This is the article I wrote for the school newspaper. Tell me what you think. :)
It's entitled "How to Stay out of Gossip". Hooray!
It is impossible for anyone to stay out of gossip completely. Period. If you are overly-assertive people will talk about what a jerk you are. If you are the nicest person at your school people will call you a pansy. If you become a recluse and disappear off the face of the planet people will discuss why. It is especially hard to keep out of gossip if you have already been involved in a lot of it. However, there are some methods you can use to lesson your gossip exposure.
The best path to getting yourself out of gossip or staying as clean (gossip-free is the way to be!) as possible is to stop sharing gossip about other people. If YOU do not spread gossip about other people, they will be less tempted to spread it about you. Also, your chances of being on the “he-said-she-said” list will decrease dramatically.
Sometimes identifying gossip is tricky. It’s ok to say it if it’s true right? Not always. Even if you know that something bad about a person is true, it isn’t always a good idea to spread it. This can hurt a lot of feelings and when you are identified as one of the sources talk about you will spread along with new stories that may or may not be true. What if you feel that you need to tell this information in order to help one of your friends? For instance, you saw your friends significant other flirting (to the max) with someone else, and you don’t want that friend to be treated so wrongly. In cases such as this you may judge for yourself, but think about it carefully. You may also want to ask others that you know you can confide in, like adults (but only cool ones, of course).
If someone has been trash talking you, you should choose to ignore it, or ask that person face-to-face. If you do confront that person, try not to be overly aggressive. If you ask about the rumors in a friendly manner, yes, you may still be called a pansy, but you are more likely to get truthful answers and there will probably be some people that appreciate your attitude and not insist that you defend your dignity.
If you ever feel like you HAVE to get something out or tell a story, there are alternatives to other people that may betray your confidence, no matter how much you trust them (not to turn you into an overly suspicious person who twitches under the spotlight, but, you know, stuff happens). Two alternatives are journals, and parents (but only the cool ones, of course). Journals are a way to get out all that wonderfully excessive pent-up rage inside of you, and if they seem to feminine for the men, a (private) online blog in which you say how much you hate the world will also do. Parents (but only the cool ones) or other trustworthy adults who have already experienced the stupidity of teenage life can be good listeners and offer you advice on how to cope.
One of the best things to remember in dealing with gossip is that a rumor spread about you can either live with you for 5 seconds, or it can play against you your whole life, based on what you do with it, so think carefully and stay level-headed. Everyone does stupid stuff sometimes, but try not to.