How to deal with someone spreading bad rumors

Updated March 18, 2017

Rumours and gossip can be extremely damaging and harmful to people, whether in a high school setting or in a workplace. People who spread rumours often do not realise what they are doing and the impact that the rumours can have on those on the receiving end. If someone is spreading bad and malicious rumours about you, instead of suffering in silence, take control of the situation - and your reputation.

Discuss the rumours with the person who started them. If you are aware of the originator of the rumours, calmly and rationally let the person know that the rumours are hurting you. Maintain a demeanour that is firm yet non-accusatory. Refrain from incendiary talk, and instead find out what compelled the person to spread these rumours. Make your peace and let her know the effect they are having on you.

Take the high road. Try to go about your daily life as normally as possible in the midst of the negative rumours. Do not let untruths impede your productivity at your workplace, school or elsewhere. Remember that you know the truth, and that at the end of the day, what other people believe truly doesn't matter. Also, your real friends will see the truth. Do not seek revenge; instead, move on with your life. Getting revenge reduces you to the same level as the gossiper.

Abstain from participating in rumours. If you are the victim of rumours, you are aware of their consequences and how much they can hurt people. End the vicious cycle by refusing to partake in gossipy conversations. Simply walk away and say that you are not interested in the topic. As "juicy" or as fascinating as discussing a co-worker's affair may be, it simply isn't any of your business. Remember that real people are always involved in rumours, people with genuine feelings and emotions.

Consider the causes of the rumours. The better you understand the triggers of rumour-spreading, the easier the situation will be for you to handle. People often spread rumours out of jealousy and envy, or out of a pure desire to ruin the reputations of people they admire or want to be like. Look at the rumour-spreading in the most positive light possible - as an odd, yet sincere, compliment. If someone is taking time of his schedule to defame you, it is because somehow, for some reason, you are getting under his skin.

Speak about the matter with a higher-up. If you are battling nasty rumours in the workplace or at school, consider reporting the situation to an authority figure, such as a supervisor or teacher. If persistent rumours are distracting you and reducing your productivity, then you may need outside help to handle the situation.


If you have the authority, consider organising a meet-up between all involved parties and participants in which the truth can be told and the rumours can be put to rest for good. Use this opportunity as a time to also discuss the danger and harm of gossip, as well.

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About the Author

Lars Tramilton has been writing professionally since 2007. His work has appeared in a variety of online publications, including CareerWorkstation. Tramilton received a bachelor's degree with a focus on elementary education from Kean University.