Gossip, gossip, gossip. It’s an unstoppable part of life. We live in an age where technology is so advanced that rumors get spread faster than the stomach bug on a cruise ship.
Gossip is defined as: the casual talk about people and their personal affairs.
It can truly fill your life with more intrigue than a feature film. I mean really…who doesn’t like to hear a little dirt?
There is ‘good gossip’- which is defined as casual and informal talk that often provides useful information, and then there is ‘bad gossip’- which is essentially good gossip turned bad. (We all know what bad gossip sounds like, eeeesh!!)
In other words bad gossip is causal talk that turns into harmful speech. An example of this may be, “hey, did you hear Tony got a promotion at work? But did you know his wife is sleeping with the boss?” Typically, when this kind of gossip comes out of a woman’s mouth, my father would refer to her as a “yenta”. (Yiddish for female busybody)
It is bad gossip that does the most damage. It can negatively affect one’s image and how a person is perceived. It can affect one’s love life, career and even friendships.
Of course there’s that age ol’ saying that one shouldn’t do or say something that they don’t want spread; or that other great quote, “if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen”.
Either way, sometimes we can’t control what gets leaked then twisted and ultimately spread. It can be very frustrating and unfair.
How about when one wants to just live their life authentically? When are we granted the respect of privacy? Is there even such a thing anymore? I don’t really think so.
We will never be able to stop gossip- even if we tried.
It’s almost like we’re set up for it. In actuality, most people crave it, need it and simply just want it because it makes their lives feel more interesting and less boring.
Often times, people spread gossip for financial gain—i.e., magazines, television, radio, the Internet—all social media. Perpetuation of gossip is how many make a living. We keep reading, subscribing and soaking in the latest details of those that we want to hear about like thirsty little sponges.
Celebrity gossip and tabloid headlines appeal to perhaps the most voyeuristic impulse in each and every person. “We want to know!” about other people’s private affairs, and not just celebrities, which most people consider “fair game.”
We want to know about the personal affairs of people we are acquainted with like our co-worker Jill’s sordid past, the secret sexual sins of our neighbor Tom, the youthful antics of our old Aunt Fran and especially the undisclosed failures and foibles of those we dislike or who make us feel uncomfortable.
We sit there in the comfort of our homes nodding our heads and saying to ourselves, “yep, I just knew it”.
It’s an endless cycle and bottomless pit that needs constant nourishment. I like to call it the “hungry alligator effect”. The more one likes to tell a story, the more they need one to tell. The alligator is always hungry for more. (Feed me, feed me)
How about in our daily lives? Where are the boundaries or limitations on what we hear and what we convey back to others?
There has to be some safe zones in our lives. In other words, we all need friends that we can trust and places to go where we are able to be our true selves.
Sadly, it appears that we live in a society where we build people up only to knock them down. If only we lived in a world of weebles… ya know– weebles wobble but they don’t fall down.
The truth is that words hurt and as much as we would like to believe that we don’t care, somewhere deep down we all do.
We all want approval on some level. What others think or say about us still hurts when false words are spoken. We just want to scream, “that is so not trueeeeeeee”!!!!
So how do we stop others from dishing the dirt? Well, the truth is — you just can’t.
We’ve all been guilty of having a mouth full of salacious and juicy knowledge that once swallowed must be spoken. I like to refer to this as “verbal vomit”. Chronic verbal vomiting usually results from binge gossiping. Sadly, binge gossipers tend to also have gossip bulimia- (meaning the knowledge must be spewed out immediately after the gossip is consumed). By the way, the only known successful treatment for this disorder is a swift run-in with karma.
However, there is a cost to gossip that few of us focus on when we are reading, watching, or sharing it.
The moral thread that makes up our societal fabric is strained to the point of tearing when we take pleasure in other people’s pain, embarrassment, failure or misfortune.
Guess why? The reason is because none of us will go through life unscathed. If you’re a firm believer in karma (which we know that I certainly am) then the coined phrase “what goes around comes around usually applies…
It is important to recognize the impact of your words.
Some gossip can be useful and function as a warning while serving as moral instruction and motivation to the hearer. Gossip informally regulates behavior. Hearing gossip about “Brad’s know-it-all attitude” can make one carefully refrain from sarcasm and adopt a humbler attitude. Gossip also informs us about how to act properly in a given social situation.
Either way, it’s important to make your own assessments from what you see, rather than what you hear.
In the end just always remember one thing when listening to gossip…
Whoever is gossiping to you today; will also be gossiping about you tomorrow. You can count on it!
Until next week,
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