Have you ever found out that your coworkers were talking about you behind your back?

A coworker told me that a couple of guys that we work with were talking about me, saying how they really thought I should get a man and “get out” more. They were puzzled why I never talk about my social life (like everyone else does.) The coworker says she tried sticking up for me, but she didn’t know what to say. Actually, I don’t even know why she even told me about this conversation. I didn’t really need to know about it.

I wasn’t offended or anything, but it feels weird knowing that my personal life was being discussed. I’ve heard other people being talked about behind their backs. I’ve talked about others behind their backs. But I guess I never figured that I would ever be the subject of anyone else’s conversations! Doh! :smack:

I don’t plan on acting any differently around these guys or anyone else. I yam who I yam and I’m fine having no man (or ma’am) :). I’m also not going to be making any grand confessions to anyone about why I yam the way I yam, because no one at work needs to know that kind of thing. But it did make me realize something for the first time. There are 40 something people on my floor. I don’t know everyone personally, but you spend a few minutes every day in the breakroom and you eventually learn the salient features of everyone’s life. I’m the only one in the group who’s not dating, married, or ever been married. And it will probably always be like this. This realization doesn’t make me feel sad or anything, but it does make me feel something. I just can’t describe it. Oh well. Maybe it will pass.

So I guess I shouldn’t be shocked to learn that I’ve been a “topic of the day.” I am an anomaly. Might as well get used to it.

Has anyone else made a similar discovery (that is, that people were talking about you at work, in a not-so-good way)? How did you feel when you found out? Did the discovery make you change how you behave so you would no longer be a topic of discussion, or did you just let it roll off your back? I guess it all depends on what people are talking about. If the guys were talking about my horrible BO, I would feel embarrassed. But just about anything else wouldn’t faze me. I wonder why that’s so? Seems like the reverse would be the case, right?

Yes, it’s happened. In one case, a co-worker was bitching to a friend of mine about how I’m “the golden child who can do no wrong” in management’s eyes so I heard about it pretty quickly.

I laughed it off at the time, because it was moronic to bitch to someone who was a friend of mine and who would obviously tell me. Plus, it turned out that the reason she was getting in trouble with management was due to doing a shitty job, due (at least in part) to being drunk at work. So, whatever I guess. Apparently not being a fuckup is a scandal to some.

Yes. I caught my boss gossiping about me with the lab manager, snickering about me.

That was the day I decided I would not pursue a career in academia.

People ALWAYS talk about their coworkers behind their backs, to differing degrees. Not a big deal to me.

I’ve never caught them at it, but I’ve had a couple of jobs where I was damned sure they were - doing the “everyone stop talking as soon as I walk into the room” and giving me the cold shoulder and acting strangely towards me for no reason that I knew of. In some ways I wish I had found out what problem they had with me so I might have had a chance of dealing with their problems.

You’d be embarrassed about BO because that’s something that normal hygiene should take care of, and if you were smelly it might mean that you were a slob.

The yam that you yam is something that you cannot change, any more than you could change the color of your eyes. You’ve come to accept it and are calm with it, so people talking about it doesn’t faze you.
I’ve worked at a lot of places, and in every place people talked about each other. So I kind of expect it. Some places do seem to be worse than others.

However, I don’t remember anyone telling me about it in much detail. Especially negative things. I’m not sure what my reaction would be.

I made one off-hand comment to a co-worker that I might not be straight. Pretty soon the whole store knew that I was gay. Not that I cared, but still–I hate the rumor mills places like that are.

After thinking about it some more, I’m pretty sure if they had been saying racist or sexist things about me, I’d feel some anger. My race and gender are just as a part of me as my personality.

I guess maybe I could be bothered about those guys talking about me, but the feeling hasn’t crystalized yet. Delayed reaction or something. . Perhaps I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and think about what they might have said and the way they said it, and also think about the other conversations that other people could be having, and the sad feelings will come. But really all this thinking and imagining would be counterproductive. And it’s not like they were being mean mean. It would have actually been mean–or rather rude, is more like it–if they come into my office and brought their “concerns” directly to me. So why should talking behind someone’s back always be considered a social crime?

Much to my surprise, word got back to me after my lay off that I was quite popular. I had always maintained a professional persona and had not engaged in the office drama society.

It was noted, and as it turned out, I was missed.

Sometimes I wonder what my coworkers say about me behind my back. Then again, maybe it’s not best to know such things.

I once overheard that all the guys I was working with (I was the only girl there at the time) were having bets on whether or not I’d had a boob implant… :rolleyes:

I was a bit pissed off about it, but dammit- at the time, I couldn’t even be arsed to shave my armpits, and was wearing (it was a fruit-picking job, not office work) clothes that didn’t fit, and were riddled with holes, and they think I’d have a major operation to make myself more attractive to men?? Get real guys.

I damn well wasn’t going to point that out to them though, if they were silly enough to think it, they can keep on wondering…

I’d be a lot more concerned about your so-called friend who “tried to stick up” for you. She’s a shit-stirrer. Stay far, far away.

People speculate about the personal lives of their co-workers all the time. It’s normal. What is NOT normal is trying to start workplace drama by reporting these conversations. She’s either trying to get you worked up or deliberately trying to hurt you. Or, maybe fishing for info on your personal life to satisfy her own curiosity.

Or, you’re completely wrong.

Yes. I don’t think it was a day long conversation, but yeah. I’m sure most people have had that. The only time it gets bothersome is when people who are nice to your face insult you when you aren’t there. That part sucks.

Care to elaborate?

If this lady was a real friend, she would have kept this to herself, not tattling about a fairly innocuous conversation. It looks like it’s had the desired result, too. The OP is now concerned that people at work are talking about her behind her back.

This is my take.

Me too. And you’re right. We’re probably better off not knowing such things.

I don’t know if she’s deliberately trying to hurt the OP. But I completely agree with you on the rest. Regardless of her motivations, the OP should stay away.

The closest I got was at college. Some people who knew me in high school were saying that I acted like I knew everything. I was paranoid about that sort thing in high school, and I thought it funny how I didn’t care now that I was in college, and I actually knew it had happened. My only thought was “Wow, those kids are immature.”

In the OP’s situation, there’s also the possibility that the woman felt guilty talking about monstro behind her back. It was my first instinct to share that sort of thing before I learned better. I’d want a few more data points before I’d assume she was a shit-stirrer.

You’re confidently making assertions about somebody’s motivations when you don’t know them, don’t know any of the other people involved, and have pretty much no evidence to go on as to what exactly she said, or how she said it.

I always work in offices with a lot of younger women, so it’s a common experience for me. I’d really prefer not to know about it, but it’s pretty obvious when everyone stops talking when you walk in.

I once had a coworker tell me that she’d let me know if anyone said anything bad about me behind my back. I was like, “No! Keep it to yourself!” Those people are, IMO, shit-stirrers, and love to sit back and watch the drama. Fuck that- I’m much happier not knowing that so and so thinks I’m a whatever. It’s especially damaging when I first start at a place, because I’m very shy and quiet at first, and people can get the wrong impression that I’m a bitch, I’m stuck-up, whatever. They tell someone that they think that of me, and that person tells me. Then they (the first person) gets to know me, and they forget that they ever thought or said that about me, but if I was told, I won’t ever forget it. So, no- what other people think about me is none of my business!

First of all, this is the internet. That’s what we do. Am I supposed to wait for the videotaped conversation or a transcription? I gave my opinion, which is, coincidentally, the name of this forum.

Secondly, I offered up three options as to the friend’s motivations. Hardly a confident assertion. I suppose I should have added a fourth option, namely that her friend is clueless.