“Train your colleagues to know that you won’t engage in drama,” Walk away from gossipy or negative conversations. Ask for facts and ignore rumors. Some people thrive on drama—it fills a need for attention or for feeling good about themselves at another’s expense. If you deprive them of that, they’ll stop looking to you to fill that need.
LIMIT THE TIME YOU SPEND WITH GOSSIPY COLLEAGUES
If one co-worker in particular consistently stirs up negativity or gossip, make a point of keeping your interactions to a minimum. “Don’t respond to emails that may be fraught with innuendo,” “Keep your conversations short and work-focused.”
GENTLY CALL OUT NEGATIVITY
“If someone’s being super-negative and it’s getting you and others down, give them gentle feedback,” like “Hey, I’ve noticed when we chat, our conversation is so focused on the negative. I don’t know about you, but I could use some positivity. What’s going well for you?” It suggests that you’re in this together, reminding your co-worker how important optimism is without actually placing blame on him or her.
MAKE IT ABOUT YOU
Rather than go on the offensive, tell your colleagues that you have a personal policy not to get mixed up in drama. A suggestion like, “I don’t really like to talk about stuff like that,” or “It’s none of my business.” Then, change the subject.
ASK FOR THE FACTS
When gossip comes up, put it in its place. Say, “Oh, wow, that doesn’t sound right. Is that a fact or did you just hear that from someone?” You’ll probably be the last person they want to share rumors with in the future. “It may not change their behavior,” I say, “but it will take all the fun out of sharing gossip with you.”