Have you ever been bitten by the gossip bug at work?

We ALL have, and I’d say I don’t like admitting that I have multiple times.

According to research, as explained in Psychology Today, conducted by a team from the University of Amsterdam, 90 percent of office conversations are actually gossips. Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology came to the conclusion that 15 percent of emails exchanged by office colleagues among themselves are gossips. 

That sounds like an exhausting workplace culture if you ask me.

Gossip does not only happen in the workplace; it happens in our families, social circles, partnerships etc.

So what’s the deal and why do we do it?

1: Gossip bonds us even though it’s an unhealthy way to bond us.

2: Gossip helps people indulge in a shared sense of humour or thrill to know about something confidential to another person or know specific details of someone the group doesn’t like.

The after-effects of gossip mentally, physically and emotionally are it fuels more stress in our bodies, increases our heart-rate, drains our mental and emotional energy and leaves us with an icky feeling. It festers far after the conversation is over in our thoughts and our emotions. It’s self-sabotage for our well-being.

So what can we do about it? Let’s set an example and be better than the normalized gossip banter.

I could easily tell you not to engage in the gossip, but I know from experience that it’s hard to do, especially when we are surrounded by it. So here is something you can say when someone wants to hook you into gossip.

You can say: 

  1. Why are you telling me this?
  2. What do you want me to know about this story?

This will disarm the person trying to “hook” you into gossip, especially if your typical response is to engage with more chatter. They will be startled at first. It will also signal to them that you are likely not interested in the story, and it holds them accountable to share what they want to say or not say anything at all.

I use the second phrase, A LOT. I use it everywhere, especially in dating, believe it or not. I use it when I detect a lie because it usually stops them in their tracks, and they know they can’t go any further with it. I know, I’m a BOSS, eh?!

Remember, leadership is setting an example and walking the talk. So try these phrases on at work and let me know how it goes.

If you want to learn more about how to thrive in your workplace, book a complimentary consult call with me here and let’s chat. 


Sonia Grossi, CPCC, CMP

“G-O-S-S-I-P dies when it hits the ears of someone who possesses a high level of restraint, respect, and responsibility.” ~ Ty Howard

Photo by Mia Baker on Unsplash

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