ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Dealing With Workplace Gossip

Updated on December 11, 2010
Workplace gossip is as old as the workplace
Workplace gossip is as old as the workplace

I was strolling down the hall one day when I overheard someone say “Well, you know people are going to talk”. Having no idea what or whom this conversation concerned, I kept walking. But, I was curious. What are people going to talk about? Someone has done something. Worth talking about. And I have no idea who or what. I felt only slightly guilty for waiting to know the particulars. I strained to hear more, but the voices dropped off to a level best suited for such tawdry blather.

Workplace gossip is as old as the workplace, and it will never go away. It’s human nature to engage in gossip, and the workplace just seems to be such a fertile incubator for it, especially considering the many dynamics and power struggles perpetually at play. So I’ve come up with few rules regarding workplace gossip which I’ll share here:

Don’t ever gossip at work

I know, it sounds like a contradiction, doesn’t it? But, it isn’t. Don’t ever initiate or propagate gossip. It’s fine to listen to gossip, as long as you-

Play dumb

Whenever someone walks up and asks if you’ve heard “the latest”, always say no, then act very interested. For two reasons: One, you don’t want people to think you engage in gossip. And, two, if people think you’ve already heard “the latest”, they’ll be more interested in knowing what you’ve heard. This way, you get the complete spiel.

Compare the versions

As sad as it sounds to come right out and say, about 90% of all the workplace gossip I’ve ever heard turned out to be basically true. The details are typically where people tend to elaborate and speculate. If you hear multiple versions of the same scuttlebutt you can typically, through the process of elimination, hone in on the facts.

Gossip is still bad

Yes it is. There are many things that go on in the typical workplace that are bad, and you aren’t going to stop those things from happening either. By listening sympathetically, but refusing to spread gossip, you’ll earn the reputation of someone who can be trusted to not skewer a co-worker behind their back, but not coming off as someone who’s “too good” to enjoy a juicy tidbit on occasion.

What’s the point?

Workplace gossip isn’t always tearing someone down that’s not around to defend themselves. If there are rumors floating around about impending layoffs, or a merger, for example, then the more advance notice you have the better. Companies will sometimes intentionally plant and spread rumors as a kind of trial balloon to gauge employee reaction. Just remember to take everything you hear with a grain of salt unless and until there’s proof.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)