You’ll never guess what I found out? Have you heard who’s messing around? My girlfriend asked me this and I was all ears. Juicy gossip was on its way.
Gossiping happened at least once a day, everyday in a teenaged girl’s life. Information was traded like the daily news. How factual is was no one ever questioned unless they were the subject of the breaking news report.
Gossip seems to be an almost ritualistic practice almost. Whoever could find out the most dirt for the crowd was somewhat of a celebrity. Being popular was all any girl wanted except this way.
Now we’re adults and the gossip train hasn’t slowed down at all. Are you an unwitting participant or have you found yourself the target of idle chit-chat? What should we do to resist temptation?
When my friend told me the details of her lurid gossip, I didn’t try to stop her or change the subject. Part of me wanted to know every detail of the train wreck I was about to hear.
Now that I’ve had a chance to think about accepting the gossip invitation and willingly listened to the whole story, I deeply regret it. The shock of what I was told was enough to inspire me to write this post.
What could I have done differently in that situation? Here is exactly what I should have done instead of being a part of catty conversation.
RECOGNIZE WHAT GOSSIP IS
- Women especially are prone to idle gossip. We love to gather together to socialize, support and learn from one another. It only takes one person to have a negative impact on the group.
- The situation almost always presents itself as factual but gossip is malicious in nature because its intent is to harm. It does so with glee.
- There’s a negative undertone to rumors that seeks to accuse and humiliate its victims. The accusers are almost always nameless yet the victims are outed for all.
- It has the potential to destroy the trust between husbands and wives. Trust is such a fragile thing on its own. Gossip will erode the joy of companionship between a man and wife.
- Friendships are not immune to being damaged by salacious rumors too. If you’re being fed horrible stories of others, how are you to know your name has not been dropped in a rumor as well.
- Redirect conversation that appears negative or harmful. You have complete control over your own behavior. It’s a show of character to stand up for virtue in the eyes of a crowd.
- Listen to the words being spoken. Does the topic irritate you? Meaningful conversations can and should be inspirational not harmful.
- Don’t enable a chronic gossipers by allowing them to pass on their terrible tirades disguised as true stories. They may use you as fodder for gossip one day too.
- All unsubstantiated information is just that, which means it’s unreliable. Don’t accept information you cannot trust. Throw a positive spin on the conversation and change the subject.
If you find that you’ve been the target of a rumor mill, you can take the high road and handle the incident with grace. What others say about you are only words, besides you know your own truth.
Even though it’s gut wrenching to think people are enjoying a laugh at your expense, they don’t define you as a person. Those kinds of people are toxic and you’d do well to avoid them.
3 Things you can do when you’ve been gossiped about
- Tell your story first before someone else can tell it for you. If you make a full disclosure on whatever your current situation is then no one can put their own spin on it for you. Afterwards there’s nothing left to gossip about.
- Be silent. Don’t offer any information or acknowledge the rumors at all. Most of the time, the crowds will move on quickly to something that has more drama. Let it die a natural death.
- Confront the gossiper with the truth. Odds are, they won’t be prepared to enter into a debate with you and apologize. Even if you believe they aren’t sorry, they know you will stand up for yourself and probably do not want a confrontation.
Everyone knows a drama mama, leave that to adolescence and get on to living with joy and grace. Break the cycle of talking about people behind their backs because chances are you could find yourself in the same boat.
I definitely have learned my lesson. It made me feel bad and feel pity for the person who now had rumors spread about her. I don’t intend on ever spreading gossip nor do I want to listen to it. I am confident enough to resist the rumor mill.