8 Giveaways That People Were Just Talking About You

Call me paranoid, but I know when people have been talking about me. Even though people are known to lie all the time (especially little "white" lies), human nature isn't very comfortable with telling untruths. Talking about someone behind their back, and then having to see them face-to-face, often feels like a deception. This is why it's often very telling that you were the subject of their conversations. Most people, in fact, have a "tell." (See also: How to Tell If Someone is Lying)

Here are a few of them, along with what you should do when they've been made.

1. Uncomfortable Silence

If your co-worker is a non-stop talker in most situations, an uncharacteristic lack of speaking when you enter the room may mean she was talking about you. A lack of communication from a whole room is almost always a dead giveaway. One way to break up the awkwardness and possibly get more information is to joke about silence. A simple "it's always quietest when I enter a room" comment will at least put the responsibility to respond back on the shoulders of your co-workers.

2. Overacting

On the other end of the spectrum is this horrible cover-up for gossip. Nervous laughter, animated movements, and loud talking is one way people try to "go about their business" when almost getting busted in a good round of idle chatter. A simple, "It's so lovely to see you enjoying yourself" can feel like hot coals on the head of the busybody. And it delivers the point.

3. Failure to Delete

While many instances of talking behind someone's back happen IRL (in real life), email and social media is full of backbiting and petty slander. The horror of discovering that a chain of email gossip was forwarded on — intentionally or not — to the subject of the conversation has happened in many offices and has even landed the chatterers in the unemployment line. If you suspect that someone is talking about you via email or social media, you often have to look no further than the bottom of a long, long thread of replies.

5. The Company They Keep

If someone you know or respect is surrounded by three or four people who are known to dislike you, the chances they are giving you a glowing review aren't good. That will also say something about your acquaintance's choice in friends (and whether you should reconsider your relationship).

6. Rapid Scatter

Did everyone suddenly have somewhere to go when you came upon them? Not a good sign. While this is mostly limited to horribly formulaic sitcoms, it can still happen in the real world. When the room empties out as soon as you enter, it's a good sign that you were the topic of interest moments earlier (or you really need a shower).

7. Sickening Sweetness

Many two-faced people wear both sides of their faces very, very well. When they are mean, they are brutal; when they are nice, they are disturbingly so. If you happen upon someone who offers to pour your coffee, asks about your day, and goes on and on about your blouse or hair — and you're not particularly close — something is up. They could be going for your job at work, or they may have just wrapped up a session about your shortcomings. In any case, they should not be trusted.

8. Gossip About Others

Blabbermouths rarely stop blabbering; people who love to talk about others usually show no discrimination, either. If you are friends with someone who can't stop their busy-body behavior in front of you, it's not likely they shut it off when you're not around. Your best bet is to never trust a gossip, as they almost always talk about those closest to them, and the next time could be about you!

Whether you choose to confront a gossip is completely up to you. It may be good to air out any concerns you have, especially where your personal life is concerned. When it comes to the workplace, however, things are always a bit more tricky. Confronting a boss or a boss's favorite could come back to bite you. Unless the talking behind your back is truly scandalous (resulting in damages), you may be better off to ignore it and write the person off as someone to never, ever put your trust in again.

How do you know when someone is gossiping about you? Dish in comments!

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8 Giveaways That People Were Just Talking About You

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Guest's picture

While the beginning of the article starts a bit paranoid, towards the end I realized that it is just a thorough analysis of the society that we live in. People indeed gossip with reason and without, just because they lack any better conversation topics. Unless they make real damage to your reputation, the best thing is indeed to ignore all their talking. The others will be able to filter the gossip if they are smart enough.

Guest's picture

Wow! Thank you so much for this article! :D A lot of people here in my country likes to gossip and bash other people and I hate it! The noontime shows here keeps on saying offensive jokes and they are very insulting indeed and it is not funny anymore! I have a great feeling that they are talking about me negatively behind my back! I wished they should stop it and don't do it so they won't bully others as well besides me... I've became anti-social and misanthrope nowadays because of the constant bullying and gossiping towards me. People in this country are nowadays gossipy and bad. I only trust my few close friends and family members. I have to get to know a person very well and carefully before I will be his / her friend. I don't like other people for a reason and they should respect my opinion and introversion / loner / different personality! :[

Guest's picture

Well today at school this girl was telling my friend (that she trusts) that my zipper was unzipped. We were at the same table and she whispered it in her ear. I looked at her and she was biting her lip and had kind of raised eyebrows. Ive seen the look before when the teacher said someone was throwing things and I think it was her.Now I know how to tell if she is hiding something. I never liked her.