Gossiping At Work Can Hold You Back. Here's How To Avoid It

While gossiping at work may seem like a fun and harmless pastime with your coworkers, it can actually lead to some sticky situations. Often, the workplace can feel like an adult high school where some people are more popular than others and the group of friends you've made simply enjoy discussing the drama in the break room every day. In the midst of workplace politics, it can be easy to have an opinion and want to share that with others, especially when it makes you feel like you're finally a part of something. However, the gossiping group is not always forgiving and it could only be a matter of time before your name gets thrown into the mix.

While the term gossip has a negative connotation, researchers tend to view it more broadly, without attaching judgment to the word. According to UC Riverside News, if you are discussing details about someone who isn't there, even a celebrity, that's gossip. Psychology professor Megan Robbins notes that within this framework, it would be difficult to find someone who doesn't gossip because it's such a natural part of our conversations.

Unfortunately, with discussions at work, the content can quickly stray from neutral to negative, and knowing how to avoid this type of conversation can benefit you personally and professionally.

Gossip is learned

It can take a lot of mental clarity to identify when gossip is occurring and have the fortitude to put a stop to it. This is likely because it requires empathy to understand how the person being talked about would feel if they could hear everything. Life Hacker explains that gossiping is inevitably harmful to relationships because it speaks to the character of the gossiper. If word got back to the person being talked about, there would likely be little trust left. At the same time, those who are gossiping with you may start to wonder what you say about them when they're not around.

Gossip can be addicting and you may even find yourself dreaming about work when you're laying in bed because you can't wait to tell your coworker the latest tea. If it seems like gossiping is an impossible habit to break, there might be some good reasons to explain why. According to Forbes, most workplace chatter involves gossip because humans have a deep desire to know about the lives of others and develop relationships. However, while gossip can be a way of connecting with those in your professional life, and scratching that itch of curiosity, it also has the ability to create a stressful work environment because certain coworkers are always being ostracized.

In order to keep the workplace healthy, and avoid certain coworkers building resentment, actively choosing each day to change the subject or refrain from contributing to the gossip yourself can help you set a different tone for everyone.

Be the best version of yourself

Choosing to set healthy boundaries with your work life and home life can also help to establish that professionalism. While it's natural to crave that intimate connection that comes when we bond over information or allow conversations to connect us, gossip is a game that no one wins. It can be easy to get swept up in the excitement of it all, but choosing to remain level-headed at work will do wonders for your mental health.

Many of us have goals of being the best versions of ourselves at work, and gossiping can lead us to become the exact opposite. Therefore, setting the right intentions or listening to a motivational podcast as you drive to work each day can make a big difference. Time discussed how we all crave acceptance in social circles and we want others to like us. This may cause some to go along with conversations that don't sit right with them. It can be hard to go against the crowd at first, but the stronger you become in who you are, the easier it will be.

Avoiding gossip can also be simpler when you realize what you're actually craving. Human connection, telling stories, seeking advice, and bonding with coworkers on an interpersonal level are all relationship goals you can try to build. Establishing that trust with your coworkers can improve your entire workplace experience.