tag Sign Up for our Newsletter
Site Logo
Don’t miss out on the art world’s most entertaining newsletter - every Friday. And career news every Tuesday.
Become a members
7 Ways To Shut Down Workplace Gossip
Because what goes around comes back around
Career 02 May 2023

gossip at work

Image via @popcultureangel Instagram

Word on the street is that the art world is a pretty gossipy place, but hey – so are most workplaces. Gossiping at work can sometimes be exciting and make you feel part of a tribe. But most of the time what goes around comes back around and gossiping frankly is mean. The thrill of the moment and knowing unflattering information is not worth it for the hurt it can cause. Especially when that person hears you have been gossiping about them. Or the person who told you the information starts gossiping about you- karma!
Here are ways to avoid workplace gossip, because a gossip-heavy work culture can be pretty toxic.

pop angel

Image via @popcultureangel Instagram

Don’t take part in the gossiping
This may sound all Mr. Captain Obvious, but simply walking away from gossip is the best method. Try your best not to let the gossiper know that you are interested in the gossip. Change the conversation, concentrate on your work, or even physically leave the room. And if someone manages to pass on some gossip while ignoring your obvious ‘don’t come anywhere near me with that nasty gossip vibe’ – just don’t pass it on. Simples!

Change the tune
When the gossiper starts saying the usual negative comments about their victims, interject with compliments about the person. By making a positive comment about the person, you can turn the mood and conversation around – stopping the gossip before it turns mean. It will also shame the gossiper and hopefully make them think about their actions and differently about the person.
pop angel paris
Image via @popcultureangel Instagram

Avoid the gossiper

Again, this is a pretty obvious get-out card, however sometimes we forget that we have our own free will! You are more than allowed to physically remove yourself from the situation and person who is gossiping.

Work out the difference between friendly work banter and gossip

Light heartened friendly banter is fun but learn where to draw the line and don’t get sucked into the dark side which turns into gossiping.

Confront the gossiper

Let the gossiper know that their actions are bothering you, be positive and offer to assist the gossiper. Normally when someone gossips it’s a personal problem deep down and perhaps a call for help. Be the better person by helping instead of taking the side of the gossiper and joining in.

Concentrate on the task at hand

Don’t get drawn into the drama. You were hired to work, so focus on doing your own job well. If you indulge in gossip or other bad behavior, you will not only get side-tracked from accomplishing your professional goals, you’ll also get a reputation for being a negative gossip.

Don’t take work gossip to heart

A lot of work gossip is just calculated spiteful nonsense. It is lost in translation while being passed on and is often filled with rumours and errors. Take it on the chin and rise above it, rather than reacting personally or defensively. You are better than it.

Text by Peigi Mackillop

You May Also Like

The Creative Girl's Rules Of Work
The Creative Girl's Rules Of Work
What to See & Do Around Frieze LA
What to See & Do Around Frieze LA
Hellos and Goodbyes
Hellos and Goodbyes
Best (And Worst) Couples in Art History
Best (And Worst) Couples in Art History
Valentino Campaign Kicks Off Global Artist Collab For Statement Bags
Valentino Campaign Kicks Off Global Artist Collab For Statement Bags
How To Spring Clean Your Desktop
How To Spring Clean Your Desktop


Digital and Marketing
Sarabande Foundation - London, UK
Freelance Designer
Klick - Paris, Île-de-France, France
Manager, Arts & Social Practice
Obama Foundation - Chicago, USA
Gallery Intern
C. Stuart and Jane H. Hunt Art Gallery - Buffalo, NY, USA