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How do you effectively confront people who are spreading negative rumors about you?

157 Answers
Last Updated: 12/09/2020 at 3:53am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Christina Hussami, MSW, LCSW

Clinical Social Work/Therapist

Strengths-based, solution-focused therapist focusing on helping clients find life balance and navigating down their own path leading towards overall well-being.

Top Rated Answers
November 22nd, 2017 1:03pm
I confront people who are spreading negative rumors about me by talking to them personally and discussing to them how I feel with what he/she is doing and by telling them that what they are doing is so wrong but I am ready to forgive them for what they did.
December 2nd, 2017 4:47pm
I would approach them in private the first time and ask them if they were actually spreading rumours. Depending on the answer, I would either apologise and monitor the situation from the background or if they admitted they were spreading nasty rumours I would ask them to stop and explain that I will involve an adult/police or other authority person to deal with it.
December 6th, 2017 4:39pm
Its not about how others view me, its about how I view myself. I know who i am. Just stay positive. I used to be the victim of bullying and negative rumors until i learned that we are all different. When i learned to accept myself, no one's opinion mattered.
December 12th, 2017 8:10pm
I would pretend it doesn't faze me and hope it goes away. If it however gets worse I would report it to someone I trust
December 28th, 2017 4:11pm
I would be calm with them and not rise to their level. These people only want a rise out of you and want you to react in a negative way. This will encourage them to continue. Everyone has different ways to deal with this. The way I deal with this is to laugh it off and in some cases, I turn it into a joke because once you turn it into a joke and laugh at it yourself, it's no longer amusing to the other person. I'm not saying this is the right way but everyone has different ways to deal with the people who might say negative comments or rumours.
January 7th, 2018 9:56pm
Let them know that their lies are just that - lies, and let them know that they're affecting you in a negative way. Often, people don't realize that the rumors they're spreading are entirely incorrect, and if they do and it's just for fun, they usually don't know how much harm they're causing. In my experience, people will stop if they realize they're really doing bad things to you and your mental health. Being genuine is always the best path!
January 28th, 2018 6:05am
Ask them straight why they feel the need to be so mean. I once had a similar experience and the person was my ex best friend. I called her up and asked her straight. She told me that she was bitter that a close friend of hers had a crush on me and she wanted him to stay away from me. I told her that there's no hard feelings from my side, and that people who know me, will know whether the rumours are true or not. Then I hung up and the same night, I said yes to the guy who had a crush on me. 2 years since, we're still together and that girl is happy in a new group of friends. Clear communication is the key.
February 14th, 2018 5:53pm
Tell them how it makes you feel. Talking to the people in person and telling them what they are doing makes you feel a certain way is helpful.
February 23rd, 2018 11:14pm
You don't even need to confront them, because by defending yourself you create suspicion. Let it pass by and people will eventually find out the truth. Rumours are after all just rumours.
March 1st, 2018 6:50am
Hey love! Just go ask them if they've spread a rumor against you and then ask them the reason. You can just let them know how you felt and give them slap with your words. please do all this face to face and not over text or call.
March 2nd, 2018 8:30am
Try to explain him or her the impact which the negative rumors had on you. Explain that the purpose of your confrontation is not to make them feel guilty, but to make them understand that they would not enjoy or tolerate this if someone else spread rumors about themselves. Detail your feelings, the impact on your relationships and make sure they understand how it is to be in your situation - to walk in your shoes a bit. Try to think, also, about his or her motivation, because you may find out that this person lacks something (self esteem, meaningful relationships) and is trying to cover this gap by gossipping. If you have the occasion, talk about this, too, and show this person a better path to create relationships. The next step would be forgiveness. Show him or her that you can raise above this situation, forgive and be ready to move on, but not before you make sure that the respective person will not spread any future negative rumors.
March 16th, 2018 1:07am
It takes a lot of courage to confront someone. Make sure you tell this person what the effect of his/her actions are, how it makes you feel, and how you would appreciate it if that person would be more honest in the future.
March 30th, 2018 12:30pm
You should speak to a teacher or your parents first who can arrange to sit you and the group that you want to confront down.
April 6th, 2018 8:52pm
Keeping my integrity and compassion in mind, I would approach them calmly to ask if they could speak to me in private for a moment. After I would in short explain to them it makes me feel little when they spread misinformation and to stop. Once is all it takes and I go about my way. I harbor no attachment after because I realize the issue is more within that person than it is about me.
April 12th, 2018 11:10pm
Remember not to stoop to their level. Always confront them in a mature way, and handle it with confidence.
April 22nd, 2018 6:46am
Go to them and ask them you wanna have a talk. Talk about it. Talk about the rumor that have been spreading about you. And then let them clear their side and you tell them about yourself so that they dont have any doubt about you.
April 29th, 2018 5:35pm
in my opinion, you should go to those who don't think of themselves as judgmental people and ask them about the topic "judge" and what they know about it and what would they do if somebody judged them. one time, i heard one of the my friends(who also judges me) saying that she is scared of judgment and of being embarrassed and that what made me believe that some judge each other without even knowing it. if you want to confront them about the spreading rumors about you that are wrong, you can act like you didn't hear or know that they did and correct these wrong and false rumors in front of that person while you're talking with someone else. that would grab their attention. honestly, i'm very sensitive when it comes to this topic because that is what i'm hardly dealing with these day and i was actually going to start a project in my school about it next week! i will go ask some people (other than my friends in class) about judgment and what would they to ease it and i will go to those who i know judge all the time and ask them the same and compare their answers! wish me luck! XoXo
May 5th, 2018 2:00am
You could have a talk with a school counselor or have a talk with your parents. They will want the best for you and help you confront these people.
May 12th, 2018 5:03am
First it's important to have the facts straight, follow the grape vine as best you can and then confront the source. Have facts and bring backup, it can get tense and hard to confront this. It's better to use "I" statements as taught in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, instead of "You" statements, as then they don't feel like you are attacking them. Keep calm, and don't get too emotional, use your logic and if it gets heated, walk away. If they don't stop, just try your best to ignore it and teach others that it's not okay to spread gossip and rumors. If someone approaches you about a rumor about you, tell them the truth, combat the current rumor by spreading the truth about yourself, but only about yourself, not others. If you are a teenager and it is a safety issue, report it to adults to help you solve it. Same goes if you are in college.
May 25th, 2018 1:35pm
I ask them to talk privately and ask them what’s wrong and why are they doing this? Lashing out at someone is never the right thing. Just because they are doing something that hurts you doesn’t mean you have to get back at them by doing the same. If they continue, just ignore them and if anyone asks about it, explain that it is just a negative rumor.
June 27th, 2018 5:43am
You don't. Let your actions speak for yourself. You will see those who are genuine person who cares for you
July 5th, 2018 12:57am
Stand up to them tell what they are doing is not ok tell your parents and teachers so they can Watch out for it and make sure that they understand that what they’re doing is not right and that you never ever do itIf there is spreading things that are not true make sure to tell the people that what they’re saying isn’t true and tell them
July 6th, 2018 5:52pm
First you can the people who are spreading negative rumors about you to stop. Of course tell them to stop in a nice and polite manner. If they don’t stop, you can tell somebody or an trusted adult. Trusted adult like Teachers, parents, tutor, guardians. If you’re too shy, you can try talking to a Friend first. Preferably a close Friend. Or you can consult your school’s counsellor. If you told a Friend, and things get worse, you have to tell your tecaher.
July 19th, 2018 6:08am
Be sure they are in fact doing this. Once you have the undeniable proof, muster the confidence to confront them one on one. Be civil in your approach. Yelling and screaming will not solve the problem. Be true to your feelings and only speak about yourself and how you feel. Use "I" language. By referring to others that may be in a similar place, you run the risk of alienating yourself because it's not about others here. Regardless of the outcome, walk away knowing you spoke the truth and they now know your position on the matter. Good luck.
August 11th, 2018 12:15pm
I become extra nice to them so that they feel ashamed of what they did! And then I just be myself, neither do I start talking about it nor do I try to avoid if they ask anything.
August 23rd, 2018 5:16pm
You can start by letting them know that you are aware it is them that is spreading the rumors, and continue to try and find out a reason for why they are spreading it. Some times it is a simple misunderstanding, or some other reason, so jumping to conclusions and getting angry will not solve the issue. A lot of time people who purposely spread rumors have some self-driven for doing so. Trying to get to the bottom of this issue can help you to understand more of why the person chose you specifically, and may allow you to help them solve an issue of their own. Always be the bigger person.
September 15th, 2018 10:23am
You can effectively confront people who are spreading negative rumours about you by finding a group of people you trust and going up altogether to confront those people. You are stronger in a group, so it would be more likely that they back off. If you can't find anyone you trust, walk over to the people spreading the rumours confidently, and ask why they're doing it. Tell them to stop. If they refuse to, the best thing to do is tell a trusted person of authority who can make them stop. For example, at school, you would tell a teacher, professor, or principal.
October 3rd, 2018 9:29pm
Well you really do have to first decide whether or not you want to and that understand the possible consequences of doing so or deciding not to. If you do decide to confront them make sure that you don't come across as overly aggressive because that could make things escalate but also don't appear to timid or weak because that can also make things worse. Just calmly explain why what they're doing can't and isn't going to continue and don't give them any time to fight you on that. Don't escalate things unless they give you serious reason to and make sure that you are properly prepared if you or they do.
October 4th, 2018 9:37am
Well, here are some thoughts from my personal experience: I have been overthinking over what people are saying behind my back for quite a while. Feeling guilty had become my everyday life. Then one day one, as I was telling one of my friends what these people might say about me, she asked me "Is it true?" It's a really simple question, yet really powerful. I realised that it wasn't true. From then on I stopped acting either guilty or aggressive about it, because it simply wasn't true. My true friends, the people who know exactly who I am never believed the rumours, and those whom I didn't know, and believed at first, once they got to know me realised that what they'd heard was false. You have nothing to worry about. Just make sure you are feeling ok about yourself, and confronting them doesn't have to involve fights etc. Just be fearless, walk among the people who make you the centre of their universe with your chin up, and life will take care of itself.
November 18th, 2018 1:26am
Go into the situation calm. Approach the person and ask if you're able to talk to them, it would be best to do this one on one as to avoid the feeling of an ambush. Take them somewhere where you can speak privately and begin the conversation in a non-confrontational way. If you have evidence the person is spreading the rumors reveal this straight away, ask the reason behind it. Perhaps they are just spreading gossip or if they dislike you ask nicely first that they stop - express the effect that it's having on you. Stand your ground and try to reason. If they continue to spread rumors and it's in a work/school environment - report to a teacher or human resource department. If they're spreading rumors to friends and family it's best to debunk the rumors to each individual and trust that those who know you won't believe them. Good luck :)