Coworker Won't Stop Gossiping? Here's How to Handle It

Coworker Won't Stop Gossiping? Here's How to Handle It

The first step is also the most obvious.

By Marianne Garvey

We all have a coworker who needs to sip some shut up juice once in a while. Gossiping about, criticizing coworkers, or lying is his or her favorite hobby.

What can you do if you’re not that emotionally attached to work, don’t care about your coworkers' personal lives, and are just trying to do your job so you can get home and do whatever it is you like to do ... like drink wine on the couch and watch Vanderpump Rules with your cat.

Workplace expert Alison Green, who blogs all things work related on Ask A Manager, asks, simply, have you tried asking him/her to stop?

“Apologies if that’s obvious…” she says. “So often, though, people in this type of situation don’t say anything directly to the person who’s causing the issue. To some extent, that’s understandable — you have to work with her so you don’t want to cause tension, and she’s shown herself willing to trash-talk people so you probably don’t want to inflame her.

“But she is causing tension already by what she’s doing. And she’s already trash-talking you, so even if she ups the quantity of it, will it really matter? Presumably the people she’ll complain to can see just as clearly as you do that she’s not particular credible when it comes to her long list of grievances.”

Green says to try the following:

“Jane, can you keep it down over there? I’m having trouble focusing.”

“I think you must not realize that I can hear you.”

“I had no idea you felt that way. You should talk to me directly about it.”

“Wow, that’s really unkind.”

“I’ve always found him easy to work with.”

“I don’t want to talk about Fergus behind his back.”

“I’d rather not hear this; it sounds like Lucinda’s private information.”

“You seem really unhappy here.”

“I don’t know if you realize how often you complain about work, coworkers, and other people. It can be really tough to work around that.”

“Is everything okay? You seem really upset about work and other people.”

Or talk to your boss — fill him or her in on the daily rulings of your annoying neighbor.

“When you’re in a frustrating situation like this, it’s easy to feel helpless and/or let your irritation spiral to epic proportions,” Green says. “It’s useful to keep in mind that you have options.”

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