Q&A: My cubicle mate is the office gossip.

How to avoid getting tangled up in office gossip.

My cubicle mate is the office gossip. How can I make sure my colleagues know I’m not the one with the loose lips?

Face it — office gossip is a fact of life. And every workplace has a blabbermouth who is forever nattering on about things he or she hears in the lunchroom; colleagues who might be hooking up; possible layoffs; who messed up at last week’s client pitch; and anything else that he or she suspects or hears through the grapevine. But what do you do when your shared cubicle becomes your workplace’s proverbial watercooler?

Make it clear to your pod mate that you’d prefer to keep your nose out of the rumour mill. For example, says Toronto etiquette expert Louise Fox, if he or she asks, "Did you hear about So-and-So," stop the conversation there with a to-the-point, "No, and I don’t want to." If another employee is around when there’s whispering, try: "Oh, that sounds like gossip to me; I don’t need to hear it. And if you’re smart, you won’t repeat it," she says. It’s a good strategy to use to make sure folks know that you’re not the one spreading office scuttlebutt. Besides, if colleagues hear you doing it, they are probably wondering what you’re saying about them behind their backs.