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If somebody says, “I hope you won’t mind me telling you this,” it’s pretty certain you will. One of the best ways to end a rumor is to ask if you may quote the individual passing it along. If the person says no, it’s possible that the rumor is just idle talk. If the person answers yes, you should contact the gossip’s subject to verify the story you heard. Also, if you like to spread news about others, ask yourself if you would want someone to quote you. A negative answer is a good sign you should keep your lips sealed on the matter. And a positive response should lead not to back-fence reporting but to up-front confronting.

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