How To Gracefully Handle Gossip

One of the most difficult things in our 20s is gossip, rumors and general negativity.

This is a stage in our lives where the majority of people are trying to get ahead of one another to create their life paths. The load of gossip may be lighter than what it was in high school, but it is often still there.

I live in a small town, which naturally means everyone knows (or think they know) everyone’s business. While I often set straight what I can (about myself or other people), sometimes these sort of things can have a negative impact on ourselves and those around us.

SO – Instead of focusing on the problem (we all know what gossip or rumors can do), let’s look at some solutions. Here, I’ve put together some of my best advice for gracefully handling gossip or rumors about you, or someone you know.

1. Recognize who you can and can’t trust.
This is an obvious one – But one that a lot of us don’t listen to wholeheartedly. Thinking back, I can easily identify people who misused my trust – and I can also easily remember that I had reservations about them, but went ahead anyway.
Here comes my favorite word – INSTINCTS. It is so important to listen to them – they often warn us about things we subconsciously try to ignore. Recognizing who you can trust with your emotions is step number ONE.
Once you know who you can and can’t trust, you can actually turn to people who you know will not hurt you for support – they will be able to fight the gossip or rumors with you.

2. Set the record straight (and leave social media out of it!)
As easy as it is to get caught up in it all, this is the worst thing to do – it often fires up all parties involved. So, instead of becoming involved, go directly to the source and set the record straight. If someone says something to you about a friend that you know to be untrue, explain that what they are saying is not true, and could really hurt someone’s feelings.
If the rumor or gossip is about you, going directly to the source/s will also be beneficial, and as always – truth is the most important factor.
Another tip is to leave social media OUT of it. I know it’s temping to write a status about how “OmG PpL ArE SaYinG aLL Dis Stuff.. Itz NoT True.. LOLZ…” or have a fat rant about it, but really – and this involves point number 4 – rather keen your dignity and don’t give people a reason to talk even more. Set it straight directly with those involved or those spreading the gossip.

3. Fix It,  Squash it, or Ignore it
Following on from the above, truth is the number one aspect here. Did you do what is being said? No matter how embarrassing or frustrating it is, owning up to your mistakes will squash them much faster than if you continue to deny it. If your actions affected someone else, apologize to them, as the sooner they get through it, the sooner the rumors will become obsolete. Human nature – we won’t enjoy it if there is no drama surrounding it anymore.
If it is a small rumor that actually doesn’t affect you or anyone at all, the best solution can also be simply ignoring it. It will soon die down on it’s own.

4. Create or maintain a healthy self image
If there are rumors being spread about you, holding a negative self image will only add fuel to the fire. Whether they are true or not, maintain or create a positive and healthy self image. This will also help to make people think twice in the future as to whether you ‘did’ something or not, and help to prevent any further gossip.

5. Surround yourself with people that bring out the best in you
To prevent yourself getting caught up in the gossip, simply don’t hang out with people that avoid it too! Funnily enough, even if you don’t believe in Karma or universal language, I bet no one reading this can honestly say that they haven’t been negatively affected by even just hearing gossip they know to be untrue and doing nothing about it. Surrounding yourself with positive and uplifting energy, with people who talk about what they love instead of bashing what they hate is key to a drama free 20.

EVERYTHING negative that people do has more to do with THEM than it does with YOU. Hold your head high and fight the temptation to get involved. Your dignity and integrity will thank you for it.