I like to play with the instigators. Tell them something I know will get them fired up! Like if they come up to me and say how so and so got this holiday off, and aren't I higher in seniority. First it's none of their business what my schedule or anyone else's schedule is. So, I just say something like, "Oh, you must not have been here when we had that discussion." And then I find out I forgot something, and excuse myself, leaving them to wonder, and someone like that will wonder and wonder, what they missed! This only works if you have the instigators pegged. I have gotten so the hairs on my neck stand, and radar attenae stick up off my head when one of these people approaches me.
You have to disarm them, by making them think they are the ones out of the loop. This makes them crazy. It doesn't have to be true, just something that will make them go bonkers trying to figure it out. Takes the wind right out of their sails!
Aren't I terrible?? LOL!
But Molly gives excellent advice. I once had a mother tell me my dtr made her dtr cry b/c she couldn't say supercalfragilistic... b/c of a lisp. I was really disappointed in my dtr and told her so, which she completely denied. Quite by accident, we all happened to be standing together the next day, and I said to the little girl, Kathleen, I am sorry to hear that Kristy hurt your feelings. She said, What? Kristy didn't hurt my feelings? I looked at her mother, and she says to her dtr, Remember when you couldn't say supercalifragilitistic...? The dtr say, NO mom, we were just kidding around. I said I thought you were upset and cried, and that would have made me feel bad. She said no, I wasn't upset at all. Then the girls ran off together, which left me just giving her mother an icy stare. I felt really bad, b/c this woman was Kristy's girlscout leader, and I got a lot of reports like that about Kris, and I admonished her every time, only to find out this woman was a liar. After that I went to q girl scout meeting to be sure I knew what was going on, and keep that woman away from my dtr.