The quickest way to alienate a friend or put people on the defensive is to spread an unfounded rumor. Some would refer to it as 'stirring the pot', others might suggest that the instigator is merely trying to build themselves up (for whatever reason) perhaps justify some choice that they'd made. Regardless of the motive, it's never perceived as nice (or even of good taste).
Rumors generally stem from insecurities; most of which are ignorant exaggerations of some sort. They often appear to be of the snowball variety; like the small snowball that starts to roll down the hill when pushed gaining much momentum as it rolls along. Rumors are often started when someone eavesdrops or makes an assumption. The rule of thumb is ... if you're going to eavesdrop, you'd better be prepared to listen in on the 'whole' conversation. You might find that you didn't really hear what you thought you did. Many rumors could easily be avoided if people would just ask their questions directly, rather than choose to stand in the shadows and see how havoc unfolds.
Generally I try to share an upbeat thought in my blog posts, but every once in a while I choose to just share an observation or two. We all watch as the world continues to spin, sometimes we're just too busy or blind to notice all that is in front of us.
I suppose there is still something positive to find in this post; the thought that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We'll never be able to control the behavior and actions of other people, but we will ALWAYS have the power and the choice to behave well ourselves and be a beacon of light for ourselves and others. When you see a situation that could easily get out of hand (especially if you're in any way a part of it), stand back and stop. Breath. Listen to the whole conversation. Look at the whole picture; the big picture. You might be surprised by what you actually see.