I am writing because I feel ashamed that I was involved in workplace gossip at one job that I had about three years ago. The reason this still stays with me is because while I was at that workplace I found myself becoming a mean person as a result of the gossip. Everyone participated in the gossip. Coworkers would often talk about each other behind their backs and then smile in each other’s faces. Interpersonal issues were never dealt with face to face by having a conversation and trying to resolve differences.Well, I ended up doing something very mean to a coworker. It all started because our supervisor and I would work an hour alone together before other coworkers would arrive to start their shift. The reason why I worked alone with the supervisor for the hour was because I was filling in that time for another coworker who had gone on vacation. During the time my supervisor and I were alone in the store, she would often tell me about the shortcomings of another coworker. Any frustration she had with certain coworkers was voiced to me. I never really chimed in with an opinion; I mostly just listened to her complaints. After about a week of coming in early at the job and hearing her complaints while trying to focus on my tasks, I lashed out at a coworker whom the supervisor always criticized. To make matters worse, this coworker and I had actually been coworker buddies for a while. We would sometimes hang out together after work and go see a movie. I don’t know what got into me on that day when I lashed out at her. That morning before that coworker came in to start her shift, the supervisor had once again been criticizing her work performance. I guess the supervisor’s critical remarks really got to me because I started to view this coworker differently than I had before I started coming into work early.Needless to say, I lost my friendship with that coworker. I realize that I only have myself to blame for that. Upon realizing that however, I thought a lot about the things that were being said about her by not only the supervisor but by other coworkers as well. They said some awful things about her. For example, one coworker would talk about this woman’s mood swings and the fact that she was on medication and how he always had to bare the brunt of her moods. Although she was taking medication, the coworker, who made this statement, only said what he said because this coworker would say something to him if he was irritating her, but I never saw her become angry with him. It felt like my mind was being poisoned to not like this woman, even though she and I had always gotten along fine before that incident. I read one question on your site in which someone felt like her coworkers were being brainwashed into not liking her, because one coworker was going around telling other employees negative things about her. The answer to that question was that people aren’t easily influenced to not like people simply because of one person’s ramblings. But I think that it is something that happens frequently. Sorry for the long rant, but I need to know how to deal with gossip in the workplace from now on, especially if it is one specific coworker who is being targeted. How do I not let workplace gossip influence my perception of the targeted coworkers? Thank you.