11 Top Reasons People Talk Behind Your Back And What To Do About It (2022)

How do you know if people are talking about you behind your back?

And once you find out they are, what can you do about it?

It’s one thing if they’re planning a surprise (one you’ll like).

It’s a very different thing if they’re saying things they know you wouldn’t like. Not cool.

You want to know why they would do such a thing.

What kind of person is friendly to your face but badmouths you behind your back?

Let’s start with that question.

People Who Talk Behind Your Back

People who talk about you behind your back generally do so for one of the following reasons:

  • They’re angry with you about something but don’t want to tell you to your face.
  • They’re jealous and want to take you down a peg but in a passive-aggressive way.
  • They’re insecure and feel the need to punish you for making them feel inferior.

Granted, that last one makes it sound like you’re responsible for their actions when you’re not. They may be so used to blaming others for the way they feel, they’ve forgotten they have the same power you have: No one can make them feel inferior.

When people talk behind your back, it says more about them than about you. And what it often says is that they’re struggling with their own identity and self-confidence.

If these are friends who talk behind your back — or people you thought were your friends — it’s time to take a closer look at the possible reasons for this behavior.

(Video) Reason why people talk behind your back

Why Do People Talk Behind Your Back?

You want to know why they’re doing this to you. What do they gain from it? And have you done the same without realizing what you were doing?

The fact is, gossip has a place in every culture. But it’s still worth looking into the reasons behind it. Once you know that, you can decide on what to do about it.

1. They’re used to talking about people behind their backs.

Some are just so used to talking about people — even people they love — they’re quick to join in a conversation about your aggravating habits or something you said the other day that surprised or offended them.

With some people, this is just a bad habit — with no conscious ill will against you. If they’re grown up around people who listen to and share gossip, they’re more likely to cultivate this habit and see nothing wrong with it.

“You know we all do it,” might be a favorite excuse.

2. They’re inveterate gossips and will use anything about you as a “gossip prompt.”

Behind their gossip is, if not ill will, at least a casual disregard for the way their words might affect you or anyone else they talk about behind their backs.

Gossip is their favorite “guilty pleasure,” though they might not feel any guilt over it. It might just be something they do to make themselves feel more interesting or more worthy of attention.

11 Top Reasons People Talk Behind Your Back And What To Do About It (1)

Talking about other people’s issues is so much easier than dealing with your own. But some folks take it a step further and are willing to ruin someone’s reputation just to feel more powerful.

3. They’re angry with you about something but not ready to talk to you about it.

This person could be a friend who’s angry with you because of something you’ve said or done (or not done). But for one of the following reasons, they won’t call you out to your face:

  • They want someone else’s validation before talking to you about it.
  • They’re so angry they’re afraid they’ll say something to you they’d regret.
  • They don’t expect you to understand or validate what they’re feeling.

With that last one, they might just be used to feeling invalidated when they confront a friend or family member about something hurtful they said or did. Or maybe they tried to bring it up in a roundabout way but felt dismissed or blown off.

4. They don’t like you and are happy to join in when people are badmouthing you.

Not everyone will like you, no matter how easy you are to like. Some folks will see things in you that they don’t like, and it often has more to do with what they see in themselves.

(Video) HOW TO DEAL WITH PEOPLE TALKING BEHIND YOUR BACK w/ Alli Simpson

Still, they may not be self-aware enough to recognize that. So, if they have juicy info to share about you — preferably something that makes you look less likable — they’ll share it whenever they get the chance.

Call it pettiness or vindictiveness. The upshot is they’re happy to punish you for the way they feel about themselves when you’re around.

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5. They feel compelled to vent about something you’ve said or done.

“I mean, who does that?” If you’ve ever overheard those words when approaching a group of friends, you probably know why they say it.

We all need to vent sometimes. And sometimes that venting will be about someone in your life, whether they’re a friend, family member, or someone you barely know. It could be an exceptionally rude or demanding customer. Or it could be a close relative or friend.

If you find out someone you consider a trusted friend is talking about you behind your back, and what they said sounds a lot like venting, it’s probably time for a heart-to-heart.

6. They feel personally attacked by something you’ve said or done.

Say you put a political sign on your front yard and then, some days later, heard that a neighbor (who’s voting for someone else) took issue with it and started spreading a scandalous rumor to turn the neighborhood against you.

Righteous anger loves an audience. And some folks, if they don’t have anything against you other than your political differences, will make things up to shock people.

Here again, pettiness or vindictiveness comes into play. They feel attacked, so they attack you with everything they’ve got (and then some).

(Video) People talk behind your back for 3 reasons by APJ Abdul kalam Motivational Quotes Whatsapp status

7. They feel insecure or jealous around you and don’t mind taking you down a peg.

Maybe you’re making things happen for yourself, and they compare their accomplishments to yours. Or perhaps they see others complimenting you on one thing or another, and they’re painfully aware that they don’t receive the same compliments.

Whatever the reason, they feel as though you cast too big a shadow when you’re around, making it harder for them to shine.

So, given a chance to make you less admirable or impressive, they’ll take it.

8. They’re unwilling to look inside themselves and deal with their own issues.

For many gossips, talking about others takes the pressure off them to deal with their issues. It gives them someone else to focus on.

Introspection, on the other hand, is like quicksand to them. It forces them to confront their problems or examine their self-talk, which can be painful. They avoid it as much as possible.

Directing a spotlight in your direction instead gives them a welcome reprieve.

9. They feel a need to fill an uncomfortable silence with something.

When they’re talking to others, they feel exposed when the talking stops. The silence feels too much like a microscope. So, they’re happy to join in if someone has juicy gossip to share. And they’ll even contribute if they’ve got something interesting to add.

Bonus points if they can shock people or get them laughing, as long as their audience isn’t laughing at them. If they can build a reputation for being a reliable source of juicy gossip (doesn’t have to be true as long as it’s newsworthy), so much the better.

10. They’ve been the victim of gossip and are trying to divert attention to you.

Think Love, Simon. Maybe this person feels humiliated and lashes out against you with gossip, so people will stop talking about them. Again, it’s a diversion tactic. But in this case, it’s a bit more desperate.

They feel an overpowering need to draw attention away from themselves. If they know something about you that can help them do that, they’ll use it.

Or maybe they’re just so tired of being the butt of other people’s jokes, they’re ready to seize on the opportunity to pass the torch.

11. They’re struggling with their identity and projecting their own issues on you.

You’re probably not the only person they project their perceived flaws onto. We all, to some degree, see in others what we dislike about ourselves.

(Video) How people talk trash about you when you leave

And sometimes, people who resist self-awareness as if fleeing from an enemy will project their issues onto you to make you look bad. Some will do this more than others, and if they have an attentive audience, they’ll amp it up.

It might be the only way they get the kind of attention they want, especially if they feel that most people (or the people they want to impress) like you better.

How Do You Deal with People Who Talk Behind Your Back?

What can you do when people talk behind your back? As you’ve probably guessed, it depends on why they’re doing it.

11 Top Reasons People Talk Behind Your Back And What To Do About It (2)

Think about that before considering the following options:

  • Call them out (privately) for not having the guts to say the words to your face.
  • Ask them why they did it and why they didn’t come to you instead.
  • Let them know what you expect of a real friend if they want to be one.
  • If the gossip is vindictive but not damaging, cut the gossip out of your life.
  • If the gossip is damaging, make sure those whose opinions matter know the truth.
  • Save your energy and let their own words echo without a response.

When in doubt, see if you can talk to the person who’s badmouthing you to get to the reason behind it. Whether they acknowledge their mistake or dismiss your concern, you’ll have a better idea of what to do next.

Is someone talking behind your back?

Now you have a better understanding of why people are talking about you behind your back, what steps will you take to deal with it?

Or is this something best answered with silence and a subtle but effective “door slam”?

If you know the reason behind the gossip, you can choose the best way to respond to it. And that might mean talking to your loose-lipped friend about what they said.

Whatever you do, remember to consider both the short-term and long-term consequences. What results are you going for? And what will it take to get them?

FAQs

Why would someone talk about you behind your back? ›

It's a sign of their own immaturity, low self-esteem, insecurity, or jealousy. There are even those that love to gossip to the point that it's almost a hobby for them. When someone talks about you behind your back they're often looking for acceptance, as an attempt to fit in.

What to do when everyone is talking about you? ›

Though you may be tempted to act out or confront the person, sometimes the best response is to ignore gossip. Just think: the person didn't give you the consideration of saying what they said to your face. Don't give them the consideration of taking it any further. Stop the negativity train by completely ignoring it.

How do you not care about what people say behind your back? ›

Here are 15 sure-fire ways to eliminate the worry and free yourself to be yourself.
  1. Focus on what matters. ...
  2. Keep perspective. ...
  3. You know best. ...
  4. Mind your own business. ...
  5. Desensitize your triggers. ...
  6. Stop overthinking. ...
  7. Seek constructive feedback. ...
  8. Don't try to please everyone.
12 May 2016

How do you stop people from gossiping about you? ›

  1. 1 Cut It Dead. Sometimes the best way to handle gossip is to cut it dead. ...
  2. 2 Laugh It off. The best response to gossip may also be to just laugh it off. ...
  3. 3 Get in First. ...
  4. 4 Don't Show You're Upset. ...
  5. 5 Be Cautious about What You Tell People - and Who You Tell It to. ...
  6. 6 Confront Them. ...
  7. 7 Understand Why They're Doing It.

How do you deal with haters and gossips? ›

Here are some ways to deal with the haters, whether the gossip is about you or those around you.
...
If the Rumor is About Other People
  1. Identify the gossip. ...
  2. Make your values clear. ...
  3. Give a compliment. ...
  4. Be direct. ...
  5. Cut ties.
20 May 2019

What is the root cause of gossip? ›

The stories they tell are make-believe histrionics designed to grab attention and to set a team of people against another or others. The root cause of gossip is almost always, without fail, jealousy. The more successful you are, the more attractive, the more kind, the more self-assured, the more people will gossip.

How do you tell if someone is gossiping about you? ›

Read on for a few body language cues that may be signs someone is talking about you behind your back.
  1. Their Personality Seems Different. enigma_images/E+/Getty Images. ...
  2. The Room Gets Quiet. ...
  3. They Seem Super Uncomfortable. ...
  4. They Freeze. ...
  5. They Seem Stiff. ...
  6. They Overcompensate. ...
  7. They Gossip About Others. ...
  8. They Can't Maintain Eye Contact.
1 Aug 2018

How do you confront a gossiper? ›

Be direct. State the rumor or gossip that has reached you and ask the person if he said those things and why. Try to be clear, but say as little as possible; too much information can be overwhelming, and the gossiper may have trouble processing everything you're saying.

Why do people talk over you? ›

Perhaps they feel talking over someone shows enthusiasm, or maybe they really do believe they know better and don't want to hear what you're saying. If this person has many long-time friends or one close best friend, chances are they have developed a habit of interrupting.

What do you call a person who talks behind your back? ›

badmouth Add to list Share. If you badmouth someone, you say unkind or critical things about them. A good friend won't ever badmouth you behind your back.

How do you get someone to stop talking to you without being mean? ›

How to Get Someone Annoying to Stop Talking
  1. 1 Interrupt them politely.
  2. 2 Redirect the conversation.
  3. 3 End the conversation clearly.
  4. 4 Set a time limit for them.
  5. 5 Make up a realistic excuse.
  6. 6 Have a friend rescue you.
  7. 7 Limit your positive feedback.
  8. 8 Ignore annoying strangers.

Why do I care what people think of me? ›

It's really healthy to care about what others think of us. That is a normal human response. We want closeness with others and we care about them, so of course we care about what they think and we care about our relationship with them. It's very healthy to care how we're viewed.

Why do people gossip about you? ›

people gossip for a variety of reasons: To feel superior. Many people who are insecure about themselves find temporary relief in judging others. Knowing something that others don't can feel empowering, and sometimes, that's all an uncertain gossiper needs.

Why do people backbite? ›

Causes. Backbiting may occur as a form of release after a confrontation. By insulting the opposing person, the backbiter diminishes them and, by doing so, restores their own self-esteem. A bond may also be established with the confidante if they are receptive to the hostile comment.

What does the Bible say about gossip? ›

Proverbs 20:19 – “He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, therefore do not associate with a gossip.” Proverbs 25:9-10 - “…don't reveal the secret of another, lest he who hears it reproach you, and the evil report about you not pass away.”

How do you defeat haters? ›

  1. Make criticism your fuel, not your kryptonite. ...
  2. Take it as a compliment. ...
  3. Get engagement by trolling back. ...
  4. Remember that successful people don't need to put others down. ...
  5. Kill them with kindness. ...
  6. Don't react, be grateful. ...
  7. Take the opportunity to check in with yourself. ...
  8. Ask whether you can learn something.
16 Aug 2018

What are examples of gossip? ›

Passing on personal details about a neighbor to another neighbor is an example of gossip. A person who chatters or repeats idle talk and rumors, esp. about the private affairs of others. The definition of a gossip is someone who reveals personal information about others.

What do you call a person that gossips? ›

Definitions of gossiper. a person given to gossiping and divulging personal information about others. synonyms: gossip, gossipmonger, newsmonger, rumormonger, rumourmonger.

What is the spirit of malice? ›

He identified malice — the intent to harm — as the major culprit behind gossip and backbiting, not just the driving force behind spiteful deeds and words.

What is the common topic of a gossip? ›

Gossip is some manner of salacious information, often about a person's relationships, love life, sexual behavior, or other personal issues they may not feel comfortable sharing, that often leads the target to feel shame, embarrassment, or pain. Gossip can occur in the workplace, in schools, and among friends.

What are the consequences of gossip? ›

1 It also can lead to depression, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, anxiety, and a host of other issues. Gossip and rumors can alienate friends, ruin reputations, and even lead to ostracizing behavior and other forms of relational aggression.

What is negative gossip? ›

Negative gossip refers to informal communications with other members (i.e., the receiver) about a negative behavior or characteristics of a third party who is absent at work (Brady et al., 2017). A growing number of studies have suggested that negative gossip can have a detrimental effect on the targets.

Why do I feel like people are talking about me? ›

Paranoid personality disorder

Paranoid personality disorder
Paranoid personality disorder (PPD) is a mental illness characterized by paranoid delusions, and a pervasive, long-standing suspiciousness and generalized mistrust of others.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Paranoid_personality_disorder
(PPD) is a mental health condition marked by a pattern of distrust and suspicion of others without adequate reason to be suspicious. People with PPD are always on guard, believing that others are constantly trying to demean, harm or threaten them.

How do you reject a gossip? ›

There are signals that someone's about to open the gossip faucet. Phrases like “I shouldn't say anything, but . . .” or the big one, “I'm going to tell you something, but you can't tell anyone else.” In the first case, you can try stopping them by saying something like, “Well, don't feel like you have to tell me.

Is gossiping a form of harassment? ›

Gossip can be an insidious form of bullying or harassment. If the intent is to demean, propagate lies or half truths about people, or designed to hurt, denigrate and destroy reputations behind people's backs, then gossip has crossed a line into workplace harassment.

How do you address a gossip? ›

Steps to Stop Gossiping

Interrupt the gossiper and say, “You sound like you have an issue with this person. Let's go talk to her/him right now.” If the gossiper refuses to do that, ask: “Then how about if we sit here and problem solve? I can coach you.”

How do I stop being ignored in a conversation? ›

Know ways to fend off interrupters
  1. Raise your voice (not in an angry way) to overpower the person trying to talk over you.
  2. Hold up your hand in a "Wait a second, I'm not finished" gesture.
  3. Say something like, "Whoa, I'm not done yet. ...
  4. Give the interrupter a "Dude, seriously?" look.

How do you deal with people who don't stop talking? ›

Here are five tips...
  1. Set a time limit to the conversation. Most people who like to talk a lot will respect your limits if you set a clear expectation with them. ...
  2. Make your talker feel heard. ...
  3. Don't be afraid to be assertive and enforce boundaries. ...
  4. Take time away for yourself. ...
  5. Treat people with kindness.
15 Aug 2021

What is a conversational narcissist? ›

But her behavior has a name though — sociologist Charles Derber calls it “conversational narcissism.” It's a person's tendency to insert themselves into the conversation, often with the desire to take over, do most of the talking, and turn the focus of the exchange to themselves.

How do you respond to someone who belittles you? ›

Use Humor. Try deflecting belittling behavior with humor. Respond with humor or exaggerate the belittling comment and make a joke out of it. Doing this could help someone to realize the outrageousness of what they have said if it is not based on solid facts or evidence.

What type of person belittles others? ›

Narcissists belittle others because they have their own insecurities, fears and flaws, and are afraid of having them exposed to others. In making hurtful comments to others, they reinforce their own feelings of importance and hide the low self-esteem and self-worth that may be lurking within.

What is it called when someone speaks badly of you? ›

derogate. in the sense of besmirch. Definition. to tarnish (someone's name or reputation)

When someone is doing something behind your back? ›

If you say that something was done behind someone's back, you disapprove of it because it was done without them knowing about it, in an unfair or dishonest way. You eat her food, enjoy her hospitality and then criticize her behind her back.

When people go behind your back? ›

If someone goes behind your back, they do something secretly or without your permission. Leonard, you haven't been completely open with me. You think I wouldn't know when you go behind my back? They go behind our backs, they withhold information, they talk down to us like idiots.

How do you know if someone cant stand you? ›

Signs that your partner can't stand you anymore
  1. They become argumentative. ...
  2. They stop showing affection. ...
  3. They make fun of you. ...
  4. They seem to enjoy it when things go wrong for you. ...
  5. They withdraw from physical intimacy. ...
  6. They become passive aggressive.
12 Jul 2019

How do you tell if people don't like you? ›

8 Telltale Signs Someone Doesn't Want to Be Your Friend
  1. #1 You Put in Most of the Effort.
  2. #2 They Actively Avoid Connecting Deeply with You.
  3. #3 They don't ask about you.
  4. #4 They Stop Reaching Out or Making Plans.
  5. #5 They Regularly Cancel Plans.
  6. #6 They Make Excuses.
  7. #7 They're Always Busy.

How do you politely shut someone down? ›

Here are the seven responses I use with people who always seem to have something negative to say.
  1. “I'm Sorry to Hear That. ...
  2. “Wow, That Sucks. ...
  3. “Ooh. ...
  4. “If Only [Name] Had the Experience/Wisdom/Work Ethic That You Did!” ...
  5. “Please, Correct Me if I'm Wrong, But It Sounds Like You're Upset Because...” ...
  6. “Oh Gosh.
19 Jun 2020

How do you politely cut someone off? ›

How to Cut Someone Off Without Being Rude
  1. Pretend to be embarrassed to accept anything from them.
  2. Casually reveal something major that you 'must've forgotten to tell them.
  3. Give extremely generic compliments.
  4. Become genuinely busy doing things they don't do.
  5. Start appearing less available on social media.
16 Dec 2021

How do I stop people from talking to me? ›

Be honest and direct. You may have many reasons to not engage in conversation at school or work. Politely and directly stating that you do not wish to speak with someone can be an effective way of communicating your unavailability. Say that you are very busy and do not feel like having a conversation.

How do I not let others affect me? ›

Here are 10 ways to stop giving people power over you.
  • Establish healthy boundaries. ...
  • Take responsibility for your emotions. ...
  • Let other people be responsible for their emotions. ...
  • Acknowledge your choices. ...
  • Live according to your values. ...
  • Forgive, and move forward. ...
  • Stop trying to prove people wrong.
9 Jan 2020

What happens when you care too much? ›

Caring is not a bad thing as it shows how much you understand others. However, the ultimate sacrifice when you care too much is your own mental health and emotional sanity. Caring too much can lead to additional stress and anxiety that you could have prevented if only you set proper boundaries on caring.

What is a word for someone who doesn't care what others think? ›

Apathetic, nonchalant, indifferent, detached, disinterested, unconcerned, oblivious, "cool." Some of these have negative connotation.

What do you call a person who talks behind your back? ›

badmouth Add to list Share. If you badmouth someone, you say unkind or critical things about them. A good friend won't ever badmouth you behind your back.

How do you tell if someone is gossiping about you? ›

Read on for a few body language cues that may be signs someone is talking about you behind your back.
  1. Their Personality Seems Different. enigma_images/E+/Getty Images. ...
  2. The Room Gets Quiet. ...
  3. They Seem Super Uncomfortable. ...
  4. They Freeze. ...
  5. They Seem Stiff. ...
  6. They Overcompensate. ...
  7. They Gossip About Others. ...
  8. They Can't Maintain Eye Contact.
1 Aug 2018

How do you deal with backbiting? ›

It is better to maintain that professional line to avoid unnecessary problems. Don't give others a chance to show you down or use your information against you," says Ronesh Puri, MD, Executive Access. Don't jump the gun every time you hear anything negative about yourself. Verify the source of your information.

What is the root cause of gossip? ›

The stories they tell are make-believe histrionics designed to grab attention and to set a team of people against another or others. The root cause of gossip is almost always, without fail, jealousy. The more successful you are, the more attractive, the more kind, the more self-assured, the more people will gossip.

What is it called when someone speaks badly of you? ›

derogate. in the sense of besmirch. Definition. to tarnish (someone's name or reputation)

Why do people gossip? ›

People also like to gossip because it gives them a sense that they possess secret information about another person, which gives them a sense of power. People want to be seen as being in the know when it comes to the latest gossip about others. If knowledge is power, gossip is turbocharged power.

How do I shut down gossip? ›

If someone comes to you with some kind of gossip or rumor or toxic talk, a very simple, “I have absolutely no opinion about that at all,” is an easy way to stop the conversation in it's tracks. It's a refusal to engage. Boom, done, that's it. And don't respond otherwise.

How do you confront a gossiper? ›

Be direct. State the rumor or gossip that has reached you and ask the person if he said those things and why. Try to be clear, but say as little as possible; too much information can be overwhelming, and the gossiper may have trouble processing everything you're saying.

Why do people backbite? ›

Causes. Backbiting may occur as a form of release after a confrontation. By insulting the opposing person, the backbiter diminishes them and, by doing so, restores their own self-esteem. A bond may also be established with the confidante if they are receptive to the hostile comment.

How do you know if someone cant stand you? ›

Signs that your partner can't stand you anymore
  1. They become argumentative. ...
  2. They stop showing affection. ...
  3. They make fun of you. ...
  4. They seem to enjoy it when things go wrong for you. ...
  5. They withdraw from physical intimacy. ...
  6. They become passive aggressive.
12 Jul 2019

How do you tell if people don't like you? ›

8 Telltale Signs Someone Doesn't Want to Be Your Friend
  1. #1 You Put in Most of the Effort.
  2. #2 They Actively Avoid Connecting Deeply with You.
  3. #3 They don't ask about you.
  4. #4 They Stop Reaching Out or Making Plans.
  5. #5 They Regularly Cancel Plans.
  6. #6 They Make Excuses.
  7. #7 They're Always Busy.

Why do people talk about you? ›

People who talk about you behind your back generally do so for one of the following reasons: They're angry with you about something but don't want to tell you to your face. They're jealous and want to take you down a peg but in a passive-aggressive way.

What is an example of backbiting? ›

One who engages in backbiting; a backbiter. The definition of backbite is to say mean or slanderous things about someone else. An example of backbite is for a political candidate to say harmful things about the character of his opponents. To make spiteful slanderous or defamatory statements about someone.

What are examples of gossip? ›

Passing on personal details about a neighbor to another neighbor is an example of gossip. A person who chatters or repeats idle talk and rumors, esp. about the private affairs of others. The definition of a gossip is someone who reveals personal information about others.

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