Moises: How to handle a rumor when it’s about you

Darwin Moises.
Darwin Moises.File photo

@JULIUS: I am part of a civic group and eventually became one of the national leaders. It was a fruitful stint with me and my home club receiving multiple recognitions at the end of the service year. Unfortunately, it also made me a problem. Not sure if it really is. But a particular lady developed feelings for me, a sentiment I couldn’t reciprocate. Despite my efforts to maintain a professional distance, she persisted in sending me morning greetings and checking whether I had already eaten. I opted for a restrained response to avoid any misinterpretation. Furthermore, I politely declined her offers of assistance. Unfortunately, her well-established connections within the organization empowered her to spread rumors about me. She alleges that I am unfriendly, involved in a relationship with a fellow member, and solely motivated by the desire for recognition in my leadership role. Regrettably, these unfounded rumors have gained traction, causing a rift and a noticeable shift in the behavior of my peers and friends. A sense of isolation. Even exclusion. Should I continue ignoring this matter or should I do something about it?

DJ: I feel you. I’ve been through the gossip mill myself, even questioning whether there was indeed something that’s wrong with me. It’s crucial to recognize our imperfections. However, perfection is an elusive standard. Be kind to yourself. Nobody is flawless. As a friend once reminded me, “No one kicks a dead dog.” If someone is trying to bring you down, it’s a sign that you’re above them. Don’t forget that, dude. No thanks to them for making you the center of their world!

It’s quite a spectacle, observing this recipe for drama. Gossip, rumor, jealousy even. This Marites will continue to roast these for as long as she lacks self-esteem. Intriguingly, some scholars argue that this gossip tendency isn’t just a Filipino phenomenon. It’s a universal trait. Psychologist Robin Dunbar even likens it to primates grooming each other as a way to bond, highlighting its evolutionary roots in maintaining socially functional groups. Keep in mind that whatever’s happening can be a cunning attempt to downgrade your qualities. It’s possible that she’s employing this as her self-esteem booster shot. A symptom of an insatiable thirst for validation. Rallying people to her side of the ring. Her behavior is a red flag. You made the right decision not liking her back. Kudos!

Given her well-connected status, it’s not shocking that these rumors are catching fire. Sadly, there will always be people who talk trash about everyone. Your success seems to attract envy, pulling in those who lack the hustle to achieve what you have. It’s a bummer, but the pettiness is more about them than it is about you. Though it’s tempting to take it personally, the wise move is to brush it off. Gossip is often best handled by giving it zero attention. Your reaction sets the vibe for others. If you treat the rumors with a “whatever” attitude, others will likely follow suit. So, keep vibing higher and let your success drown out the noise.

If the organization’s vision still aligns with your vibe, just stay on the grind. Don’t stoop to the level of those possibly acting all tacky. There are likely good people in the organization too. Those spreading rumors only make themselves look like clowns to the real ones. Also, try not to ghost your usual activities. That’ll just make you more isolated. Instead, flex on the gossip by living your life like it’s NBD.

Want her to stop spreading false info? Go for it. But keep it chill and polite, then bounce. She’s not worth your time. Make it a one-time thing. It might just be a ploy for attention. If you think you can quietly leave the org, do it. There are plenty of other places to make a difference without the drama. Don’t hesitate to make significant life changes to escape toxicity. Your call. Please take care of yourself and prioritize your positive space. That’s how you best contribute to the world. Wherever you are, whatever you do.


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