindness when someone tries to spread rumors
  • Let them know you’re busy and not interested in discussing it
  • Change the subject or politely ask them to stop
  • If you know where the gossip is coming from, you could also direct the person to that source
  • Staying positive and offering a solution can help diffuse the situation

Although workplace gossip may have some benefits, it is toxic overall as it can spread false information, cause anxiety, and jeopardize someone’s reputation. 

Therefore, it is imperative to stop workplace gossip.

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Sara Elizabeth

About Author, Sara Elizabeth
Writer, Amora V Lifestyle
Co-Owner of Elizabeth Besich Boutique

Sara is a writer for Amora V Lifestyle and is Co-Owner of Elizabeth Besich. Sara previously worked as a Marketing Manager and has her Master’s from Lindenwood University.

Sara studies everything of interest, from psychology, recipes, finances, mental health, and travel, thriving to find happiness and to live a good life.

When not learning, Sara loves all things outdoors, food, and hanging around great company. Furthermore, Sara loves spending time with family, who she is blessed to have in her life.

Note from the author: Through my articles, I hope to bring you joy and peace and that you enjoy it!

Disclaimer: I am not a professional relationship counselor, and my advice should not be considered as a substitute for professional help. It is important to communicate openly and honestly with your partner, friend or co-worker and seek guidance from a qualified professional if needed. Remember, every relationship is unique and requires individual attention and care. Any reviews or comments written are the subjective opinion of an Amora V Lifestyle member and not Amora V Lifestyle. Amora V Lifestyle performs occasional checks on commentary left by users. It’s worth mentioning that we may also use comments in our articles. By posting a comment, you are giving us permission to use it in our content. Please check out Privacy Policy and Terms of Use for full disclosure. Sources: https://www.thehumancapitalhub.com/articles/workplace-gossip-everything-you-need-to-know


1 comment

  1. Sara Beil 4 May, 2023 at 17:50 Reply

    Hello, thank you everyone for taking the time out of your day to read our article. I hope you find the information useful. I can go ahead and kick off the blog section by sharing the the craziest thing that has ever happened to me at work.

    Probably, the craziest thing that has ever happened to me at a place of employment was seeing half the company walk out to then start their own business. It was pretty wild to see and they are still in business and thriving.

    Let us know in the comment section below the craziest thing you have ever experienced within the workplace.

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