Is there a nasty gossip hanging about the water cooler at your office? While it is usually better to ignore and not validate people talking behind your back, there are times at work that a professional response is required to address the situation.

Here are five ways to tackle it:

Stay calm and collected

“Everyone is entitled to an opinion, doesn’t make them right,” is a line you can try if you’d like to stand up for yourself without rocking the boat too much.

Go for unphased with a dash of “saucy”

Lead with, “It’s not that surprising people are talking about me, I am up to some BIG stuff!”

Want to make it an open discussion?

Invite the person in. “If you have the courage, feel free to tell me what you think directly and we can talk about it.”

Be bold and accepting.

“That’s fine, I talk about people too, that’s life and we are all humans.”

Up for taking the high road?

Look beyond the talk to what is really going on. “I take responsibility for the part I have played to have this relationship be lacking in trust and support,” you might say. A good place to start setting things right.

No matter what your response, or even if you choose to say nothing, it’s important to recognize that you always have a choice in the matter.


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