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Thread: Combatting Gossip

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fawn View Post
    People who are that nasty usually self implode if you can just be patient enough for that to happen.
    I am trying to be patient. I'd love to make the little sucker implode right this instant. I've never run into anything quite like this before.

    My best bet might be to hope it all blows over by next semester. This semester is almost over. I can make it a few more days, especially since we're in finals and I won't be in class with this person.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anne Lee View Post
    Talk to the people you think that might be most swayed by the gossip. W/o accusing the gossiper, simply say that you are wondering if they heard X and you would like a chance to clarify the situation. Everyone else will just have to get their earful.

    Really, the best thing you can do is stay as far away from this person as possible. You won't be able to shut the gossiper down but as Fawn pointed out, these people eventually tend to implode. Just be sure you aren't standing close enough to be sucked into the mess when it happens.

    These things are grating, are they not. So sorry you are going through it.
    Thanks - I do stay as far away from this person as possible. My best hope is not to have any classes with him in the Fall. And that's my last semester, so he won't affect me anymore. Unless I decide on grad school (not likely), in which case he'd better hope he doesn't get me as a TA.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoe Girl View Post
    I hate this type of thing because it is soo hard to address. And I understand that sometimes gossip seriously affects you and cannot be just ignored. I have had my life affected by gossip, didn't have friends or job opportunities from it, bad deal. But there is usually no way to directly go to the source and purge it out unfortunately.

    I like the advice from Anne. I do something like that with kids in schools. If the kids are telling me that stories are told about them I turn to the friend standing there. They have a lot of power to affect the gossip or bullying as the bystander, where the bullied or gossiped person may not have the same power.

    Also if you get into a direct confrontation I will tell you that they WILL implode. It is amazing to see what happens when you state your case firmly, do not back down, yet also do not get into the nasty part of it. My oldest dd just went through this and whew, we had a drama. I was very proud of her but also amazed once again by how people will act when they cannot drag you into their crappy ways of dealing with things. They most of all want you to act like them and justify their bad behavior by showing that if they say something outrageous enough or push enough buttons you will react and act just like they do. If you are in this situation just stand back, (I happened to start the right speech convo btw) and observe their behavior and how you want to react without actually reacting. I have felt out of body to a degree in these situations which helps me then come back when there is a pause from them and re-state what I need to say. The 'broken record' technique works well, just say the same thing over and over in slightly different words and put in some positives there. Example from my own deal "I understand this is hard, I consider you a great asset to our program and when your stepdaughter is here you need to have her picked up or clock out for the day. ..... So when your stepdaughter is dropped off you need to clock out or have her picked up, and we look forward to you working the next day,..... We want you to continue to do a great job, and when she is dropped off you are simply done working for that day."

    Okay wandered off into my own thing.
    Hi ZoeGirl,

    Yes, I remember that you started the other thread. It was a good thread, too.

    I did confront the fellow when he was told to stay away from me. The faculty member who helped me first talked to him, then wanted me to talk to him. So I did. And when he tried to deny his behavior, I called him out on it very firmly.

    I think this latest bit of gossip is revenge for that. I don't know why he's chosen to target me specifically. I've never done anything to him that I can recall. I think he's a bit unbalanced. If I have to confront him again, if I have evidence that he's started or spread the gossip, I think I'll do it in the presence of the faculty member who helped me before. I think I'd like a witness this time.
    Last edited by DarkStar; 5-4-11 at 4:21am.

  4. #14
    rodeosweetheart
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    Were it I, I would go to my friend (there is a friendship affected in this, no?) and say, there are rumors going around, and if you ever want to hear the true story about anything from me, please ask, and then just let the rest of it go. You can't stop people lying and gossiping, and any energy you devote to this mess will just fan the flames. That's what I would do, ymmv, and best wishes to you!

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodeosweetheart View Post
    Were it I, I would go to my friend (there is a friendship affected in this, no?) and say, there are rumors going around, and if you ever want to hear the true story about anything from me, please ask, and then just let the rest of it go. You can't stop people lying and gossiping, and any energy you devote to this mess will just fan the flames. That's what I would do, ymmv, and best wishes to you!
    Sorry for the late reply - I've been studying for finals.

    That is excellent advice. Unfortunately, my friend is not speaking to me now, so I can't follow your advice. Maybe by next semester things will have calmed down and I can talk to my friend - it's not likely I'll see him over the summer. And if I can't, or he won't listen - well, maybe it wasn't the friendship I thought it was.

    Thank you all for your good advice and for listening to me. It's been a rough semester, but this situation has been the hardest of all. It's been a comfort to be able to come here, state my problem, and get good advice.

  6. #16
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    Darkstar: I feel for you....I have been in your position.....and if your friend has chosen to listen to the rumors instead of trusting in you.....better you know that sooner than later.

    As for the rumor spreader.....do nothing.....there really is nothing you can do anyway.....what they are doing says something about them....if you stoop to their level or hold your head up high, that will say something about you. People will see the truth.

    Several years ago I had a "disagreement" with another mother in my circle of friends. While I apologized, to keep the peace even though I didn't think it was all my fault, she has chosen to hold onto her bitter nasty anger for years now. At first it upset me when she ran around telling her jaded version of the truth to everyone, after awhile everyone realized she was nuts. Now she has quite a reputation as a loon.....You can't fix crazy.

  7. #17
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    I like to take the perspective that all press is good press. So at one level, I just let it slide. If it negatively affects certain relationshps, then that's on the other person, not on me.

    But, if it is getting to the point of being very serious -- such that authorities may be or need to be involved -- then you need to ask for a mediation before it gets to that point.

    For a mediation, you will need two things: evidence and confidence.

    Evidence is the tougher one to get, but the best evidence is to simply make a note on your calendar of the rumor that your heard, when you heard it, what it was (in as much detail as possible), and from whom you heard it. If possible, ask them from whom they heard it. If possible, ask that person where they heard it. If any of these people heard it via email, then see if someone is willing to forward it to you. Keep an electronic and a hard copy.

    You are creating a file here, because rumors can step into the realm of legal harassment, and you can be protected from that (and the other person punished for it). Evidence is *key* to this process, though.

    I have had several stalkers over time, and so I have extensive evidence of their practices, and currently, there is an issue brewing well outside of our business. We have recently won two court cases, but then had to take it to the next level to get paid (eg, court collections, which creates a certain level of public embarrassment). Since this happened (and we got paid), there have been several "odd" happenings around our business. There was a complaint into city council about our sign, along with the accusation that we didn't have the right license for our sign. Of course, this is false. I informed them of the situation -- as I suspect that these are the folks doing this. The same happened with our debit card machine process -- someone called in to "cancel" our account, and when the company called to 'verify' the cancellation, of course we knew nothing. And since only two of us can do that (as directors) and neither of us did, we also informed them of the situation with these people. The post office called to verify that we were shutting down and have no forwarding address -- of course this isn't true either.

    But I do have notations about each of these calls in my calendar, and I asked for evidence. I asked the city council to send a copy of the complaint; I asked the debit card company to send a copy of the order (including our cancellation); I asked the post office to forward the document they received.

    Obviously, something is "up" and this does qualify as legal harassment. I'll keep notes until it either A. dies down, or B. the person doing it reveals herself and I have the evidence to file a police report and get the court involved. My lawyer also has a copy of everything relevant in these files.

    So, evidence, evidence, evidence. If it's going to go that far.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by TMC View Post
    Darkstar: I feel for you....I have been in your position.....and if your friend has chosen to listen to the rumors instead of trusting in you.....better you know that sooner than later.

    As for the rumor spreader.....do nothing.....there really is nothing you can do anyway.....what they are doing says something about them....if you stoop to their level or hold your head up high, that will say something about you. People will see the truth.

    Several years ago I had a "disagreement" with another mother in my circle of friends. While I apologized, to keep the peace even though I didn't think it was all my fault, she has chosen to hold onto her bitter nasty anger for years now. At first it upset me when she ran around telling her jaded version of the truth to everyone, after awhile everyone realized she was nuts. Now she has quite a reputation as a loon.....You can't fix crazy.
    Thanks, TMC. I've held my head up, and now that the semester is over, I'm putting my energy into working, volunteer activities, and music lessons. People who really know me will see what the truth is. I try not to worry about the rest of them. However, the rumors have spread a bit beyond school. This is really a small town in some ways. I did answer back to one person who was making innuendos about me last weekend. I figure holding my head up doesn't preclude speaking up for myself if someone decides to say something in front of me. And I think I got my point across to the other people who were there - that there was another side to the story and that they shouldn't take rumors at face value.

    I'm disappointed in my friend that he's chosen to believe the rumors. I know he's had occasion to see that I don't practice the kind of behavior I've been said to do, even after he stopped speaking to me. If he continues to believe rumors and to not speak to me, however, there's nothing I can do about that.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoebird View Post
    I like to take the perspective that all press is good press. So at one level, I just let it slide. If it negatively affects certain relationshps, then that's on the other person, not on me.

    But, if it is getting to the point of being very serious -- such that authorities may be or need to be involved -- then you need to ask for a mediation before it gets to that point.

    For a mediation, you will need two things: evidence and confidence.

    Evidence is the tougher one to get, but the best evidence is to simply make a note on your calendar of the rumor that your heard, when you heard it, what it was (in as much detail as possible), and from whom you heard it. If possible, ask them from whom they heard it. If possible, ask that person where they heard it. If any of these people heard it via email, then see if someone is willing to forward it to you. Keep an electronic and a hard copy.

    You are creating a file here, because rumors can step into the realm of legal harassment, and you can be protected from that (and the other person punished for it). Evidence is *key* to this process, though.

    I have had several stalkers over time, and so I have extensive evidence of their practices, and currently, there is an issue brewing well outside of our business. We have recently won two court cases, but then had to take it to the next level to get paid (eg, court collections, which creates a certain level of public embarrassment). Since this happened (and we got paid), there have been several "odd" happenings around our business. There was a complaint into city council about our sign, along with the accusation that we didn't have the right license for our sign. Of course, this is false. I informed them of the situation -- as I suspect that these are the folks doing this. The same happened with our debit card machine process -- someone called in to "cancel" our account, and when the company called to 'verify' the cancellation, of course we knew nothing. And since only two of us can do that (as directors) and neither of us did, we also informed them of the situation with these people. The post office called to verify that we were shutting down and have no forwarding address -- of course this isn't true either.

    But I do have notations about each of these calls in my calendar, and I asked for evidence. I asked the city council to send a copy of the complaint; I asked the debit card company to send a copy of the order (including our cancellation); I asked the post office to forward the document they received.

    Obviously, something is "up" and this does qualify as legal harassment. I'll keep notes until it either A. dies down, or B. the person doing it reveals herself and I have the evidence to file a police report and get the court involved. My lawyer also has a copy of everything relevant in these files.

    So, evidence, evidence, evidence. If it's going to go that far.
    The thing that concerns me - other than the loss of a friendship, which I've pretty much accepted now - is that I think I may have been stalked. The rumor-spreader seems to have kept very close tabs on my activity at school. I'm not sure it hasn't crossed over into my life outside of school. Or that the rumor-spreader is likely to cross the line into stalking. And I would like to be able to prove that, if it is so. It's kind of a queasy feeling. If I can get evidence, I will certainly be documenting everything.

  10. #20
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    I read this thread yesterday but didn't have a chance to respond before I left for work. It stuck in my mind because it reminded me a little bit of something that happened to me in college. I'm not sure how relevant this will be to you, but perhaps it will give you some hope for your friendship.

    I met this guy, we'll call him Mark, during my freshman year of college. He seemed really cool at first, but over time it became apparent that he was lying about various things, mostly for attention and also to manipulate a girl that he was interested in dating. Those lies spiraled way out of control right at the end of spring semester, and Mark wound up in some trouble with the school administration. He agreed to get some counseling, and obviously there was a lot of trust destroyed between him and the rest of our close group of friends.

    At the start of our sophomore year, Mark began to very aggressively befriend a new group of people. I continued to see him regularly in the theatre, where we were both very involved, but we weren't really friends anymore. The spring of that year, I stage-managed a production of King Lear. Mark was my assistant, while another friend of ours, let's call her Sally, was the lighting designer for that show.

    I had been really close to Sally previously, but over the course of the show, she began to pull back from me. At the same time a number of other small, but creepy, things began to happen. Several nasty anonymous notes were tucked into my script binder in between rehearsals. A couple of casual acquaintances made odd passing comments that didn't really make sense to me. I was pretty freaked out, but like you I had no clear proof of what was going on, only that awful feeling in my gut that something was very, very wrong.

    Eventually I went on a little campaign of seeking out the people who seemed to be acting strangely, and being very intentional about talking the situation over with them and making sure that we were cool. That worked for almost all of my friends, except for Sally, who was increasingly aggressive and angry when I tried to approach her, and eventually sent me several really nasty notes stating that she did not want to speak with me again.

    I really thought our friendship was over. We didn't talk at all for perhaps 6 or 8 months after that, and it was a couple of years before we could be in the same room without a lot of awkwardness. But over time I think she realized that Mark was manipulative and untrustworthy (he's the only person I've ever known who I feel confident saying is probably a sociopath) and she began to warm up to me again.

    The happy ending to this story is that, in our senior year, I introduced her to my boyfriend's brother and they really hit it off. We were married later that fall, and they were married about 18 months after that. Sally has been my sister-in-law for nearly 5 years now, and I am closer to her than anyone else I went to college with.

    In hindsight, I still don't know what it was that Mark told everybody about me. I do know that over time, his true colors just could not be hidden, and nobody from our original group of friends seems to want to keep in contact with him anymore. He left a trail of angry and betrayed people throughout his college years -- the "implosion" that the SLers have described is a very real thing.

    I don't know what that means for you, DarkStar. The possible stalking aspect of your situation sounds really scary to me, and I think you're wise to document it carefully and to seek out as much advice as you can about how to protect yourself. Have you been able to talk with the faculty member who intervened for you in the past? It sounds like you've got a really strong and wise advocate in that person.

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