15 Quick Comebacks For People Who Spread Gossip

15 Quick Comebacks For People Who Spread Gossip

Spreading gossip isn’t just for school playgrounds — sadly, it’s alive and well in the adult world too. Instead of letting it affect you or becoming part of the gossip grapevine, which can trash your reputation and relationships, you can shut down the person spreading it with one of these 15 comebacks. Hopefully, they’ll get the hint and knock it off.

1. “Let’s not talk about other people.”

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You’re sitting with your friend, eating lunch and enjoying the day. Then, out of nowhere, they start talking about some gossip they heard about a mutual friend that you actually really like and respect. Shut this behavior down right away by telling your friend that you don’t want to talk badly about other people. Done.

2. “But, do you know the facts?”

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You know that gossip is sometimes made up or tweaked to serve whoever’s spreading it. Make the person sharing the gossip aware of this by challenging them with the facts. Chances are, they don’t know the truth of the story they’re throwing around town. If they have no idea what they’re talking about, they probably shouldn’t be talking at all, right?

3. “I’m sure they’re flattered that you’re interested in their life.”

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Sometimes people gossip because they’re so insecure they need to feel good about other people’s failures or disasters. If the person’s gossiping about their rival or untrustworthy friend, they could be putting them down to get an ego boost. Make them feel embarrassed that they’re giving the person so much attention. Ouch!

4. “We should call ’em right now!”

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What will the person say if you grab your phone and pretend to call a mutual friend who they’re gossiping about? They’ll probably tell you they don’t want to do that. How convenient! They’d rather go around talking to everyone else than the person they have a problem with, and this comeback will make them aware of it.

5. “I heard some gossip about you, actually.”

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If someone is telling you about gossip you’re the target of and you can tell they don’t have good intentions, you don’t have to stand for it. Consider telling them that you know gossip about them to throw them off and make them realize that they’re not untouchable. They’ll likely insist it’s not true, so why would what they heard about you be?

6. “This is so negative. I don’t like it.”

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Another way to set some boundaries so you don’t engage in gossip is to tell the person that gossiping is something that doesn’t make you feel good. You’d rather talk about something more positive and uplifting than putting other people down or scrutinizing and judging their lives. Tell them you’re not feeling it and don’t want to go down that road so that they stop.

7. “We’re so much better than this.”

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Gossip is trashy and immature, and you don’t want that negativity in your life. It can help to remind the person who’s spreading gossip that you’re both too classy for that behavior, like by pointing out you can talk about much better things than someone else’s affairs.

8. “I’d rather talk about…”

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To divert everyone’s attention or change the subject, bring up something else that’s more positive and doesn’t involve anyone else. Spread some positivity to replace all the negativity around you! They might totally forget the person they were just talking trash about and move on to something better.

9. “I have zero interest in this.”

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If the person is a chronic gossiper who makes you feel uncomfortable with all the negative gossip they’re carrying around, you can shut them down for good by telling them you have no interest in hearing about the gossip. Let them take it somewhere else. Sometimes you have to be direct to get your message across!

10. “Are you going to talk about me later?”

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You can phrase this statement as a joke, but it will still get your point across to the gossiper. Let them know that you know how gossipers run around behind everyone’s backs spreading rumors, and it’s not cool.

11. “How would you feel if you were the target of this gossip?”

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It’s easy to forget about what the target of the gossip is going through. Unfounded rumors being passed around can be hurtful and damage people’s lives. This phrase can remind the gossip spreader to be more empathetic and think about the effect their words might be having on other people.

12. “This is such a waste of time.”

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You can tell the person that gossiping is a pointless exercise to show them that you’re not interested and you’ve got better things to do. Then, you can either change the subject or end the call. They’re unlikely to bother you again with gossip in the future (if they know what’s good for them, that is).

13. “Why are you thinking of them so much?”

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If the person seems to be obsessed with gossiping about a specific person, you might want to ask them why they’re so interested in them. This is a good way to confront them about their behavior and put an end to the gossiping. After all, why would they fixate on someone they’re not even close to?

14. “This makes me feel…”

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You can share with the person why you don’t like gossip so they can understand where you’re coming from. Use emotionally sensitive communication such as “I feel” statements. So, for example, you could say something like, “Gossiping makes me feel negative and depressed because it’s so damaging to people.”

15. “I have to run right now, let’s catch up later.”

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If you don’t want to waste time with this person, an easy way to deal with the situation is to get yourself out of it! So, tell them you have to make an important call or that you have to be somewhere, but you’ll chat with them later. If you do this whenever they want to gossip, hopefully, they’ll get the hint you don’t want to talk about it.

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Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.