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Malicious gossip. What do I do?

(75 Posts)
BaggyAndWrinkled Sun 07-Aug-11 14:12:22

I'm happily married with 2 young children (7 and 5). DH is a complete workaholic, works shift hours so during holiday times, apart from our family holiday, it's just me and the DC. I'm lucky - have great parents and IL's, and a really nice network of friends. One of my closest friends happens to be male. We met through our children in school (his are both a year younger than mine but get on brilliantly) and because we are both teachers, we're always off at the same time. His wife is lovely, we all get on when we meet together as a large group, DH and him are friends (not close) but are relaxed in one another's company.

Another Mum at the school where DC attend is a bit of a gossip. She's ok but knows everyone's business, and her child attends some of the clubs that mine go to. It's not the first time she's seen me and my male friend together i.e. coming out of the pool together WITH children, or him giving me a life WITH children to the park etc etc. She questioned it last year and I just shrugged it off. We all had a bbq last night and he told me that this Mum has told other Mums that we spend a lot of time together and that she was sure there is something going on. It now seems that a rumour is circulating that we're having an affair.

I'm pissed off about this and am not sure how to tackle it. I feel like knocking on her door and reminding her how damaging her gossip can be and for her to back off and mind her own. That said, will it look like I'm guilty? There is absolutely no shred of truth in this at all but I'm furious that the very suggestion of it will plant a seed of doubt. Neither of our partners are in the 'loop' of school and we've not told them of this rumour.

I'm so angry. How should I proceed with this?
I debated whether to post this in relationships, but decided that here got more traffic.

ZZZenAgain Sun 07-Aug-11 14:14:56

gossip is insidious, that's the thing, so hard to tackle it head on. How did your friend hear about the rumours?

pjmama Sun 07-Aug-11 14:14:57

You've done nothing wrong and have nothing to hide, so just treat her with the contempt she deserves and ignore it completely.

BaggyAndWrinkled Sun 07-Aug-11 14:15:02

Plus, if I'm brutally honest, I'm hoping she's a MN'er and that she reads this. SHE WILL KNOW who I am and if so, she will know that I'm just about a hairs-width of going to see her about this.

Madlizzy Sun 07-Aug-11 14:15:40

You both need to tell your partners what's happening, and I would write a letter to the gossip stating that you can and will sue her for slander and defamation of character if she persists with these rumours. Inform her that she is causing distress for both families including the children.

LeoTheLateBloomer Sun 07-Aug-11 14:15:55

Rise above it, laugh at the stupid woman who clearly has too much time on her hands, make sure both your DH and your friend's DW have heard it from you and find it equally hilarious.

Do NOT talk to the gossips about it.

MrsCampbellBlack Sun 07-Aug-11 14:16:16

I would laugh it off in 'really how utterly ridiculous' type way by speaking to other gossipy mothers and leaving them to spread it on.

I would also tell your DH.

But seriously if she's such a silly gossip well people will just take it all with a pinch of salt.

RandomMess Sun 07-Aug-11 14:16:20

I think you should both tell your respective spouses and ask them for suggestions so they are in the loop.

Other than that lots of hearty laughter and how x must really fancy the bloke to be so bothered about your friendship................

Nancy66 Sun 07-Aug-11 14:16:42

At this stage I honestly wouldn't do anything - like you say, it will fuel the flames.

if the woman concerned makes another comment to you directly though I would use that as an opportunity to say that her views are ill-informed and unwelcome and she would be better off keeping them to herself.

CailinDana Sun 07-Aug-11 14:19:58

Start a rumour about her. Tell everyone she wears a merkin.

BaggyAndWrinkled Sun 07-Aug-11 14:23:06

My friend is a swim instructor for lots of the younger age groups and a father of one of the toddlers gave him a bit of a nudge nudge, wink wink at the start of Friday's teaching session. He spent the entire lesson fuming after managing to get the gossip out of the Dad. This Dad's has an older child who's in the same social circle as the gossip.

Was typing a lengthy answer to you all when I heard DH rise from his sleep (night shift). I slammed the cover down on the laptop so I'm already acting guiltily for something I haven't done sad. Apologies in advance if I don't reply this afternoon - DH tends to look over my shoulder when he knows I'm on MN (he loves a bit of a read himself [blush[]grin]).

Still mightily pissed off though....

ImperialBlether Sun 07-Aug-11 14:23:43

You do both need to tell your partners what she's been saying.

bubblesincoffee Sun 07-Aug-11 14:23:52

You need to tell your partners what you heard, and then carry on as before.

valiumredhead Sun 07-Aug-11 14:27:14


Tell your partners what you heard then carry on as you were.

Do NOT talk to the gossip mongers as it will inflame the situation and give them more to talk about.


MrsCampbellBlack Sun 07-Aug-11 14:27:21

Yes do tell your DH but you know don't make this into a big deal - its just silly gossip - don't waste too much time on it.

People do gossip and sadly even today a close friendship between a man and a woman especially if your partners aren't seen at school much probably will lead to few bored/sad people speculating about the exact nature of your relationship.

MrsCampbellBlack Sun 07-Aug-11 14:28:51

And although I get the ignore advice - if people are actually saying to your face and the other person's that the gossip is you're having an affair - well I do think you need to laugh it off in a 'how ridiculous' type way.

Thumbwitch Sun 07-Aug-11 14:30:05

I agree with those saying you should tell your DH and he should tell his DW, before someone else does. Otherwise you really ARE adding fuel to the non-existent fire.

Imagine if someone tells your DH - "oh ha ha, you'll never guess what I heard today, that your DW is running around with X behind your back" - and he has to ask you about it. Just tell him, say "there are some bloody stupid rumours going around courtesy of Miss Makes Gossip Up For Fun and I am telling you here and now that they are absolute bollocks."

I have found that even when rumours are utterly unfounded, there are still some people simple-minded enough to believe that there is no smoke without fire. And if shit is thrown, some of it sticks, regardless of the truth of the matter. Very sad and bloody irritating but nonetheless true - and what makes it even more fucking annoying is that nothing you say will make a difference.
So say nothing to anyone apart from your DH.

MarshaBrady Sun 07-Aug-11 14:30:40

Just tell some one else who knows a lot of the same people that it is not true and leave it at that. Ignore, it will pass.

TheMonster Sun 07-Aug-11 14:33:52

I would ignore it and carry on as normal.

reelingintheyears Sun 07-Aug-11 14:35:22

I would tell DP and his DW and then do nothing.

Tittle tattle is so boring and she's obviously got nothing better to think about.

Let them say what they fact, flirt outrageously with him while she's watching..grin

Dorje Sun 07-Aug-11 14:35:59

Consult a solicitor if you are worried enough. Slander is against the law and you could have a case against her if there are witnesse to her slandering you.

Tell your partners.

You are entitled to your good name.

Remember if this woman is a well known gossip, nobody thinks much of her anyway, but a solicitors letter should put the wind up her.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Sun 07-Aug-11 14:36:13

Agree – tell your partners, laugh it off, don't waste your time and energy talking to the gossips about it. You can think about slander further down the road if it becomes necessary, but I think that as long as both partners know, and it's out in the open and treated with the hilarity/contempt it deserves, it won't come to that. The only caveat I'd give to this is that your friend might want to be
extra-vigilant about the rumours because as a swimming tutor he's in a position of some responsibility and public visibility and rumours like this can be very damaging.

didyouseewhatshedid Sun 07-Aug-11 14:38:07

I would go round and see her OP and say that if she doesnt stop spreading false rumours, you will see her in the civil courts for slander.
Just out of interest though, would you?

Salmotrutta Sun 07-Aug-11 14:39:46

This sort of thing is awful and people do love spreading gossip without a thought for how it affects people. Whilst I agree that challenging may well fan the flames I actually think that stupid people like this need a big fright.
Could you and your friend tell your partners then get them to phone her/speak to her saying that they have been informed by another close friend of her slander and malicious rumour spreading regarding your innocent friendship and they are taking legal advice? Then leave her hanging to stew on it.

reelingintheyears Sun 07-Aug-11 14:39:56

You really must tell your partners though otherwise you will look guilty.

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