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

140 Answers
Last Updated: 04/12/2020 at 8:23am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Stacy Overton, PhD.


I am an enthusiastic life-long learner and also a professor of counseling. I have a passion for peoples stories and helping to guide and empower the human spirit.

Top Rated Answers
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.
May 15th, 2019 6:10am
The reason people spread rumors is due to insecurity, point blank period. As someone who has had 100% unfounded rumors spread about her on several occasions, including a pregnancy rumor, I have not found confrontation to be an effective tactic for dealing with rumors. The reason for that is that someone who is acting deceitfully about spreading rumors will not have qualms about lying to your face when disavowing responsibility or doubling down on the supposed veracity of the rumors. Defamation is hard to deal with, but you are better off focusing on how to lift yourself up and potentially reexamining the company you keep.
May 19th, 2019 6:21pm
To confront someone that has been spreading negative rumors about me I would take someone with me to witness the exchange so they couldn't say things that weren't said and just talk to them and get to the bottom of the reason why they are spreading the rumors. Lets face it when someone is spreading rumors there is always an underlying reason why. The only way to fix it is to find out what the problem is and try to find a way to resolve it. This way you aren't just stopping the current rumor that is being spread, but you prevent more rumors from being started.
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 1st, 2019 11:46pm
The way that I have learned to effectively confront people is to do so in such a way where you still realize that they are a person too. They have feelings, and emotions just like all of us. So, when you feel the need to confront someone, first analyze why you want to do so, and make sure that it will be worth it. Then, I would recommend to never confronting anyone in a super public area, try to get them one-on-one. Then it creates an environment where they can't rely or blame other people. I hope that it works out! :)
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.
March 29th, 2020 6:08pm
Talk it through what them. I stay opened minded & listen to both perspectives. For example, when my sister & I get into arguments. I always try my best to listen to her view on things. I try my best to always come to an agreement if I can’t come to an agreement because the other person is too stubborn I’ll just give them space & leave the scenario. I’ll try talking to them later when they are calmer & willing to listen. It can be hard to confront but it is the best way to communicate & alone things
April 12th, 2020 8:23am
MMmmm. Sometimes I like to take the bull by the horn. I like to ask this people concerned why they seem to think my story is so important that they are spending their precious time spreading it. But I will keep in mind my boundaries on how to speak to them. Confrontations can be done in an amicable way . I need to watch my voice , facial expression , gestures and choice of words. I might even rehearse a little before I actually speak to the people concerned. The bottom line is : Emerge from the confrontation elegantly, gracefully , politely and feel good about yourself. That's empowerment and it would be a fantastic bonus for your growth.