Why Do People Badmouth Me?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about coworker negative talk:

I helped a work colleague some time back. Now I need my money but that person has created a ruckus and has started badmouthing me to other friends. They even send me an insulting message. I am really sad.

Signed, Sad

Dear Sad:

If I understand correctly some time back, you loaned money to a coworker; I’ll call that individual Jan. Recently you asked Jan to return that money, but Jan refused. Instead you have heard that Jan has told others something that has cause disrespectful talk about you and someone sent you an insulting message.I can sympathize with you.

Many years ago, I too loaned money and learned that some of those to whom I loaned it didn’t return it. Unfortunately, not all individuals behave responsibly. Moreover, I’ve noticed that because they don’t want to be asked to return money they borrowed, they avoid the individual who made the loan. Yes, it is so disappointing that one loses faith in people. You’ll have to decide if you can confront Jan and come to an agreement of when and how the money will be paid back, such as paying back a certain amount each paycheck. Or you will have to simply consider loaning the money a mistake.In your case, you probably will not get the money back unless you have written proof that you made the loan. It is not your boss or management’s responsibility to get the money back for you. But it is your boss’ job to prevent and/or correct conflict among employees that distracts them from working together efficiently and effectively.

Therefore if the badmouthing continues, go to your boss to ask that she/he stop it. Bosses can’t completely stop gossip, but they can insist that talk at work should focus on assigned work and that messages not be sent that interfere with you your coworkers, such as by email. The important thing is that you don’t allow this unhappy experience with Jan to sour you working with all coworkers. It will be a challenge not to become bitter about this. But you can survive. So keep your chin up and focus on what matters at work. Focus on how you might be an employee who works well with others; trying to make their jobs easier and more effective. Be a cheerleader who encourages and when your coworkers do something that deserves applause, give them a high five the same way a one player praises another who has just caught a touchdown pass. This is to say, move on.

Don’t allow Jan or some other coworkers to spoil your day or spirit. Turn your mind away for what happened. Let the past be past. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS is my way of saying see the big picture. Do all you can to not let petty things like badmouthing sour you on your job. I hope these few thoughts show you that you can get over sadness

William Gorden