Gossip in the Workplace

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    Hi everyone,


    This is a huge and prevalent problem everywhere I have worked. When I first started with my current employer, the gossip and complaining started by other co-workers that invited me to lunch. They would just trash the office manager, and say that “this place is a dump!”, or “I dread coming to work everyday!”. These comments and conversations made me so nervous at the beginning as they were so bold in saying these comments to a new hire! I kept quiet and just wanted to leave the room most of the time. A particular group of women invited me to lunch for a while. This was great, but I really couldn’t bring myself to sit and talk with them as they were so negative. They talked about people who complained to our office manager about something I don’t remember. Sometimes I have gossiped myself just to fit in and i didn’t want to do that anymore. Mistake no.1

    I have recently stopped going to lunch with them entirely. Mistake number 2.

    Fast forward, I recently went on a 2 week vacation. Before I left, one of these clique members, who stopped talking to me, said “why do you get to go on a 2-week vacation?” For the first two days of my vacation, i felt guilty as i couldn’t get the comment out of my mind (and the way she said it). This made me very angry, both at myself and her. When I returned, I wasn’t being spoken to much by this woman. (She actually was supposed to cover for me but got one of her clique members to do tasks instead.) This woman from the beginning of my new job, sat and talked to me about her problems when i would come first thing in the morning for months! she would never ask about me or my life and that’s ok but now that I look back, she baited information out of me. out of weakness during a heavy conversation and where i truly felt she was suffering, I told her that I was bi-polar. Mistake no. 3.

    So all of this culminated in a talk with the office manager.  mistake no 4! I said to her that i felt that some of the team were upset that i took a 2 week vacation to which she was so surprised and didn’t believe that. She told me to name names and I told her that I couldn’t and didn’t feel comfortable divulging that information. She continued to list names and i didn’t answer until she mentioned the one name and i guess i must have hesitated because she said, “Yes, it’s her isn’t it? That makes sense now.” The conversation then turned to this person and my office manager said that there is a lot of history with her and her attitude at work. One person actually despises her and is the reason why she works on a different floor from her. I ended up feeling too comfortable with talking to my office manager and let my guard down. I told her I was bipolar. Mistake no 5. The conversation continued where she said she suffers from depression and that she is a (not a nice word) at times. She holds grudges for a long time and freezes people out. She told me a lot about her that I asked myself, “why are you telling me this?”. The way she spoke about her was negative and it led to me think afterwards, well then what would she say about me? I shot myself in the foot, I thought to myself. I was just so angry about the whole thing. This coworker was an emotional vampire and I listened to her for what seemed hours about her personal problems to the point I felt heavy and stressed, and actually felt dizzy on the road driving home.

    Now her and her clique are ignoring me and no good mornings or anything. They think i’m stupid and not competent and don’t want or even offer to help me when i’m overloaded at work. I have one coworker, also new, who i know she has warned her against me. It’s true what they say about if people can’t control you, then they try to control what others think about you. She’s winning i feel and i came home today saying i was sick, but i feel so bad about myself. i’ve made so many mistakes and need advice. I can’t stand myself at the moment, and maybe that’s karma. Maybe I deserve to be ostracized? I come in early and stay late almost everyday at work but don’t book my overtime. People say I’m making them look bad, but I feel that whatever i do just isn’t enough. Sorry for the ramble. Help.


    Yes, this is a normal thing in every company. You jusrt have to keep yourself on.





    Dear Lispol:

    Reads to me that you made mistakes in the workplace but so  did everyone else there, all your co workers, including the office manager. Everyone there has been talking too much, gossiping, sharing too much personal information- business as usual.

    If I magically appeared in your workplace tomorrow, as an employee, I will find myself- as you found  yourself- in an impossible situation: if I don’t gossip- I will be ostracized immediately, if I do gossip I will be ostracized a bit later. I don’t think anyone there (except maybe the top member of the clique) is safe for long from being talked about, and not in kind ways.

    You listed your mistakes. Every one of your co workers has their own list, and every list keeps growing, yet every person keeps getting a paycheck that keeps you all together.


    • This reply was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by anita.

    My mouth dropped open when I read your post Lispol. I learned and am learning about my role in gossiping at work. I made a HUGE mistake and shared with someone who said they would not say anything…. blah blah blah you know how it turned out. Since then I have been struggling with self-esteem and my need to “make things better.” ie- me feel more comfortable.

    I am claiming ownership of my deeds. Of course I want others to know they are accountable as well-but alas I am not in charge of their journey. Too bad- because I am running for General Manager of the Universe.

    My past mistakes (learning experiences) have taught me how not to handle things to “make things better”.  I have apologized-not sure if there was behavior change, I have made nice, I wanted people to be on “my side”, used manipulation etc. These things just allowed me to focus on “them” and not me.

    It is extremely painful to sit in an office where I feel shunned. That doesn’t mean they are shunning me. I am doing a lot of Self Forgiveness talk. Constantly. And it is still painful. I feel raw sometimes. Other times I feel in my power.

    I found a fantastic quote in the book Call to Courage. It starts-“Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong. You will always find it because you’ve made that your mission. Stop scouring people’s faces for evidence that you’re not enough, You will always find it because you’ve made that your goal.”  “Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation especially our own. No one belongs here more than you.” I love that last line!

    As I read over these words I am aware I am feeling vulnerable (my 1st post). Sending loving kindness to all who are in the exact same place as we are.

    Thank you Lisbol for your post. Gave me a lot to think about.

    Peace, Kathleen







    Thank you so much Kathleen. I will check out that book.


    Fast forward to today, I just found my job posted through job search websites. I don’t know what to do. Maybe it’s my job, maybe it’s someone else’s with the same title? I don’t know. I’m trying not to freak out, but I just received a notification from a job search website for my job after I emailed one of my partners about a mistake I made. I’ve been making many small mistakes and i emailed him apologizing for them. The posting said it was done a few hours after my email to my partners. I think he thinks i’m a looney and that he’s received bad feedback from others. i’m scared i’m going to lose my job now. My husband is going to be so disappointed. So will i. what do i do? Ask my office manager nonchalantly if we are hiring? It’s terrible not knowing whether you’re going to be fired and having your coworkers ignore you. i hate myself.


    Hi Lispol – I see this post is from last October!!  I will post my thoughts anyway.  How are things going for you?

    Please, first, relax.  Try turning off the negativity and turn toward something positive.  It sounds like a challenging task given your work environment.  Still, try saying something positive to yourself, because there is no doubt in my mind that you have done many things right and are not always making mistakes.

    You saw your job posted and you think you are going to get fired. You apologized to a partner about a mistake you made and now you think that he thinks you’re looney.  And now your thoughts are spiraling into a dark place of you losing your job.  Yet none of this has been backed up with any real, concrete evidence.  Did anyone say specifically to you, “Wow, you’re making a lot of mistakes, you are going to get fired?”

    And let’s say you do lose this job.  Would that be the worst thing?  You don’t sound very happy there anyway.  Although it may not happen the way you want it to, getting a different job may be the best thing that happens to you, given your toxic work environment.

    What I try to do when I’m looking at unknowns is to look at the facts in front of me.  Has anyone actually said you’re in danger of losing your job?    Has the partner said anything to you that would indicate he thinks you’re looney?  Your coworkers don’t talk to you, but consider that is because they know you don’t or won’t gossip.

    I also think it’s worth considering that you’re giving away too much of your personal power to your coworkers.  They gossip!  They’re negative!  Who wants to deal with that?  They don’t say good morning…well, I’d call that a blessing, but you could also preempt things and say good morning to them.  Be happy, be cheerful, be positive.  Do your job, and when you make mistakes admit them.  Yet when you do things right, pat yourself on the back – you probably won’t get it from anyone there.

    You’re at your job to do your work.  Create some boundaries around work and socializing.  You are not obligated to share personal information.  You don’t need to indulge others who wish to gossip.  There are responses you can give without giving yourself a black mark.  One of them is to say “isn’t that something?”  Another is to give no response and excuse yourself saying, “I have something I need to take care of.”

    You want to fit in, but the price you need to pay in order to do that seems very high.



    • This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by Airene.
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