Sometime back I heard about this beautiful story about "Gossiping" - talking about third person. I am not sure which Philosopher said this but it is woth reading and considering in life.
When someone comes to you and has some "interesting" story to tell about some third person who is not present at that location, ask following questions ---
1. Is this true? Do you really think it is true?
2. Is this something good about that "third" person?
3. Is this something that is useful in someway to me?
4. What if that person about whom we are talking is present right here and listening to you - will you still talk the same way? (this is my addition to the story ....)
If the answer to any or at least one of above question is "false" or "No" ( it depends how strict you want the criteria to be) - Cut the discussion and change the topic if you can.
It makes always sense to talk "good" about people. If you want to discuss "bad" about anybody - do it with that person else keep it to your self. It is particularly important in team environment. Be somebody who breaths positive energy and carries a positive feeling about fellow mates. It is something like "Appreciate in public and criticize in private".
Every time I talk about or drawn into a discussion about a third person who is not physically present at the location, I consciously pull myself in this direction and resist being drawn into "Gossiping". I am trying to comply with 100%