Author Topic: S/O Career Sins - Gossip  (Read 5022 times)

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WestAussieGirl

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S/O Career Sins - Gossip
« on: January 23, 2013, 07:34:43 PM »
Reading the career sins thread had me thinking about a situation at my office.  One of the married women in my office was very chummy with her (also married) supervisor.  Coffee together, lunches, always hanging around each others desks etc.  Gossip about them having an affair started pretty quickly.  When people said it to me I just said that I didn't think it was true and didn't pass it on to anyone else.

Eventually it got back to the pair in question and he became completely enraged about people gossiping about them.  He went around to various people demanding to know who was saying these things.  He was up in people's faces screaming and shaking with rage.

I used to be quite friendly with the guy but because of his reaction to the gossip I now give him a very wide berth. 

Obviously he handled it badly but it got me thinking, what is the best way to handle gossip about you, (especially when it's true but you don't want to tell anyone)?

LeveeWoman

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Re: S/O Career Sins - Gossip
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2013, 08:04:45 PM »
Reading the career sins thread had me thinking about a situation at my office.  One of the married women in my office was very chummy with her (also married) supervisor.  Coffee together, lunches, always hanging around each others desks etc.  Gossip about them having an affair started pretty quickly.  When people said it to me I just said that I didn't think it was true and didn't pass it on to anyone else.

Eventually it got back to the pair in question and he became completely enraged about people gossiping about them.  He went around to various people demanding to know who was saying these things.  He was up in people's faces screaming and shaking with rage.

I used to be quite friendly with the guy but because of his reaction to the gossip I now give him a very wide berth. 

Obviously he handled it badly but it got me thinking, what is the best way to handle gossip about you, (especially when it's true but you don't want to tell anyone)?

I would recommend not doing whatever it is that produces the gossip, especially for these two twits.

LifeOnPluto

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Re: S/O Career Sins - Gossip
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2013, 09:38:08 PM »
Reading the career sins thread had me thinking about a situation at my office.  One of the married women in my office was very chummy with her (also married) supervisor.  Coffee together, lunches, always hanging around each others desks etc.  Gossip about them having an affair started pretty quickly.  When people said it to me I just said that I didn't think it was true and didn't pass it on to anyone else.

Eventually it got back to the pair in question and he became completely enraged about people gossiping about them.  He went around to various people demanding to know who was saying these things.  He was up in people's faces screaming and shaking with rage.

I used to be quite friendly with the guy but because of his reaction to the gossip I now give him a very wide berth. 

Obviously he handled it badly but it got me thinking, what is the best way to handle gossip about you, (especially when it's true but you don't want to tell anyone)?

I would recommend not doing whatever it is that produces the gossip, especially for these two twits.

I don't think they have to stop being friends. But the way this guy handled it was rude and silly. Really, he should have just laughed it off. By overreacting like that, it just gives more credence to the idea that he was actually having an affair!

misha412

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Re: S/O Career Sins - Gossip
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2013, 09:59:15 PM »
Gossip is a part of many social structures, work-related or not. Unfortunately, gossip can ruin careers and leave bad feelings where there shouldn't be any.

The best way to prevent gossip is to not give anyone fodder for the gossip mill in the first place.

If gossip starts, there is not much to do about it except ignore it, avoid situations that will fuel it, and let it die a natural death. Trying to tell everyone that it is not true will only make the gossip mill stay active, talking about the original tale and adding the details of the response. The guy's response shows the exact opposite way of handling the situation.

The two people in the original post gave the gossip mill plenty of fodder with their close, open friendship. While I hope men and women can be friends, there are certain expectations of married individuals interacting with others who are not his or her spouse. Having an overtly chummy relationship with someone of the opposite sex is not normal for a married person.


WestAussieGirl

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Re: S/O Career Sins - Gossip
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2013, 10:14:09 PM »
Sorry, re-reading my post I realised I forgot to add that the gossip was actually true.

gen xer

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Re: S/O Career Sins - Gossip
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2013, 10:22:50 PM »
Reading the career sins thread had me thinking about a situation at my office.  One of the married women in my office was very chummy with her (also married) supervisor.  Coffee together, lunches, always hanging around each others desks etc.  Gossip about them having an affair started pretty quickly.  When people said it to me I just said that I didn't think it was true and didn't pass it on to anyone else.

Eventually it got back to the pair in question and he became completely enraged about people gossiping about them.  He went around to various people demanding to know who was saying these things.  He was up in people's faces screaming and shaking with rage.

I used to be quite friendly with the guy but because of his reaction to the gossip I now give him a very wide berth. 

Obviously he handled it badly but it got me thinking, what is the best way to handle gossip about you, (especially when it's true but you don't want to tell anyone)?

I would recommend not doing whatever it is that produces the gossip, especially for these two twits.

I don't think they have to stop being friends. But the way this guy handled it was rude and silly. Really, he should have just laughed it off. By overreacting like that, it just gives more credence to the idea that he was actually having an affair!

Exactly.  He just drew even more attention to it and gave them more grist for the mill.   

I hate gossip like that with a passion.   Even if you caught someone in flagrante it would still not be your place to spread it around.  To what end?  It serves nobody except to create a toxic work atmosphere and a potentially bad situation for the people involved.

All you can do is ignore it and give it no due...and don't go explaining or oversharing like Misha said.  That being said - other people's lives are their own business.  You may not like it or agree with it but stay out of it.  Whatever you might think of adultery or other bad habits....gossip is NO better.  It can ruin lives just as much.

I say this from personal experience. I was "ratted out" by busybody coworkers of my first husband who saw me out to lunch with....wait for it....my brother.  However that is not the story that got back to my husband - all he heard was that I was out with another man.  He had a jealous nature and a violent temper.  That is the kind of thing that can go very bad....all because some jerk just had to open their trap.

RooRoo

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Re: S/O Career Sins - Gossip
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2013, 11:27:45 PM »
This is one of our fellow E-Hellions' sig lines, and it is very apt.

If wisdomís ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
~ Caroline Lake Ingalls

ETA: It's Winterlight who uses it as her sig line. Thanks, Winterlight!
« Last Edit: January 24, 2013, 02:03:25 AM by RooRoo »
"Someday we must write a book of Etiquette for sensible people," said Mrs. Morland, "though apart from a few rules it really boils down to an educated mind and a kind heart." ~ Angela Thirkell, Never Too Late

cicero

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Re: S/O Career Sins - Gossip
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2013, 02:49:33 AM »

Eventually it got back to the pair in question and he became completely enraged about people gossiping about them.  He went around to various people demanding to know who was saying these things.  He was up in people's faces screaming and shaking with rage.

I used to be quite friendly with the guy but because of his reaction to the gossip I now give him a very wide berth. 

Obviously he handled it badly but it got me thinking, what is the best way to handle gossip about you, (especially when it's true but you don't want to tell anyone)?
the best way? *not* like this.

the way he handled it would be the best way to keep the gossip fires going for a long, long time.

and depending on the particular work situation, sometimes you *do* find yourself having a friendly work relationship with people of the opposite s3x, including lunches, coffee, joking around. it doesn't automatically mean that an affair is going on. i work in a place where there are mostly men, and in fact for a long while i was the only female in this section. so yes, i'm friendly with "the guys", get along well with them, and sometimes do lunch or coffee. but it's all out in the open and there is never (and will never be) cause for gossip.


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Redsoil

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Re: S/O Career Sins - Gossip
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2013, 08:21:55 AM »
Gossip is a part of many social structures, work-related or not. Unfortunately, gossip can ruin careers and leave bad feelings where there shouldn't be any.

The best way to prevent gossip is to not give anyone fodder for the gossip mill in the first place.

If gossip starts, there is not much to do about it except ignore it, avoid situations that will fuel it, and let it die a natural death. Trying to tell everyone that it is not true will only make the gossip mill stay active, talking about the original tale and adding the details of the response. The guy's response shows the exact opposite way of handling the situation.

The two people in the original post gave the gossip mill plenty of fodder with their close, open friendship. While I hope men and women can be friends, there are certain expectations of married individuals interacting with others who are not his or her spouse. Having an overtly chummy relationship with someone of the opposite sex is not normal for a married person.



Not normal?  Hmmm.  I imagine there are differing standards and perceptions of this. 

I, for one, have lots of married male friends.  I've been known to go out with them without my husband (and they without their wives) on social evenings, bike rallies (overnight, camping) and various other events.  Can't see a problem with it myself.  I do tend to think it sad that some may jump to conclusions.  I also find it sad that some may see a perfectly good friendship, and close ties with opposite sex friends as "taboo".
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Winterlight

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Re: S/O Career Sins - Gossip
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2013, 10:02:03 AM »
I'd say there's a difference between social and professional. It sounds like they'd moved well beyond acceptable professional limits.

Thanks, RooRoo! *g*
If wisdomís ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
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oceanus

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Re: S/O Career Sins - Gossip
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2013, 10:44:43 AM »
Quote
I also find it sad that some may see a perfectly good friendship, and close ties with opposite sex friends as "taboo".

I agree, as do a lot of my married (male and female) friends.

It's downright pathetic that some people feel:  "Hmm.  Married person being friendly with single person = affair."  I guess they 'forget' that a lot of married people have affairs with other married people.  ::)

What "not normal" is frequently speculating about the sexual behavior of others.

MissManager

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Re: S/O Career Sins - Gossip
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2013, 02:31:48 PM »
As a boss I'd probably say, "You obviously need more work to do if you're paying that much attention to my comings and goings," in that half joking half serious tone... you know the one that says don't test me.

Veronica

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Re: S/O Career Sins - Gossip
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2013, 03:01:02 PM »
The best way to prevent gossip is to not give anyone fodder for the gossip mill in the first place.


So basically, blame the victim?

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Lynn2000

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Re: S/O Career Sins - Gossip
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2013, 03:25:01 PM »
Obviously he handled it badly but it got me thinking, what is the best way to handle gossip about you, (especially when it's true but you don't want to tell anyone)?

I think laughing or shrugging it off, minimizing the discussion about it that you participate in, and perhaps asking people you trust to do the same (minimize if anyone mentions it to them) are good ways. Any kind of "big" reaction--anger, shock, defensiveness, bitterness, trying to figure out the source, etc.--is just going to give the gossip weight. Even making a production about "setting the record straight" could draw more attention to the gossip. Unless you're officially asked about it by a supervisor-type, I think just letting it sputter away and die is the best option.

Kind of depends on the type of gossip, too. For example, if you're pregnant, and everyone's going to know it for sure in a month but you aren't ready for people to know yet, you probably don't want to go around flat-out denying it. Maybe a raised eyebrow along with, "Wow, the kind of things people think is appropriate to ask about these days..." while shaking your head.
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Moray

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Re: S/O Career Sins - Gossip
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2013, 03:40:54 PM »
The best way to prevent gossip is to not give anyone fodder for the gossip mill in the first place.


So basically, blame the victim?

I can't chat or be friendly with my male coworkers? I'm not talking flirting, or being inappropriate, just chatting and being friendly.

I ask, misha412, because I have worked in offices where the rumor mill was so idiotic that merely saying "Good morning" or "Hey, I really appreciate the work did on the Jones acct" or "How's your dog?" to a male coworker was totally proof we were getting it on. Going for coffee together? Forget it. You're just flaunting your illicit romance. How does one avoid the impression of impropriety in a situation like that? It was very odd, like the unwritten expectation was that you would *only* interact with people of your own gender; which is idiotic, and speaks to poor business sense.

The thing with rumor mills is that sometimes they're accurate (like in the OP), but more often than not they're the product of petty people with too much time on their hands and active imaginations.
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