How to handle gossips?


Has anyone had the experience of dealing with relatives or friends who call a lot and waste your time with complaining about everything and criticizing everyone.

How do you handle it?. I don’t want to be a party to all this criticizing and, I guess, you’d could also call it gossip about others.

I have tried to discourage it by changing the subject but it seems to make some angry. I don’t want to be unkind but I don’t like this. How do I stop it without causing a big fight?

I think it borders on, if it’s not outright sinful.

Any advice welcomed.


There are several options:

(1) Don’t answer your phone

(2) When it becomes obvious that someone is not calling for a specific purpose but rather to gossip or complain, simply say, “Well, it’s been nice talking to you but I have to go now.” Then hang up. If asked, you do not have to give a reason other than “I need to go, I’ve got things to do.”

(3) When the person at the other end begins gossiping/criticizing state “I am not comfortable talking about X, so let’s talk about something else.” Do this using the broken record technique, in other words every time they start just keep saying you aren’t going to talk about that subject. You aren’t going to get anywhere trying to change the subject and being subtle-- nip it directly or they will just keep doing it.


If you change the subject and they get angry then is there a dialogue or a monologue going on here? If it is indeed a dialogue and they have no respect for your input then are these conversations healthy for either party? You are not the one who is unkind and you are not the one who would cause a big fight.

Just let them know that you would prefer not to speak about people unless there are good things to say. If they cannot respect your wishes then you are not missing out by insisting that you must go and end the conversation. And remember that a fight requires two people. They cannot fight with someone who refuses to respond. When they agree to speak kindly of others then make it perfectly clear that all conversations are welcome.

You do not have to converse with anyone who cannot respect your wishes especially when you are doing well not to gossip…God Bless…teachccd


“Oh, my. That’s none of my business” seems to work for me.


Since when did my MIL start calling you?

anyway, I went through the same thing years ago…she would call, bless out so and so, talk about them like they were scum of the earth and love’em up to their face…I was tired of that…so…

I stopped talking to her…or rather listening to her. I won’t listen to it and I don’t care if I hurt her feelings in telling her so…eventually she stopped talking to me like that.

Got to set your own boundaries, it might take a few years, but eventually no one will bother you with their gossip.


After 15 years of driving a transit bus, I have learned to be confident and uninhibited about correcting people’s bad behavior. We just have to get over the worry that their feelings are going to be hurt, or that they’re going to be offended.

At least in this case, any hurt feelings are her problem, not yours. Muster up the courage to say politely and kindly, “This is interesting, but I don’t feel comfortable talking this way about people I like.”

I have an in-law who specializes in hurt feelings as a way of controlling people around her. Don’t fall for it! Remain positive and friendly, but set limits.

You are to be commended for doing the right thing.

St. Michael the Archangel, give us courage for the battle!

Blessings… - Rob


Silence works best. Has always worked for me…with coworkers, neighbors…you name it, silence is golden. Say nothing…when the gossip begins…just say nothing. You might hear on the other end of the phone…‘are you still there? are you listening?’ Say, yes, I’m listening. Not in a snobby way…or self righteous way…in a kind way, simply say…‘Yes, I’m listening.’ You’d be surprised how you will soon become the least desirable person to share gossip with–which is a good thing. Now, we shouldn’t really ‘listen’ to gossip, either–but trust me on this–you continue to say nothing, and soon enough, you will be known as someone who doesn’t like to listen to or pass on gossip. Maybe the gossiper will learn to stop gossiping in the process, too.:shrug: Gossip is a funny thing. We have all done it at one point or another. It usually is someone’s way of venting, but it can grow hurtful over time…because it never really resolves anything. It just ends up hurting people…Hope this helps?


Just want to thank each of you so much…every one of you offered me great ideas and from your own personal experiences. I have tried silence a few times time and got screamed at. “What’s the matter with you don’t you have anything to say?” type comments

I think I just need to get a little more courage and backbone.

And no, dana, I don’t think your mother-in-law has been calling - please don’t give her my number :slight_smile:

Anyway I feel I may lose a couple ‘friendships’, but I am beginning not to care. Thanks to you all. It looks like this happens a lot to others, but you have learned how to nip it in the bud. And I am learning.


A while back, I had a priest tell me that listening to gossip, can lead one to gossip (near occasion of sin) That was enough for me. I used to be one to lend an ear to it as well, sometimes, thinking…‘I’m helping this person by listening.’ Nope. Not really. If anything, I would often leave the person/conversation, feeling drained…and negative even. Gossip is a drain. I’m glad that you found some replies helpful to you! Good luck!:slight_smile:


I kept meaning to suggest that you can turn it into a positive too. While so-and-so is busy bad-mouthing “Melissa” you can say “oh poor Melissa, maybe she never had a decent family to learn these subtleties from…we/YOU should say a prayer for her!” “Oh I know you must be frustrated, but it must be so hard to not notice you are offending people, I hope your prayers help…or have you said anything to Melissa to let her know she is being unkind/upsetting/unfair (worthy of your bad-mouthing?)?” Oh you haven’t? Why? Let me guess - it’s easier to talk badly about people BEHIND their backs rather than trying to help the “offending” soul? OK DONT add in that part, but you can nicely suggest it…while suggesting they cease the gossip.

My own aunt (vital statistics of Crazy Town) is no longer speaking to me because she talks so poorly about my cousin’s friend(s) but one in particular. I did all of the above. I suggested she pray. I suggested she be forgiving. I suggested she not hate “Jill” so much and oh boy – is she MAD! She hasn’t spoken to me in months…which is fine because I don’t care to hear about my cousin’s friends nor how they behave. Goodness lady, get your own friends and talk **** THEN. Oh wait? What’s that? Nobody will be friend’s with you because you are so bitter? Sorry to hear that!

It’s sad, but the same gossips will get their own just desserts.

Yep, you need to no longer listen, or you need to turn tables in the kind way that God would want you to. No matter the supposed person who is doing the offending. Offering another point of view and forgiveness, kindness and the suggestion for prayer will stop people in their tracks. Really – how do you continue to be vile when you are being told that prayer and charity is the way to go?

You could call my aunt and ask…but she’s no longer speaking to me! Tell you what - I don’t miss it at all. I even suggested “gee I wonder what you say about me?” OK really – I think that did it. But it’s TRUE. :thumbsup:


My husband likes to use humor, but only for gossipy coworkers, not family (but maybe it could work with family, too). He’ll make outlandish comments about whatever is being said. For example:

Gossip: "Did you hear that Alan is finally dating someone?!?! I was beginning to wonder about him. You know, like if he was gay or something."
Hubby: "Where have you been? He’s got like 23 girlfriends right now, and a few dozen kids, spread across 3 continents."
Gossip: "You’re funny."
Hubby: :smiley:
End of conversation.


Glad I came back to this thread for some more good advice! Yes, yes, draining is sure the right word. I feel so exhausted after listening to some of these people. I will try a little humor too although the only kind of humor these people seem to enjoy is making fun of people.

And thank you too KC. I now have one not talking to me either, because I don’t ‘talk enough’. I just found out what a relief it is.:slight_smile:


If you were to say to these people, “I have to share something with you. I spoke with my priest about how I can best develop spiritually. He told me I must make every effort to avoid sin or the near occasion of sin. Gossiping is a sin. If you have called me for advice as to how you can have a better relationship with the person you are angry with I am more than willing to share with your my strength and experience in that area. If you have just called to vent, however, I am going to need to stop the conversation right now. It is too tempting for me and I really REALLY want to spend eternity in heaven. Now, how 'bout those Patriots…do you think they’ll have a perfect season?”

What is you biggest fear regarding saying something like this (in your own words, of course) to the gossip mongers?

I know what mine would be - that they would get mad at me and I would be the object of their next gossip fest…of course, I then have to ask myself why in the WORLD I would be concerned about an opinion someone like this would hold of ME but that’s my own spiritual weakness…I wanna be LOVED by EVERYONE…

not gonna happen.



as you might expect, I am usually rather blunt, and react as my mother would have, who detested gossip.
Well, I’ll let you go now, I really don’t want to discuss this. Click."
or in person, “I don’t enjoy gossip. I don’t talk about my friends, including you, behind their back. Goodbye.”


You? Blunt? I wouldn’t have believed it…:smiley:


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