“Oh. My. God. Don’t tell anyone I told you this, but….”
Thought you were done hearing that after high school? Wrong!
We’ve grown up and matured beyond the Valley Girl mentality — some of us more than others.
But people still love to whisper. Why?
Simple. People love drama. They love scandal and gossip. It’s a powerful cultural force.
Sometimes it’s malicious, sometimes not. Often it’s a way to bond with one person or align yourself against someone else. Others do it out of boredom or lack of other things to talk about.
“Did you hear what happened to so-and-so?”
Perhaps the most common reason is the rush of letting others know that you’re “in the know” — and that you’re making them privy to “the real dirt.”
How do you stop the gossip?
Let’s be realistic: You can’t stop everyone. Come to terms with that, and your life will be much easier.
What you can do is control some of the drama and blunt the impact by setting the record straight.
Is it true? Take the wind out their sails by owning up to it. Imagine going right up to the gossiping girl and saying, “I made a mistake, and I’m sorry!” What’s left for them to say?
Is it false? Don’t settle for making a simple denial. That’s weak and what you’d be expected to say. Instead, demonstrate how you’re innocent and why the rumors aren’t true. For more about this, read Belief & Proof – The Sequel.
Is it partially true? Suss out what’s false and focus on correcting it.
The same goes for people who are close to the situation and know the truth, even if the rumors aren’t about them.
It’s a burden we all share. If you know what’s being spread is untrue, speak up. Or, as posters say on MTA trains in NYC and LA: If you see something, say something.
It works both ways. If the rumors were about you, wouldn’t you like someone in your corner standing up for you in your absence?
“Because Reputation Is Your Most Valuable Asset”
Gillott Communications is a Strategic PR firm. We’re Fixers. Crisis & Reputation Management. Litigation. Media Relations. Crisis Prep. More than half a century of expertise working with clients to resolve issues both in and outside the media’s glare — in their professional and personal lives.
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