Dear Advised: I don’t know if it’s due to the holidays and the year is coming to an end, but the gossip in my office is driving me nuts! I don’t know how to handle the office politics anymore? It’s really getting my spirits down. I think people are acting nuts because bonuses will be handed out soon and there is so much gossip about people, positions, and promotions. How do I handle this negativity? Thanks, Melissa
Dear Melissa: Your year-end observations are correct. The idea of a co-worker getting a bigger bonus or winning the promotion can bring out the worst in people. Gossip begins out of insecurities, doubts, and stress which can become a pervasive issue quickly.
How I see it, you have three ways to handle office gossip. One, don’t engage, focus on your work, be good to others, and don’t be part of the gossip ‘pack’. Two, if you find yourself at the water cooler, grabbing coffee, or sitting at a table where gossip begins, simply excuse yourself. Three, use positive talk. If something negative is said about someone else, reply with a positive response. They’ll get confused and stop gossiping to you!
Melissa, when you know who gossips in an office, you quickly learn who you can trust, and who you can’t. Good luck and I hope these tips help you navigate the office gossip a bit easier.