There's a friend of mine, let's call her... Rachel. We're very close (platonic) friends, and we'll frequently hang out as part of a larger group of mixed gender (including both my girlfriend and her boyfriend). We're all in our young 20's.
She has a habit of bad-mouthing people/gossiping a lot, and I've tolerated it so far, but it's really starting to get on my nerves. For example, some things she's done in the past:
She'll complain about her family drama a lot, and complain about her brother.
She badmouths one of my friends.
I've never told her that this bothers me.
Last night, the group was hanging out and Rachel made a very snide and judgmental comment about some of her friends (who I don't know very well) having premarital sex. (Rachel is very religious) I felt like this was the last straw. This comment really bothered me because
- I barely know these friends of hers
- I don't care if they were sleeping around, it has no effect on me.
- I consider comments like these nothing more than gossip.
I'd tried responding with "Why do we need to know?", but I don't think this effectively discouraged gossipy comments because the rest of the group seemed to respond positively.
I'd like to know how to respond in moments like these, not just to Rachel, but also to anyone else in the future. What's the best way to respond to gossiping/bad-mouthing people that makes it really clear that I don't want to hear it?
I don't want to come across as disapproving; if that's the way they want to talk, I"m not gonna stop them. But I'd prefer that if they want to gossip they'd save it for when I'm not around, as these comments really bother me and make it hard for me to want to be around Rachel anymore.
I'm also considering texting Rachel about this and letting her know it bothered me. But I'm worried because I don't know if that would improve things, and I don't know how to do this in a tactful way with out coming across as judgmental or disapproving.