Looking the Other Way
When someone says something negative about another, that negativity may not be an aspect of that other person. Always determine the source of what is said. It often requires you to look the other way, not at the one who is pointed towards, but at the one who is doing the pointing. The negativity often originates with that person instead.
Instead of simply believing something about another, consider if it isn’t in fact part of the mindset of the one who is telling the tales. The best way to do that is to find out for yourself. Talk to the ones you hear stories about, instead of shying away from them because of those stories. If they have nothing negative to say, you can indirectly determine the true source of the negativity.
As a general rule, never trust someone who speaks negatively. They may not mean to be mean, but what they say is likely the product of interpretation rather than fact. Prevent yourself from falling prey to their mindset.