How to Deal With a Coworker That Talks Behind your Back

How to Deal With a Coworker That Talks Behind your Back
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You might be surprised to hear some people talk badly about other employees behind their backs. This behavior is called gossiping, and it happens every day at workplaces across the globe.

Gossiping is a common workplace problem. Most people don’t realize they are gossiping until they get caught. If you want to stop gossiping, then you should take action now. You can learn how to deal with a coworker who talks behind your back.

In this article, we will discuss why people gossip and how to deal with a coworker that talks behind your back:

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1. Ignore it

Aristotle once said, “criticism is something we can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing no thing, and being nothing. If you do nothing, you cannot be criticized.” This is true because if you don’t do anything, there is nothing to criticize. However, what happens when you do something? You become someone else. Someone different. Someone unique. Someone who is growing.

Every time you say or do something, you become someone else. Every single action you make defines you, and everyone around you notices. They notice how you act, how you dress, how you speak, how you treat others, and most importantly, how you respond to criticisms.

When you are criticized, you must learn to ignore it. Ignore it like you overlook a mosquito buzzing around your head. Don’t let it bother you. Because if you pay attention to it, you might give it power over you.

The truth is that critics are just jealous of your success. They want to bring you down because they feel threatened by your progress. But here’s the good news: When you ignore critics, you prove them wrong. You show them that you are moving forward and becoming better.

2. Discover why

If you want to change someone’s mind about something, it helps to know how they got there in the first place. And if you want to help them understand where they went wrong, you must take ownership of your part in the process. If you don’t, you won’t be able to make them see things your way.

This applies to everyone, whether you work with clients or colleagues. You might have to deal with people who need to be more open to feedback or critical thinking. They believe what they want to believe without ever questioning their assumptions.

You can’t force anyone to change their mind. But if you want to influence them, you must first understand why they came to their conclusions in the first place. This is especially true if you want to convince them to change their mind about something important.

3. Never Allow the Person to “win.”

Don’t take it personally when someone posts negative comments about you online. You probably aren’t being targeted specifically. Chances are, they’re just venting frustration on social media. If you respond negatively, you’ll likely give them what they want — attention.

So, instead of getting angry, why not simply ignore them? Just as you wouldn’t yell at someone in real life, you shouldn’t yell at them online. Instead, tell yourself that you’re not interested in engaging with them.

If they continue to comment on your posts, block them. If they start sending you messages via email or phone, report them to the appropriate authorities. But most importantly, don’t let them win.

4. Avoid falling for the bait and stop feeding the trolls.

Getting sucked into an argument or debate with someone with strong opinions is easy. It’s also tempting to defend yourself and explain why you think differently than they do. But when you do this, you’re only proving them right.

Instead, focus on listening to what they have to say. Try to understand where they’re coming from and why they believe what they believe. Then, once you’ve heard all sides of the story, decide which side makes more sense.

If they disagree, they’re probably just trying to provoke you. So, don’t engage with them further. Block them on social media so they can’t keep bothering you.

5. Confront it head-on

Sometimes, you may need to confront a coworker directly about something they said behind your back. For example, maybe they made snide remarks about you to another colleague. Or perhaps they were rude to a client.

In these cases, you should speak up. Tell the other person exactly what happened and ask for their opinion. Don’t worry about sounding defensive — be honest.

The best thing to do here is to apologize. Please explain how you feel about what was said and why you didn’t share it with them before now. Then, ask if they prefer to discuss the issue privately or publicly.

If the other person agrees to talk privately, then do so. However, if they don’t agree, you can always bring it up later.

And, if you don’t feel comfortable speaking up, make sure you have a support network. Ask one of your coworkers to help you out. And, if you can’t afford to hire a lawyer, seek legal advice from an attorney.

Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

6. Discuss it with your manager

If the gossip and bad-mouthing are bordering is becoming unbearable in your workplace. One option is discussing the situation with your manager – even if you think they won’t listen.

You don’t want to be the person who brings up the issue because it implies there is something wrong with being open and honest about the problem.

However, if the gossip and rumors get out of hand, it might be worth bringing them up at the next team meeting. After all, if everyone knows what is happening behind closed doors, no one will ever be surprised again.

The best way to approach your manager is to start by explaining how much you value working together and that you want to ensure everyone feels comfortable and safe. Then suggest that they consider discussing the topic during the monthly team meeting.

This gives them a chance to address the issue and give feedback on improving things moving forward.

7. Report it to HR

If you feel like someone is talking badly about your organization online, report it to the appropriate people within your organization. You don’t necessarily want to go straight to the CEO because sometimes CEOs are too busy to deal with complaints. Instead, please start with the person who seems like they might know how to handle the situation.

In some cases, there may be no one to report it to. In that case, you may still try to find out what happened and why. For example, if your employee had been fired, you could ask whether anyone else knows anything. Or, if someone was promoted over you, you can ask if anyone saw a reason why.

8. Make your enemies your friends.

It’s not easy to get along with everyone, but this is especially true when you work closely with someone. If you’re trying to avoid conflict, staying quiet is easier than saying something that could hurt your relationship.

But, if you feel your coworker has crossed the line into inappropriate behavior, you should tell them. It’s important to remember that you don’t owe anyone any explanation for why you did or said something.

But, if you choose to explain your side of the story, keep in mind that every word counts. So, you’ll need to use your words carefully and tactfully. Start by expressing regret for whatever you did. Explain that you didn’t mean to upset anyone.

Then, mention that you were doing your job. Tell your coworker that you understand they felt uncomfortable and hope they don’t hold it against you. Finally, say that you’d appreciate it if they forgave you and that you wish the two of you could move past this incident.

If your coworker takes your apology seriously, you’ve made a good first step toward improving your relationship. But, if your coworker continues to treat you poorly, it may be time to look elsewhere.

9. Consider More Positive Aspects

Sometimes, we tend to dwell on negative thoughts more than positive ones. This leads us to focus on problems rather than opportunities.

One way to shift your thinking from negative to positive is to think about the positives in your life. When you do this, you’ll notice that your mood improves as well.

Another thing you can do is to write down three things that went right today. Doing so will help you build a better attitude. Plus, it makes it easier to focus on the good stuff tomorrow.

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10. Move on

Finally, if you feel like you can’t continue working with someone, it’s OK to leave. Don’t let bad feelings linger. You won’t have to worry about hurting anyone’s feelings while looking for another position.

When you decide to move on, thank your former coworker for their help and support. This will show that you care enough about their opinion to acknowledge it even though you disagree with them. And it will also show that you respect the fact that they influenced your career.

Also, as a final gesture of goodwill, please thank them for allowing you to learn from them. This shows that you recognize that you benefited from having worked together.


Sometimes, no matter how well you try to avoid it, individuals will still manage to irritate you. Workplace disagreements can damage personal connections, but you can take measures today to prevent this fate.

If you stick to these guidelines, you’ll have a much better chance of staying out of trouble at the office. You’ll learn how to deal with adversity, which is a useful skill.

Maintaining composure and refraining from reacting rashly is your best bet if you have a coworker who talks trash about you behind your back. You can either attempt a direct approach by talking to the person in question or escalate the issue to your superiors.

If you’re worried about the impact, this will have on your career. Our professional resume writers will help you revise your application materials to showcase your qualifications and experience better. Reach out to us today, and let’s get going!

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