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have two female colleagues who were
I have two female colleagues who, since I joined the company
over two years ago, were complaining about everyone non-stop. I 'tolerated'
it and they considered me a friend, although I was doing it because
I was afraid to question them and, I am sure, they complained about
Dear Loose lips,
Dealing with gossip, name-calling and generally catty behaviour is never easy. It is almost impossible to both discourage the gossipy behaviour and to have the gossipers like you.
It sounds like these two are pretty hard-core and I am inclined to think that your friend's advice to ignore them is pretty good. I would suggest that you be quite straight with them if they invite you to participate in gossip or if you see them doing so. Tell them that you feel it is harmful and hurtful behaviour, and that it interferes with workplace morale and performance. You need to accept that they are unlikely to be friendly towards you after that, but it will help you accept their animosity if you know that you have been clear with them about why.
The question of reporting their behaviour to management is a very difficult one. If you have no supervisory responsibility then you need to assess the workplace norms. Is it expected that employees report such behaviour? How will it affect your relationships with the gossipers and with other employees? It is legitimate to take into account the likely effect on you of such an action. You need to be sure of your motives in making a report. It would be unwise to report if it is done out of spite.
Thanks for writing.
Dr. John Burton
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