How to Deal With Rumors: 10 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow

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12-05-2023, 21:10
Anyone who works in an office environment or went to high school knows all too well how damaging rumors can be when they get out of hand. While avoiding rumors altogether is ideal, sometimes you can't prevent a rumor from being spread about you. To deal with a rumor, it's best to practice things that will prevent future rumors, and to address the rumor calmly and right away.

Responding to Rumors

  1. Don't take it personally. Some people live life in bitterness or malice, and will spread rumors because they think it will make them feel better about themselves. Others hear information incorrectly and without meaning to harm someone, will spread that information. Either way, rumors aren't usually a sign that you have done something wrong. They usually communicate that the people spreading them are struggling with insecurities or boredom, so don't take it personally.
    • While this can be difficult to do because some rumors can be very hurtful, just remember that people spread rumors for a reason. Most people who are kind and care about others won't spread malicious rumors to harm someone. Those who spread rumors usually do so because they feel jealousy or envy towards you, or they are upset with their current state in life and want to add some drama to it to make it more interesting.
    • Stay above these rumors and don't encourage them by taking them personally and getting really upset. Some people spread rumors just to get a rise out of someone else. When rumors start to spread about you, act like nothing has happened and that you aren't affected by these lies. This can also help show people that the rumor isn't true, because you think it's so ridiculous that you don't even see a need to be upset about it.
  2. Respond to the rumor quickly. When a rumor is told about you, the best thing to do is respond to the rumor quickly. If you allow the rumor to fester and continue to be spread it may become worse or more exaggerated. Talk to the people who you have heard spread the rumor and explain to them that it is false, or go to an authority and let them know that the rumor isn't true.
    • Some people choose to ignore rumors instead of responding to them. This can be a good option, depending on the extent of the rumor. If the rumor is something so outlandish that very few people actually believe it, it could be good to just ignore it and over time people will stop talking. However, if the rumor is believable or is something that could get you into trouble, you need to address it quickly. You don't want to end up in a position where you are at fault because others have spread lies about you.
    • For example, if there is a rumor going around your workplace that you haven't been working efficiently or are doing something against company policy, you should address that rumor quickly. If not, you may be in great trouble with your boss. You want to denounce a rumor by addressing it before you are confronted and asked if it is true. It's easier for someone to believe you when you come to them first.
  3. Find the source of the rumor. When you hear about a rumor, sometimes it's best to go to the source of the rumor to understand why it was spread. This can help you from being hurt and can also prevent you from judging someone incorrectly. As people are spreading the rumor ask them who they heard it from, and hopefully you will be able to find the source of the rumor.
    • Once you have found the source or creator of the rumor, ask them why they spread it and where they got their information. If it was a friend, you might ask them if you did something that upset them that caused them to spread the rumor. You should also figure out if the rumor was spread in malice or because information was communicated incorrectly. Although neither are good things, someone may have spread a rumor, not knowing it was a rumor. In this case, the person wasn't doing it out of malice, so you don't want to create unnecessary drama.
    • If you find out someone did do the rumor out of malice, ask them why they started it. As stated earlier, people often start rumors because they are insecure about themselves. In this situation try to understand the person and practice giving them grace and forgiving them. Although this can be hard, the best way to love someone and help change them is by showing them grace when they don't deserve it. If you react kindly to this person, they may feel guilt or shame for spreading the rumor and then it may be easier to convince them to tell people the real truth.
  4. Make it known the rumor was false. The best way to denounce a rumor is by proving to people that it can't possibly be true. You can do this by explaining to people what is actually true, or you can show it to them by your actions. If the rumor involves you and someone else, ask that other person to help you prove that the rumor is false. Sometimes it can be helpful to have a third party refute the rumor.
    • If someone spread a rumor that you were cheating on your significant other, then be more faithful to them. Don't flirt with other people and spend more time with your significant other so that people begin to question the truth of the rumor.
    • If someone spread a rumor at your work about your laziness or that you were going against company policy, then try your best to show people you are a hard worker and that you are totally in line with company policy. Make it so hard for people to believe that the rumor is true.
    • While this step isn't always fun or enjoyable, because you may feel like you are having to prove yourself when you shouldn't be, it can be effective. Telling people a rumor isn't true may work, but when you show it to them, they have undeniable evidence and proof.
    • Gather your social support and get your friends to speak up for you.
  5. Understand that it may take time for the rumor to fade. Unfortunately, even if you have addressed the rumor, not all rumors fade quickly or immediately. Some people will believe you or will become uninterested while others may take some sort of twisted joy in hurting your reputation and will continue to discuss the rumor or the events surrounding it. Don't let these things bother you, but keep your head held high.
    • Once you have addressed the rumor, there is not much you can do except to continue living life as you were. It may take time and patience, but eventually people will have moved onto another source of gossip.ignore the person who started it.

Preventing Rumors

  1. Communicate about what is going on. Rumors can spread if someone is very secretive about their life or isn't in constant communication with others. You don't have to tell everyone you meet what is going on in your life, but to prevent rumors it can be helpful to tell some people how you are doing and what is happening. Then, when a rumor gets spread it may be harder to believe because people know what is truly happening in your life.
    • Stay in touch with your close friends, coworkers, and family. Keep them up to date on your life and ask them about theirs. When someone begins to pull away from people and becomes distant, rumors can be spread more easily. People can get upset if they feel like someone isn't putting in the effort to spend time with them and they can create rumors just from that. Or, if you look distant, people can start to create ideas that you are forlorn, depressed, or unsociable and can spread rumors about your emotional state.
  2. Be open and honest with people. This goes hand in hand with communication, but it involves really being honest and open with people, even when things are hard. Many people, when struggling with difficult things either at home, at school, or at work, can begin to pull away from people and become stressed and distrusting. The best way to avoid rumors when you are experiencing these things is to be vulnerable with a few people around you.
    • Explain that things are hard or you are unsure about some things, and those around you will hopefully be understanding and sympathetic.
    • Another reason to be open and honest with people is it helps create a space where they feel it's safe to be open and honest with you. If you share information with people they are more likely to share information back. Then, they are less likely to spread rumors about you because they know you have information on them.
    • At the same time, you want to be careful about who you share intimidate details of your life with. If you know it is someone you can trust, then be open and honest with them so that they know what is truly going on in your life. If it is someone you are not sure about, still try to be honest with them, but don't reveal secrets that they may twist into something that isn't true. Some people will take honesty and vulnerability and use it for harm, as awful as that is.
  3. Treat people kindly. Not all rumors start from your close friends or family. Many start from people that don't know you well and so it's easy for them to make up lies about you. This is why it's important to treat all people kindly. The kinder you are to people, the less likely they will be to react out of malice and try to harm your reputation. Even people that are difficult to treat well, you should strive to at least be kind to them.
    • Some people spread rumors about people they don't know well because they feel those people have treated them poorly, even if that person didn't intend to. You can't always prevent this, but being kind to someone decreases your chance that they are going to target you as their source for a rumor.
    • If you are experiencing rumors in a workplace, encourage cooperation over competition. Building an environment where you treat your coworkers as a team and a family is going to make people feel more comfortable and welcomed, and hopefully they won't feel a need to spread unnecessary rumors about others.
  4. Avoid spreading rumors yourself. Don't spread rumors. It's just that simple. If you spread rumors yourself and contribute to hurting other people and harming their reputation you are more likely to have a rumor spread about you. You also have placed yourself in a position where you can't exactly find fault with others if they spread a rumor about you. If you do the same thing with others, then you are no better than someone who has spread a rumor about you.
    • If information is told to you and it seems harmful or like it could hurt someone's reputation, keep it to yourself. Even if you don't think it is harmful, but you aren't sure of its accuracy, don't spread the information. Unless you are confident that the information is true and the person it is about won't experience harm from it, then don't tell others about it.
  5. Be clear about what you are sharing. If you are sharing something in confidence with someone and don't want others to know, make sure that person understands. Some people will share what other people have told them, not out of malice, but because they saw no harm in it. If you want to keep something private, communicate that to the person you are talking with.
    • Doing this will keep your friend from sharing your private information with someone else who may share it with someone else incorrectly. It is like the game of telephone -- you start off with a sentence and after it has been passed between several people the meaning changes. To prevent this from happening, be clear with your friend that you want this information to stay between the two of you.
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