What makes people spread rumours? We have all been there; for some reason, people seem to say to stories about me all the time, I’m always thinking if someone has something to say, say it, but apparently, I’ve been in South America necking on with some Spanish guy or been having a cat fight with someone.
Which I have not done! Some of the reasons have to do with the person, and some have to do with the organisation’s work. Here are some of the most common reasons why people spread rumours.
Not enough facts
When companies fail to share information with their employees, rumours fill the void. Any little bits of truth will be stretched out and made to look like the whole truth.
When there isn’t enough work to do, employees will look for other things to do. One way is to talk to other people about other people.
Hoping for the best
Did you hear everyone got a raise this year because of the union? Did you hear that all employees can take an early retirement package from management?
Fear when bad news comes out
This kind of rumour is likely to spread quickly, especially in a bad work environment. People are curious about layoffs, policy changes, administrative reassignments, and other bad news and tend to look for any information they can find.
People’s guesses about changes to come
When a significant change happens, employees are likely to wonder and guess about the details and effects of the change.
Envy People sometimes say bad things about someone to hurt them
Gossip is about people who seem to be doing well or have something others want, like power, beauty, a good name, or money. Most gossip doesn’t focus on people who are down and out, but there are a few exceptions.
To bring oneself up
This is the other side of the coin of bringing others down. Sometimes there isn’t a specific person or thing to bring down. Instead, our sense of being okay needs to be built up. For example, if someone at work is getting divorced, you might not feel as bad about your marriage problems.
Some people are mean and will start malicious rumours or gossip attacks for no reason. They do this just for the fun of it.
Not being aware
Some people don’t know that rumours aren’t true, so they tend to pass them on. Don’t let this lack of awareness hold you back. Be sure to find out if a rumour is accurate before you spread it. This also applies to email rumors.
To show that they know what’s going on
People who make a living spreading rumours are thought to understand better what is going on. A person who’s given confidential information feels included.
On the other hand, those being talked about feeling left out. When you examine why people spread rumors, you’ll notice that some are worse than others. If someone applies rumours to talk during a coffee break, they are likely to do less damage than if they did it to hurt someone else.
The next time you hear a rumour, remember this list of reasons people spread rumours to help you decide how damaging the story is and the best way to deal with it.