HOW TO DEAL WITH PEOPLE TALKING BEHIND YOUR BACK w/ Alli Simpson



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How to Deal With People Talking About You Behind Your Back

Three Methods:

It feels pretty awful to have people talk about you behind your back. Since this kind of gossip may be subtle, it’s often hard to pinpoint the source. For this reason, you’ll probably make matters worse by trying to confront the people gossiping. The best course of action is to ignore them. You might also engage in positive activities to cope and try to change your perspective on gossiping.

Steps

Handling People Who Gossip

  1. Do nothing.Though you may be tempted to act out or confront the person, sometimes the best response is to ignore gossip. Just think: the person didn’t give you the consideration of saying what they said to your face. Don't give them the consideration of taking it any further. Stop the negativity train by completely ignoring it.
    • Many people gossip for attention or to get a reaction. If you ignore the gossipers, they may get bored and stop talking about you.
  2. Treat them with kindness.Another great response to gossipers is a pleasant attitude. They will be bewildered as to how you could treat them so kindly when they have spoken negatively about you. Plus, if you reinforce your upbeat attitude, you may make the person feel guilty for talking about you in the first place.
    • Pay the other person a genuine compliment, like, “Wow, you worked really hard on these flyers, Rose! The graphics look great.”
    • Try to sound genuine, especially when giving compliments. You don't want to come off as sarcastic or insincere, as this will only make things worse.
    • If you can't find something to compliment them on, try helping them instead. For example, you could open a door for them or help them carry something heavy.
  3. Set limits with gossipers.If you have to spend a lot of time with people who talk about you behind your back, keep them at arm’s length. Just because you have to be around them doesn’t mean you have to act like their best pal.
    • Be cordial, but refuse to get close to gossipers. Don’t tell them anything personal about you, which could later serve as ammo for even more gossip.
    • Chatting is not the only way gossipers can get personal information. If you suspect that they might gossip, don't give them your user name on social media.
  4. Verify the motives of the messenger.If a dear friend or acquaintance was the one who told you about the gossip, you may want to make sure this person has your best interests in mind. Most good friends would rather not spread any negative information about you that may hurt your feelings. If this person is involved in the rumors, try to find out why they felt the need to come and tell you, and how they reacted to the rumors.
    • You might ask questions like, "How did you know this was going around?" or "What did you say when they were spreading that rumor?" You may even simply ask, "Why are you telling me this?" to better understand their motives.
    • You don’t necessarily have to end your relationship with the messenger. But, it may be wise to watch this person more closely. They may not be as innocent as they try to appear to be. They could be fueling the gossip rather than trying to stop it.
    • Let the messenger know that if someone has a problem with you or something you did, you’d rather them tell you about it directly than spread gossip. Say something like, “Next time you hear Aunt Margaret gossiping about me, please ask her to talk to me directly.”
  5. Don’t engage in gossip.If you are being talked about, then you know how terrible it feels. However, you aren’t helping matters if you are guilty of gossiping, too. Some people just like to discuss others’ business, but they can’t do that if they don’t have an audience.
    • The next time someone tries to gossip to you, say, “You know, this is starting to feel like gossip. I’d rather not talk about her if she’s not here to defend herself.”
    • If you gossip about other people, then people will find it more difficult to take you seriously when you ask them to stop gossiping about you.
  6. Talk to someone in authority.If malicious gossip is interfering with your performance at work or school, you may need to take the problem to a higher-up. A teacher, principal, or supervisor may be able to put a stop to the problem.
    • You might say, “I’m having trouble with another student/coworker. I think this person is spreading rumors about me and it’s really affecting my ability to focus at school/work. Can you talk to them?”
    • The student or employee in question may have a reputation for gossiping or bullying, so your superior may want to take disciplinary action.

Coping with Being Talked About

  1. Distract yourself.It can be hard to stay focused on your schoolwork or job when people are talking about you behind your back. Instead of giving your attention to the negativity, pour your energy into positive activities to distract yourself.
    • You might reorganize your desk, go for a walk around the block, go chat up a friend, or set a personal deadline to finish a project.
  2. Spend time with positive people.When people are talking about you, it’s easy to feel isolated. Combat this feeling by making an extra effort to be with people who cherish you. These people can boost your mood, improve your self-confidence, and even make you forget negative gossip or rumors.
    • Call up your best friend and ask them to hang out. You might also spend more time with your partner or family.
  3. Remind yourself how great you are.Being talked about behind your back can make you question your strengths and abilities. Don’t fall prey to self-criticism. Instead, try to remember your value as a person by purposefully thinking about what makes you great. Sit down and make a list.
    • Include all your positive traits, things you like about yourself and features others admire about you. You might list things like, “great listener,” “good shoulder to lean on,” or “creative.”
    • Try to give yourself at least one compliment each day. It can even be something small, like the pretty color of your eyes!
  4. Do something nice for yourself.Positive actions bring about positive thoughts and feelings. When you’re getting down on yourself due to gossip, treat yourself as kindly as you would a friend. Try to schedule a little time to be nice to yourself every day. For example:
    • Walk your dog or play with your cat.
    • Listen to your favorite music or sing in the shower.
    • Write or draw something.
    • Consider giving yourself a bigger treat one per week, such as a manicure, going to the mall or movies, or eating your favorite ice cream.

Reframing Gossip

  1. Don’t take it personally.You can deal with people talking about you behind your back by remembering that their words are a reflection of them, not you. You can’t choose what others say about you, but you can choose how you react to it. Write off gossiping as something the other person needed to do for themselves. Refuse to be a victim of someone else’s issues.
    • For example, recognize that a person who gossips may be doing so because they feel insecure and are trying to make themselves look better by putting others down.
  2. Realize they may be jealous.It may not feel like it when people are talking negatively about you, but this often happens because there’s something about you that intimidates them. The person may be envious of your looks, abilities, or popularity. Their nasty words may simply be a way to hurt you.
    • If someone is jealous of you, try to be nice to them. This will give them less gossip fuel.
  3. Recognize poor self-esteem.Another common denominator about those who gossip is low self-esteem. People who talk badly about you may do that to make themselves feel better. The person talking about you may regularly feel negatively about themselves or lack self-respect. As a result, they talk negatively about others, too.
    • That’s why treating a gossip kindly or complimenting them may end the negative comments. These people may simply want some positive attention because they feel bad deep inside.

Community Q&A

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  • Question
    What if the gossip is coming from your immediate supervisor?

    Licensed Professional Counselor
    Trudi Griffin is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Wisoncsin. She received her M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marquette University in 2011.
    Licensed Professional Counselor
    Expert Answer
    Ask a colleague to act as a witness to the conversation and ask your supervisor to stop. If they do not stop, ask to speak to their boss or to human resources.
    Thanks!
  • Question
    What if I hear my parents talking about me behind my back, either to other adults or with each other?

    Licensed Professional Counselor
    Trudi Griffin is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Wisoncsin. She received her M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marquette University in 2011.
    Licensed Professional Counselor
    Expert Answer
    Thanks!
  • Question
    Is your friend a real friend if she gossips about you?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    You may have to decide if you want to continue the friendship. Good friends don't spread negative information about one another.
    Thanks!
  • Question
    What if that person is one of your only friends?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If a friend is spreading rumors, you might choose to openly confront them. Ask why they would say these things about you. You may have to get some distance from this person or cut them out of your life completely.
    Thanks!
  • Question
    What if everyone believe them and no one would ask me the truth?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Don't waste your time on anyone who would believe negative things about you. Just keep being yourself. People will eventually see through the lies.
    Thanks!
  • Question
    What if people are talking bad about a friend?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    You might say, "Hey, it's rude to talk about someone behind their back. If you want to say something to her, say it to her face." This should stop them.
    Thanks!
  • Question
    What if the gossiper rumor is being heard by your boss what can you do?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    You might try to head off the problem by asking your boss to have a meeting. Tell them what's going on and tell them how you have tried to stop it. Doing this may help them see you as more professional.
    Thanks!
  • Question
    Guys around school are saying that they have slept with me and I am a virgin what should I do?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    The best way to handle this is to not react at all. They may have started the rumor to get a reaction out of you, so just keep being your normal self. The people who believe these ugly rumors aren't your friends.
    Thanks!
  • Question
    What do you do if someone says something bad about you and you don't know who said it?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Just ignore it. In the end, you can't really control what people say about you. You can only control your reaction. Just keep being yourself and avoid those people.
    Thanks!
  • Question
    How to deal with stress?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Do things you enjoy, like reading, taking a bath, exercising or talking to a close friend.
    Thanks!
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Quick Summary

If people are talking about you behind your back, try your best to ignore them since they're probably just bored or looking for attention. To distract yourself from the negativity, do things that you enjoy, like spending time outside, playing video games, or reading a good book. Also, try to surround yourself with positive people that make you feel good about yourself, which will help you forget about the gossip and rumors. Remember that at the end of the day, the things people say about you behind your back are a reflection of them, not you!

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Expert Review By:
Licensed Professional Counselor

of How to Deal With People Talking About You Behind Your Back was reviewed by on July 27, 2019.

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Updated:
Views: 720,978
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100% of people told us that this article helped them.

Dec 19, 2019

"Every year my school holds a cross country tournament. This year I came 2nd. The girl in 1st gossiped about how Iwas rubbish at running compare to her. The girl in 3rd told everyone I pushed her over so I could win. I told them that I was pleased with my race. I even said "well done" to them, and now they respect me. "

T. Ntuli

Jul 18

"It helps me to focus in my life issue more than the rumors. It teachers you how to be strong and fight for yourlife in a good way and to treat everyone in a good way so that you can be happy in life. Don't mind people, they always talk."

Gia Rad

May 27

"Remember me and what a good person I am, and keep moving forward."

Amir Faiz

May 25

"Thanks. I'll deal with my friends, they are so dead for this."

Ally Law

Feb 7, 2019

"I am being gossiped about at school because I said happy birthday to a guy that I used to like, and the people thatare gossiping about me are saying that I still like him, and my friend told me that him and his friends were making fun of me because she was listening to the conversation but wasn't really talking in it. After I read this 'how to deal with people talking behind your back' article, I felt more secure about myself and I knew how to be more relaxed."

Ava Bengi

Nov 29, 2019

"This helped me because there is a girl at school who loves to talk about me and my friends to her friends. She hasbeen doing this for so long and I'm sick of it. After this article, I now know what to say to her or ask her when she talks about me or one of my friends. Thank you so much."
Rated this article:

H. S.

Oct 30, 2019

"People tend to spread rumors because they are jealous. It's important to look after yourself and happily go aboutyour business as normal. Nothing will annoy the gossips more than seeing you looking happy and being unaffected by their lies."

Tiffiany Ellis

Sep 21, 2019

"I coach JV volleyball. Therefore, a lot of my girls do not know how to stop, prevent, and/or cope with gossip. Wewent through all of this and the very first practice afterward, they played like a completely different team."

Shivani J.

Aug 26, 2019

"This article really helped me and I'm feeling much better after reading it. It is very difficult for us to heargossip about us, it starts to destroy your morale and self confidence, but after reading this I feel positive."

Yusra Muhumed

May 16, 2019

"Everything in this article helped me so much, thank you for letting me know what was the right thing to do. Thankyou for everything. I love your website, it's really entertaining. Keep up the good work!"

Mia Gangi

Sep 15, 2019

"This article helped me because some of my friends talked behind my back and now I just want to punch a wall. Butnow that I found this article I think it helped me a lot. Now I can ignore it."
Rated this article:

Paityn Fleming

Sep 13, 2019

"This article was very helpful because I have a friend who has been taking about me behind my back, and I now knowhow to deal with it. Thank you very much wikiHow."

Angel Lexley

Oct 12, 2019

"I am so insecure and get hurt easily, so this advice helped me tell the difference between a true friend and makingexcuses for a friend who's really a friend."

Anonymous

Jun 22, 2019

"Something that really helped me is the part about ignoring it like it was water flowing over a ducks back. I didthat and I'm fine now."

Karrie Ceja

Oct 12, 2019

"People keep talking bad about someone I take care of, and was trying to help her see better ways of handling thesesituations."

Lynne OG

Aug 8, 2019

"Just read it out to my colleague who is trying to get over a friend's betrayal. She feels better and is willing tomove on. "

Carol Pare

Aug 30, 2019

"I feel really blessed when I read this article. There are some people around me that always have a topic to put medown."

Emily Macdonald

Sep 25, 2019

"To sit back and relax helped the most. Clear the person out of your head, and it's just you that's your focus."

Sue Niven

Jul 24, 2019

"On how to ignore their weakness helped because they are no better than me. I am on a level now to ignore them."

Anonymous

Jan 16, 2019

"My best friend is also my boss. We have been friends 28 years, she is now telling people whatever I tell her."

Manasa Devi

Oct 14, 2019

"It really helped me in a lot many ways. I feel better and I think I can handle the situation right now."
Rated this article:

Anonymous

Sep 27, 2019

"Learned to just live my life, those who know you and matter in your life will dismiss nonsense-talk."

Anonymous

Jan 9

"It encouraged me to tell a professor about people gossiping, I was really stressed and hurt."

Greta Flower

Jan 27, 2019

"Basically ignoring the gossiper and letting it run like water off your back. Good tip. "

Anonymous

Jul 5, 2019

"Reinforces that the most powerful thing to do can be nothing at all."

Najwa Hassawi

Jul 3, 2019

"It gives some good ideas on how to handle such kind of persons.





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Date: 08.12.2018, 21:45 / Views: 45452