I remember back when I was working a 9-5 job and suddenly my co-workers started acting strange and weird. Weeks go by and I come to know that there was an unsettling rumor making the rounds about me. Suffice it to say that I was very upset, felt down and disheartened that someone could cook up such horrible tales about me. My sense of complete betrayal heightened as I realized the tale bearer was someone I somewhat had trusted. I really learned a valuable lesson from that episode. So I decided to share with you what to do to move past this terrible time and how to handle the rumor mongers.
Refuse to pay attention and ignore them. Remember people don’t like being ignored, so when a rumor monger seeks to hurt you and finds out it is unsuccessful, it will hurt them. It’s envy at your achievement that is the cause. Some people are just not worth the time and energy that would be used to kill the rumor. As long as you use the tool of ignoring both the person and the issue, that person will never get the satisfaction yearned for in the first place. Moreover, the truth always catches up with the lie, every damn freaking time.
Find out the origin of the rumor: Sometimes we hear about gossip from gossip and it might not be true, so avoid being angry at the wrong person. This is because there is a chance the person who you think started the gossip might not be involved. Maybe you shared private information with a close co-worker and you think she’s the source, be careful as it might not be. Many times words are misinterpreted and misquoted as a story spreads from mouth to mouth and each person puts a little spin on their tale. Be absolutely certain before accusing or confronting anyone; that is if you feel the need to.
Talk to the people who heard the rumor: There are rumors that cannot be ignored, tales that you cannot afford to let fester as it can affect your relationship with your boss, other co-workers or just basically tarnish your image in the workplace. In such a situation, investigate. Someone must have told you people are talking about you, start with that person. Ask where the person heard the story from and go to the next person and do the same. I know a lot of them will try stonewalling but try to keep your emotions in control and just find out what happened.
Don’t create a scene: When you finally find out where the story emanated, keep your anger in check. Do not make it a public debate or cause a scene about it. If possible confront the person in private, away from prying eyes and listening ears. This way there’s no way anybody there tries manipulation, then try and talk things out.
Be direct: When you find the source, say what you have to say and give the other person time to process everything you’ve said. Approach it lightly without an attitude. This is to avoid the other person getting all defensive and turning it into a fight thereby shutting out all chances of having a logical and peaceful conclusion.
Be confident: Be careful about your body language when confronting the person. Stay calm, do not be aggressive and don’t give in to your emotions of tearing the culprit a new one. Do not show the pain and distress the rumor has caused you thereby denying the tattle tales a sense of victory.
Be ready for denials: Have in mind that there will be denials at first and then let it go. But make it clear why it matters to you. Tell them about the rumor going around and that you found she is the instigator. Tell them that you care about your reputation and will not take kindly for people smearing it.
Give room for the other person’s defense: During the confrontation, ask questions. What you really want is to get into the heart of the matter and this can only happen if you let the other person talk and get it off their chest. No matter what is said, make sure you put it across how you feel stressing that if not stopped you might be forced to report to human resources in your organization or take legal action.
Re-evaluate the relationship, if there was any: A friend who spreads hurtful tales should be kept at a distance. Cut them off if you want to-you have the right to do so or drastically reduce your interactions with them. Learn from this and do not share secrets or important things with people anymore. Love them from a distance if it’s family or keep them at arm’s length if it’s co-workers.
Stay strong: When you feel like everyone is judging you or talking behind your back just stay strong and fight back because no one has lived your life. It’s always easy to see from afar and judge and talk and run mouths about someone but only the person who struggles every morning to get up from bed and live the life knows what it is like.
Most of all do not let them overwhelm you. If it is a rumor you want to confront, go ahead and do so. Remember, gossips are like bullies, they are cowards at heart, and so if you rather rise above it all, the better you’ll be in the end.
Ever had to deal with rumors and gossips at your workplace or where you live? What was your reaction and how did you move past it? As usual, leave meaningful comments and share the post as well.