Attack Their Ego
This is the most effective tactic that you can use against a gossip lover. They probably think that when they gossip it makes them appear 'socially cool' or knowledgeable or friendly or some other quality that they are going for. Your job is to figure out what they are trying to be known for and make it look like not using gossip will achieve that!
For instance, if Joe likes to gossip about people because he thinks that people like him when he gossips, then you need to make him feel that people don’t like people who gossip but instead like people who keep their secrets to themselves. You can do this by letting him hear you talk about how much you like and respect the fact that Susan doesn’t share your secrets with everyone. Joe will want you to like him to and want to prove that he doesn’t share secrets either! He will most likely stop gossiping around you and instead let you know what a good secret keeper he is.
Make Them Believe That Gossip is Bad
You don’t gossip because you don’t like it right? Well if you can make them feel as though gossip is bad then they will not want to gossip either. Even the heaviest gossip queen or king has a belief system, and that belief system changes throughout their lifetime. It may just be time for their belief about gossiping to change!
You can do this by getting them to admit that gossiping is not a nice thing to do. Get them to agree with you when you talk about how much gossiping hurts other people or how most people don’t like people who gossip. Once they agree with you they will not want to appear to be the one who hurts other people or the un-liked person. Instead they will start to question their beliefs about gossiping and their ego will most likely form of new set of beliefs that will stop their gossiping all together. Beliefs normally take a few weeks to take root so rest assured if they truly start to believe that gossip is bad then their struggle with this belief will end soon.
Let Them Know It’s Wrong and Hurtful
Many of us listen to gossip and shake our heads while the person spouts off their news for the day, but how many of us take the time to say “Listen, I don’t want to hear this stuff. It’s not fair to the people you are talking about, half the time it’s wrong, and it’s not a trait about you that I respect.”, and then continue on with our day without listening to the actual gossip? Not often enough.
Sometimes the best way to let someone know how you feel is directly. Chances are they will be embarrassed or upset about what you have just confronted them with, and that’s a good thing. They need to know that it’s not a positive thing that they are doing and that most people don’t appreciate it. It can only help them improve themselves and the way they treat other people.
One great way to avoid awkwardness between you two after confronting them is to follow the confrontation about their gossip with their positive traits. For instance once you tell them how unattractive gossip is you can tell them how much you enjoy their humour when they are not gossiping. If you balance the criticism with positive words then they may not feel as bad knowing that you view them as a decent person when they are not gossiping. It will make them want to be more decent around you!