It has been said, “Gossip is a national pastime”. Whenever people find free time, at home, in school, college, or in office they resort to gossiping. According to Yale University researcher, we spend at least 60% of our conversations talking about people who are not with us at that time. While it’s a human tendency to gossip occasionally, some people can go overboard with it. Ironically, the more we talk, the less we are able to communicate.
“People love gossip. It’s the biggest thing that keeps the entertainment industry going.”
~ Ellen DeGeneres
But gossip is also a dangerous weapon, one that can ruin reputations, poison relationships and halt careers.” Gossip can spread toxins as dissatisfied workers backbite and generate feelings of unhappiness. With the advent of mobile phones and other electronic gadgets, people tend to install several social media apps and get involved in gossip over the phone.
Why do people gossip?
People who gossip may talk ill about others because they lack self-esteem. People who gossip say bad things about other people to make themselves feel better by comparison. Gossip is a negative conversation, usually with bad intentions, that is spread by others and it is a source of much hatred in our society.
“The things most people want to know about are usually none of their business.”
~ George Bernard Shaw
Gossip arouses our curiosity. Maybe you feel a thrill at the thought of a secret being revealed to you about another person. The person who gossips is someone who carries some resentment towards you and who doesn’t have the courage to face you directly and so he finds no other option other than talking about you in your absence.
What does gossip do to you?
“People will question all the good things they hear about you but believe all the bad without a second thought.” ~ Unknown
Gossip robs you of energy and is a cheap way to feel good about yourself. These days WhatsApp messaging consumes most of our time and people get engrossed in chatting instead of doing their job. Moreover, spending time pointing out others’ flaws, when they aren’t there to defend themselves, is not a positive way to have a conversation.
How to keep yourself away from Gossiping
People who are spreading gossip (and most people do at some time or another) don’t spend a lot of time getting facts. In fact, they have usually heard the information they’re spreading second or third hand.
Whenever you feel the urge to gossip, ask yourself,
- Would I say this on their face?
- Is it really true?
- Am I doing this to make myself feel better?
- Is this something that is hearsay?
- Am I angry about them or something they’ve done?
- Do I need to say it right now?
“Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.” ~ Marie Curie
How to deal with gossip mongers?
In my experience, the best thing is to distance yourself from these people as much as possible. They’re most likely going to gossip about you anyway, so it is best to ignore them if you can.
“Whoever gossips to you, will gossip about you.” ~ Spanish Proverb
The point I want to make, however, is that if you don’t respond to the gossip, they’ll eventually leave you alone. If you fight back, it means their taunts and gossip are working and they’ll continue.
When someone comes to you with a juicy bit of harmful gossip, find a way to deflect the situation, or make the gossiper aware of the harmful nature of what they’re saying
Sometimes you just have to move away from negative gossiping and focus on something more positive. If you simply don’t want to make a big deal out of the situation, you could make an excuse “I have to get back to work” or “I have to go home,” etc.
Never say anything about a person you wouldn’t say to him directly. It’s easy to gossip about those that are successful and going for their dreams. But realize it takes humility to let yourself be inspired by their success and use it as inspiration to live your highest. It’s easy to gossip about those that are negative and “failing” in life. But it takes courage to hold them with compassion, amidst their pain, and send them love instead.