How to Deal With a Friend Who Gossips Too Much

No one likes an incessant gossiper.

Sure, it can be fun to talk about who's dating who and who's wearing what, but when the gossip never ends (and maybe even gets a little mean), that's no fun for anyone. If you've got a friend who just can't seem to keep their mouth shut, scroll down for some tips on how to deal with a pal who gossips too much.

Don't Engage

Assuming you're friend isn't deliberately spreading lies or mean rumors about someone, gossip can be pretty harmless. That said, if you feel like someone in your inner circle is gossiping too much, don't engage. In other words, if your pal comes to you with a juicy tidbit about a teacher or fellow student, tell them you'd rather not hear about it. While it can be tempting to judge and criticize the gossiper for their habits, resist the urge to do that, because it will only make the other person defensive. Instead, try to change the subject.


Tell Your Pal How You Feel

If not engaging with your gossip-prone pal doesn't work, try telling them how you feel. Again, it's best to reserve any judgment here. Take this opportunity to explain why you feel it's wrong to gossip about others, and, if you feel comfortable enough, relate your distaste for gossip to a personal experience you (or someone you know) may have had. After hearing your side of things, your friend will hopefully back off.

Betty and Ethel on Riverdale
(Riverdale via The CW)


Don't Feed Into Their Desire to Talk About People

If you've talked to your pal about why you dislike gossip and asked them to do it less, then you're also expected to play by your own rules. That means no running back to your pal and telling them who you saw sharing a kiss at the school dance. This one can be tricky (especially since it's easy to gossip without even realizing it sometimes), but it's only fair.


Set Boundaries That Make You Feel Comfortable

If you're gossipy buddy still hasn't taken the hint, try setting some boundaries for them to live by. Again, since cutting out gossip entirely is often more difficult than it sounds, let your friend know what's okay to talk about and, conversely, what's not. While chatter about the couples in your class is likely pretty harmless, gossip about mutual friends may not be. Set some realistic limits if the gossip is getting to you, just make sure you give your pal some time to adjust. Behaviors usually don't change overnight.

The trio of friends in The Duff
(The Duff via Lionsgate)


Keep Some Distance From Your Friend

If you've tried one or all of the above tactics and your friend still can't keep their mouth closed, it might be time to put some distance between you and this person. While an additional conversation between you and the gossiper might be helpful, it's not entirely necessary. You've repeatedly told this person how you feel about gossip, and they've chosen not to listen or care. That said, there's also no formal split that needs to happen either. People drift apart all the time for a multitude of reasons. If the gossiper is getting on your last nerve, just start spending more of your time with other friends.


For more pal-related advice, click HERE for a list of hard lessons learned from being a clingy friend.