How To Stop Engaging With Gossip
This is always a tricky one and if I’m honest I was better at this when I was younger than now, often not wanting to speak up for fear it might cause conflict. The truth is I think I’ve just lost sight of how important it is not to engage with gossip, even if I might do so in a passive way. I have to admit I’m disappointed in myself for doing so and I’ll be making a special effort to adopt the following strategies myself.
Change The Subject
This one might be obvious but in the heat of the moment it can feel quite difficult to do, especially when the conversation is in full swing. Try thinking of something fun or positive to talk about, like an upcoming event or even a holiday another might have planned.
Say Something Positive About The Person
This is often the best way to communicate that you are not comfortable with the direction of the conversation without having to say so directly – a good strategy to have in your bag! Think of something positive about the person in question and if you can’t, think about something compassionate you could say like ‘bless her, she might be going through a really tough time right now that we just don’t know about’.
Confront Gossip Politely But Assertively
This is of course the most courageous thing to do, though not everyone may feel able to act on this one, especially in larger groups. If you would like to know more about assertive communication please read my article titled ‘Assertiveness; A Journey Worth Taking’.
Point Out Missing Information
If you see that not everything is being taken into consideration or there is missing information in someone’s gossip, so long as you don’t reveal any secrets, point it out – it may just be the nudge they need to stop gossiping around you.
How To Protect Yourself Against Gossip