Ten Steps to Stop Gossip
How do you deal with a friend who gossips?
Answer by Tamra Coveau:
All people have a natural tendency to gossip, but it can become an unhealthy obsession and lead into some very hurtful and regretful outcomes. Gossip is a way to deflect attention onto other people's shortcomings and away from areas that we need to grow or change ourselves. It gives people a sense of control, power and superiority under a guise of innocent curiosity, morality or false concern. A gossip/gossiper/gossipmonger will talk about everyone behind their backs and no one is safe or off limits, so beware anything that you have confided to someone with loose lips.
You can be sure that they have or will talk about you as well.
Do not enter into gossip with someone, especially if it is malicious.
These ten tips will help you deal with gossips:
Avoid them. Sometimes, this is the most peaceful option.
Avoid subjects that they are likely to turn into gossip.
When they start gossiping you can call them on it without direct confrontation. You can tell them that what they are talking about sounds like a private matter and you want to respect that privacy in any case.
Resist the temptation to join in with the gossip even a little bit. Do not ask for more information on the subject.
Distinguish between "good" gossip and "bad." Good gossip is factual information that is not private or a secret and would not harm anyone. It can also be opinion and not factual, but again it would not be judgemental. People are allowed to have opinions and talk about them, but bad gossip is likely to be a put down.
Be prepared. Know that it is likely that you will have to be the one with good boundaries and set limits. The gossip may have a serious problem they are trying to avoid in his or her own life and they are addicted to the feeling of escape and superiority that gossiping gives them. Don't expect them to change.
Don't gossip about the gossip. Don't complain to others about this person or tell on your friend for telling on another friend. Gossip is called "dirt" for a reason. It leaves a telling mark on everyone that touches it, and it doesn't matter who started it.
Commit to staying positive. This will make you feel better and annoy the crap out of the gossipmonger. Eventually, the gossiper will turn to another source who will be willing to share in negative talk.
Ask yourself if there is another way to bond with this person other than gossiping. If the answer is no, then end the relationship. If the only value you have for the person is to gossip with, then you are being used. One cannot gossip alone. A gossiper needs people to gossip about and people to gossip with.
Live your life. Everyone can teach us something. Learn from this person how harmful being a gossip is and annoying. There are times we have all been guilty of gossip or something worse, so forgive and move on.