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

161 Answers
Last Updated: 03/18/2021 at 6:41am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Lisa Groesz, PhD


With evidenced based therapies, we find the root of the problem together to implement solutions. We all face crises, transitions, or disorders at some time.

Top Rated Answers
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 :)
November 19th, 2018 6:46pm
I would go up to them and ask why they are spreading negative things about me. Rather than get people to talk for me or hear what is happening from everyone else, I would cut straight to the point and just ask them why they are spreading negative rumors about me. I would not let the issue go until it is resolved between the two of us. I feel like communication is the most effective tool, and rather than get all mixed up with what rumors were spread about me and what wasn't said about me, I would ask them directly what they have said, and why
November 30th, 2018 5:11pm
You don't have to waste your time on unwanted things. Just clearing out things with the people who cares for u is the thing you should do. People have spread rumors about me too, so i know how it feels. But if its below the belt u should just go and clear it out with them on their face in public. If being polite doesn't work(in most cases it won't) then u should tell it to any senior in school,college,etc wherever you are.. sometimes laying back doesn't help. And these people needs to taste the medicine.. i hope this helps.. whatever it is just go and say it to their face..
December 2nd, 2018 12:21am
I don't confront them as that is the administrators job, I report them to you and expect you to deal with them. I hope that you deal with anyone who is abusive to your Listeners promptly and appropriately, however, judging by past experiences you do neither, you allow people to abuse your unpaid staff and brush everything under the carpet or just delete their accounts and forget it ever happened. Many an ex Listener have said the same, but you continue to ignore every question about this through this way of communicating with you, this is the only way Listeners can get their problems seen by you all sat watching and hoping we will direct these poor people to your expensive therapy, I will never send anyone to you for that
January 13th, 2019 7:19pm
I think that's a very difficult question to answer. It depends on what kind of rumors and who is spreading them. If someone is spreading rumors about your feelings toward someone, it's best to talk to the person they are talking about. If you know who started the rumors or who is spreading them, it could also help to confront them face to face. Make sure that you stay calm and respectful, if they are spreading rumors chances are they want to get a rise out of you. But the best course of action is to just breathe. If the rumors aren't dangerous or if they aren't very serious, sometimes the right choice is to just talk with a friend and wait for it to blow over.
January 18th, 2019 8:36pm
You confront them with the truth. You ask why the person is talking like that about you. Stay friendly and don't get personal. I think that if you confront the person with the things she did, maybe she will notice that she did something wrong. If you would start talking about her in a negative way as well, you wouldn't help yourself and you would be just as bad as the other person. And maybe she/he didn't want to talk about you bad. Maybe its a misunderstanding or the person doesn't understand whats shes doing false. Give her the chance to change herself.
February 17th, 2019 8:11pm
Getting to the root of the issue is key to finding a way to resolve the conflict so, I start by asking the person if I've done something that has hurt them or caused concern and why they are spreading rumors. I try to listen without judgement and let them know that I'd like to resolve the problem. If the person isn't receptive, I understand that this is my cue to let it go and move on because I know I've done everything within my power to try. I find it's best to confront a situation like this as early on as possible so that the issues don't continue. Generally the person spreading the rumor will stop if they no longer have an audience.
April 5th, 2019 4:04pm
I feel that to effectively combat a person spreading rumours, you have to figure out why they are doing it. It could be bullying, jealousy or simply a cruel sense of humour. It is important to not have it go on though. When I was at high school somebody spread mean-spirited rumours that me and a friend were dating. It seemed to stem from somebody jealous, that wanted to try and distance me and my friend. I found it best to realise that the rumours said more about the person spreading them than they did about me. If anybody brought it up I would just clearly state that we were not dating and the comments were inappropriate. It was hard to not get emotional and angry about the situation, but if I had done that it would have given the gossipers what they wanted.
August 3rd, 2019 8:25pm
Be assertive. Don't be afraid to be honest and tell the person how you feel and don't be afraid to say no when you want to. Tell them the truth and ask them to stop spreading rumors. Tell them that it is wrong and then tell people the truth about you. Keep asserting yourself and dont be passive-aggressive or aggressive and just be yourself and don't be afraid and be honest and live up to your standards and do the things you say you will. And just be assertive don't be afraid at all. Tell them what you feel.
September 1st, 2019 11:56pm
ask people around first of all and get facts about the rumour. Talk to those who have only heard the gossip. Try talk to your friends about it. Try to keep this conversation as low key as possible so that the friend doesn't tell the gossiper you are asking around. Remember, your goal is not to pick a fight or cause more drama with this person. You simply want to clear your name and make sure no one spreads more gossip about you. Tell the person that you need to talk in private, but try not to sound overly upset or dramatic. Picking a fight or yelling won't solve anything so try stay calm and collected. Try to stick to the facts and avoid emotional words or accusations. Just be direct with them. Wait patienly for an answer as some people are afraid of confrontation and will not know how to respond if you confront them. In fact some people have such intense social anxiety that a confrontation can cause a full blown panic attack. The persom may put themselves in denial. If the person denies having gossiped about you, let it go, but be sure you emphasize why this matters so much to you. Try to be the bigger person. You can't make people like you, or even be kind to you
October 11th, 2019 2:51pm
I try any time I can to let someone who is negatively affecting me what they are doing. I go about it in a kind and respectful way in order to keep things calm between me and them while still maintaining the peace. This doesn't always work out the way I plan but in any case it's always better to be calm and considerate when confronting someone about something like rumors. If you don't keep calm and collected and end up getting into a verbal or even physical fight it will not only affect you but everyone around you. If you ever find yourself in a situation of frustration or sadness over a situation you should effectively communicate and confront the issue.
November 23rd, 2019 5:26am
I do my best to find out who has heard the rumors, ask them what they heard and try to explain my side-if they believe me, great, if not it's ok. then when I find the person who started the rumor, I ask them to sit down and talk with me about why they are saying what they are saying about me. I do not try to convince them that what I am saying is true, but rather I empathize with them to the best of my ability and make polite, respectful suggestions on what we might do together.
January 24th, 2020 12:15am
I am so sorry that someone is spreading rumors about you. That is such a frustrating thing to happen. BUT it's great that you want to address it. In this situation I would definitely ask the person(s) first what their version of the story is before you accuse them. To start out a conversation with accusations means that those people will immediately be defensive and that will usually end up in a no-win battle. So ask them if they are saying (what ever it is they are saying). When they say no (I assume they will just deny). Tell them how hurtful it is to have something like that done to you. Let these people know that you are going to call them out. If they do not respond well, walk away. If they are apologetic, ask them why they wanted to do that in the first place. Maybe (hopefully) it can be resolved through a calm discussion.
January 25th, 2020 7:58pm
I usually ask what’s going on with them. “What Sally says about Susie speaks more about Sally than Susie” is something I live by. If an individual feels the need to spread negative rumors about me, I recognize that they are struggling with something themselves. Generally it’s a feeling of inadequacy. Sometimes people value other people’s opinions of them more than they value their own. This is detrimental to ones positive emotional well being. People will show you their true self eventually. A person who spreads negative rumors about other people has their own struggles and issues to deal with and feel the need to put others down in order to uplift themselves.
March 4th, 2020 4:24pm
I ask them, first if it is true before assuming that they said it. And if they did I just ask them, do you want to talk about what I have done to make them feel that way and if they don’t want to I give them space and wait until they’re ready to speak and if they want someone else like and adult to talk to or someone they can speak to comfortable I will help them to go see that person and we can both discuss it with some that is able to help us both get through it
March 18th, 2020 11:20pm
I ask to speak to them in private and I ask them exactly what they are saying about me and why they are saying these things about me. I ask them where they got this information or what gave them that idea about me. I correct them and explain to them the truth and that they should come directly to me and ask me about what they are being told or any vibes they may get from me. I let them know that I'm an open book and a very honest person. There's no reason to spread rumors about me instead of simply coming to me with it.
March 24th, 2020 9:48pm
This seems like a really difficult situation for you and can be hard to deal with if things like this make you anxious or do not come naturally to you, which confrontation is an uncomfortable and hard thing for many people to do. Try thinking about what advice you would give to a friend if they were in the same position as you. Write down your emotions and possible outcomes of different scenarios and a plan of action. Put yourself in the other person's shoes and try to imagine or understand why they are acting that way in the first place.
May 17th, 2020 11:19pm
Be direct and tell them what you have heard and why it is upsetting to you. Prepare yourself for the possibility that they may deny it. It may be necessary to involve an authority either at school or work. It's often better to start with a more direct approach, but it may not give you the desired results. Sometimes just the act of confronting them can be therapeutic. But be sure to be clear and to the point without being too accusing towards them. If it sounds like you are attacking them they may shut you down and then you'll be unable to talk to them. So be to the point, but not in an accusatory way.
June 10th, 2020 10:08pm
i ask them why they needed to make these rumors in the first place and try to solve any issues laying in-between. Everyone has a reason for the words they say so the best solution is to understand why first then provide solution. After learning why they spread these rumors, me as the reciever i try to think if my actions or attitude towards this person made them feel threatened or less confident in any way. After honestly answering this question you will figure out what exactly needs to be done further on. Always remember that those who speak to you behind your back have something to say but cannot say it to your face,
June 21st, 2020 9:03pm
first of all, make sure it's the right person who is spreading the negative rumour, because it'll be embarrassing if you got the wrong person. second make sure you have proof that the person is spreading negative rumours. Then you approach them and talk to them in light tone telling them how you feel and how you would like it to stop. Bonus step you could do is ask other people if the rumour was a negative one, because often time words get mixed up, something good can end up sounding bad. final option is to ignore and don't care and don't feed a bit of your attention to the rumour
August 6th, 2020 3:00pm
Being talked about behind your back is hard for anyone, but confronting the people who are spreading the rumours can be particularly upsetting. As someone who has had rumours shared about them, I can say that it’s something we can all get past. The first step is to understand that you’ve done nothing wrong, the rumours aren’t true and do not reflect your character. If something isn’t true, don’t let it upset you and bring you down. The rumour was created with the purpose of hurting you, you have the power to choose what upsets you and what doesn’t. When it comes to confronting the culprits behind the rumour, show them that their words didn’t hurt you, that they’ve wasted their time focussing on your life rather than their own. Make sure you also disassociate yourself with anyone who has been spreading rumours, you don’t need negative people in your life. Finally, Speak to someone of higher authority to prevent rumours being spread again, don’t let it continue. Where there is negativity there isn’t growth, and nobody has the time for childish rumours.
August 7th, 2020 11:45pm
When confronting people who aim to disseminate falsified and negative information about me, I would simply make clarifications of the truth in response to their fake narratives. This is a direct and effective approach to debunk gossips and rumors by stating one’s real opinion out loud. Furthermore, it is equally important to not let emotions get the better of me. I cannot be overcome by their obvious provocation, submitting to their negativity. I have to repudiate being subdued my negative emotions and focus on the truths and the positive things. In doing so, I can become unaffected by their negativity and lies whilst I try my best to spread positive narrative and the real truths.
August 13th, 2020 4:03pm
you don’t confront them, you take up the challenge to build a strong mindset & attitude that no matter the rumours thrown at you, you bounce back even stronger. you know you are stronger than negative words, and those people speak hate from a very low place. imagine the amount of bitterness they must have to attempt to tarnish your image. but they will always try to bring you down. you gotta stay in a constant foundation of mind that is strong to block the negativity. focus on the positive. don’t confront to fight, but confront by attitude & silence.