DEAR ABBY: After I dated an older man, I gained a bad reputation among some lower-level, gossipy co-workers at my job, even though I tried to keep it quiet and even denied it.
Now I've started a friendship with an older man at the company where I work. Although we are just friends, these co-workers think there is something more and are spreading gossip, saying that we are having an affair.
This could be damaging to both my career and my friendships with the man and my co-workers. How can I stop the gossip? Or does my past behavior make me forever guilty? -- NOT LOVING IT IN NEW YORK
DEAR NOT LOVING IT: Wait a minute. How did your co-workers learn about your relationships with these two men? Were you obvious about the personal relationship at work? Did you, perhaps, mention it to someone who dropped the tidbit at the water cooler?
Once gossip starts, it is impossible to stop. You can, however, make it seem less plausible if you keep your behavior above reproach in the workplace, and your lip tightly zipped when it comes to your personal life. Period.