5 Ways to Avoid Drama at the Office

Just say “no” to workplace gossip.

Office politics—and the drama that comes with them—are often unavoidable. By request from our fans on Snapchat (follow us at @IvankaTrump), we’ve got five key ways to avoid negativity and gossip in the workplace. 5 Ways to Avoid Drama at the Office

How to Avoid Office Drama


1. Establish your boundaries

“Train your colleagues to know that you won’t engage in drama,” says Executive and Career Coach Lea McLeod. Walk away from gossipy or negative conversations. Ask for facts and ignore rumors. Some people thrive on drama—it fills a need for attention or for feeling good about themselves at another’s expense. If you deprive them of that, they’ll stop looking to you to fill that need. 

2. Limit the time you spend with gossipy colleagues

If one co-worker in particular consistently stirs up negativity or gossip, make a point of keeping your interactions to a minimum. “Don’t respond to emails that may be fraught with innuendo," Lea says. "Keep your conversations short and work-focused." 

3. Gently call out negativity

“If someone’s being super-negative and it’s getting you and others down, give them gentle feedback,” says Lea. She suggests saying “Hey, I’ve noticed when we chat, our conversation is so focused on the negative. I don’t know about you, but I could use some positivity. What’s going well for you?” It suggests that you’re in this together, reminding your co-worker how important optimism is without actually placing blame on him or her. 

4. Make it about you

Rather than go on the offensive, tell your colleagues that you have a personal policy not to get mixed up in drama. Lea suggests saying something like, “I don’t really like to talk about stuff like that,” or “It’s none of my business.” Then, change the subject. 

5. Ask for the facts

When gossip comes up, put it in its place. Say, “Oh, wow, that doesn’t sound right. Is that a fact or did you just hear that from someone?” You’ll probably be the last person they want to share rumors with in the future. “It may not change their behavior,” says Lea, “but it will take all the fun out of sharing gossip with you.”


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Image courtesy of Ivanka Trump. Illustration by Jonny Ruzzo