I've heard that repeating a rumor by denying it only serves to reinforce the rumor.
Try to avoid reinforcing minor rumors by repeating them in order to deny them.
Even a denial can be a repetition of a rumor." (Just ask Senator John Kerry, whose 2004 presidential bid sunk thanks to whispers about his swift-boat service in Vietnam—even though most of the media stories were about how the rumors were false.)
If it was you who started the rumor in the first place, don't deny it. Instead of reacting to what others will think of you, admit what you did wrong out of character.
But what about in cases where I told something about myself that was less than flattering, or even downright embarrassing, and am now regretting having said? Does the same principle -- repeat it in any way by denying, asking to keep silent about the matter etc... -- result in heightening the possibility that it will spread to other people, because of the effects of priming?
Or is it the case that if I ask him/her specifically to not repeat the rumor, that he/she will more likely comply compared to if I kept silent about the matter?