How to Confront Gossiping Family Members

by Robin Raven
Help your daughter navigate tricky social and emotional situations by role-playing the possibilities.

Help your daughter navigate tricky social and emotional situations by role-playing the possibilities.

Family is very important. From our first memories to our last, family will be leading the way. The ties that bind families together are mysterious and undeniable. In order to have a family that is functional, all the family members need to treat one another with respect. Gossiping about a family member is very disrespectful. When a family member is gossiping about you, it is alright to feel angry, shocked and betrayed. You can do something about it, and here is how one should confront a gossiping family member.

Initiate a normal conversation. Be friendly and courteous. Ask the family member about herself, and talk about yourself.

Be direct when steering the conversation towards the gossip. Try to avoid using the name of the person who confided in you about the gossiping family member. State the lie, and reaffirm the truth about the lie. Even if the gossip was based in truth, express your knowledge that she has spread the wrong form of the truth.

Express your anger at the betrayal in a non-confrontational manner. Simply put, state how you are feeling. Let her know how she has hurt you, and explain what this gossip does to your life. Get it all out without being accusatory. It will be obvious that she is guilty, and she will know that she is the cause of this dismay. Being too in-your-face can put her of the defense, and the result can be the opposite of what is needed. A true gossip could use such a situation to gossip all the more. You want to arrest the gossip by stating your truth in a clear, kind and firm way.

Tell her how you want the problem solved. If it would make you feel better, ask her to talk to all the family members. This lie needs to be erased. Offer to help or verify that she has spoken with these family members, and request further steps to rectify the situation. You have been wronged, and you should have control over what makes it right again.

Make sure that she takes steps to solve the problem in a way that makes you feel better. Promises should be kept, and you should call her to task if she neglects to heal the situation.

Accept a sincere apology. Family will be your family forever. You should never put up with abuse, and there are some situations where family members must part ways. Try to resolve the situation so that it doesn't escalate to that level. There is no need for it to do so. If she is truly sorry, accept the apology. Make it clear that the situation must never repeat itself.

Proceed with caution. Forgive completely, but don't forget right away. She should start at square one with trust. Let her build up that trust gradually with you. Treat her the same, except refrain from trusting her with confidences until she has earned that trust yet again.

Tip

  • You get more bees with honey than vinegar! That's the old saying. Approaching things kindly will reap you far greater results!

Warning

  • Don't be afraid to stick up for yourself, even if it is too your elders. Nobody should spread lies about you!

About the Author

Robin Raven was first published in 1998. She has contributed to newspapers, magazines and online publications, including "The Malibu Times," "Act'ionLine" for Friends of Animals, USA Today Travel Tips and the official Melissa Gilbert website. Raven specializes in travel, health, beauty, culture, vegan nutrition, joyful living, arts and entertainment. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in writing.

Photo Credits

  • Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images