How to socialise at work without getting into gossip

By Priyanka Gupta|29th Nov 2016
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No matter where you work, there are some patterns you will always be able to observe. There will be some people who have the latest updates about everyone’s personal and professional lives. There will also be a few people who define the mantra ‘work, eat, work, sleep, repeat’. They communicate with no one and keep to themselves. However, it is very important at a workplace to create and maintain amiable relationships with the people around. Studies also reveal that employees who aren’t social at work are often less productive than others. Hence, the need to be social can be understood.

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It is genuinely very difficult to keep away from office politics and also be friendly with people on the floor.

Let’s discuss a few ways of being social yet keeping a distance from office politics.

Light conversations

For starters, if you are new to socialising at work, keep the conversations minimalistic. Avoid speaking about your managers, your job roles, company policies, and most importantly, do not complain.

Try to bring some positivity in the conversation; you may mention what you did over the weekend or talk about hobbies. This way, conversations will grow without involving office or politics.

Change the topic

In office routine, it is difficult to avoid gossip. Quite often, one unknowingly slips into the labyrinth of gossip. Every time you start gossiping, try to change the topic. If your colleague is complaining and gossiping, politely listen and refrain from participating. It is best to excuse yourself from the chat and get back to work or skilfully change the topic.

Expand your circle

One starts to gossip only when they get too comfortable with a person. Take the different opportunities that come by to meet new people who you don’t work with. This not only makes you look forward to speak to someone about something different but also helps you be away from gossip.

Do not break the line of communication

Socialising in the office often gives rise to the grapevine, which leads to the spreading of rumours and unwanted negativity. Resist passing on information which hasn’t been received officially. Also discourage people around you from doing so.

Stay focused

Office politics involves a lot of drama. Be bold enough to walk away from these situations and get back to work. When you get involved in these situations, work takes a back seat. The reverse happens when work is given importance and focus. At work, not being distracted by gossip and unprofessional behaviour can prove to be your real asset.

Words matter

Always have kind and appreciative words to say about your coworker. Having an upbeat attitude spreads positivity around and influences others as well. Energy is highly contagious and words are often the harbinger of energy. Choose your words carefully to create a friendly environment around you.

As mentioned time and again, yes, it is difficult to control gossiping in office. However, what really can be controlled is the way you react to it. Though social interactions are encouraged at the workplace, it is expected to be done within the bounds of professionalism.

Gossiping is often viewed as unprofessional and immature. In grave situations, it may taint your image or lead to the risk of losing your job.