A little bit of office gossip may seem fun and harmless, but nothing can ravage a healthy work environment faster than the spread of rumors. The best way to handle office gossip is simply to stay out of it, because the second you help spread the gossip you officially become part of the drama. By keeping your true opinion to yourself, you protect yourself from any gossip backlash later. If you value your job security and your own dignity in the workplace, this is the right way to go.
However, the practice of gossip abstinence is easier said than done. You will probably pick up on the fact that there are certain people who are anxious to talk trash about others. Or, at other times, you may feel the strong urge to vent to someone else about a boss or coworker. No matter how strong the urge may be, though, don't do it! This is definitely not the game you want to play, no matter what others say or do to convince you otherwise.
If you stay focused on your work, there will be no time for getting involved with office gossip. Come in, do your work, and go home. That is what the boss expects you to do, and that is the best course of action to take, especially when you are the new person in the office. If you keep to yourself with small talk and idle chit chat, there is nothing to worry about. Most people eventually become friends with their coworkers, and gossip does eventually come up. At best, though, it should never come up when inside the actual office.
When co-workers try to get you to talk about something you don't feel comfortable discussing, just bow out gracefully. Tell them you have to make a phone call or that the project you are currently working on needs attention. This is the best solution in response to those who want you to join them in the rumor mill. You don't need to play that game, so be strong, and don't. Walk away from situations you know will cause trouble in the long run.
If you find yourself in a situation that is impossible to get away from and the conversation turns nasty about a co-worker, resist the urge to take part in it. If you get pinned down with no other option than to say something, make sure you turn the conversation in a different direction. Praise the person that is being talked about with their good points. This will put everyone else on notice that you are not going to take part in the gossip party. Plus, you will be able to walk out of there with your head held high, knowing you didn't succumb to the negativity going on.
After awhile, you will be able to tell those who like to take part in gossiping and manage to stay clear of them. It's easy to do and you can never go wrong with that plan of action.