Bonding Over Gossip
We have all done it, let's admit it. A friend tells us something juicy about another person and the 'OMG really?!' begins. We get a little surge of excitement at the expense of someone else's life. Seems harmless enough, and maybe sharing stories is just what we human do, in fact, it is what we do a lot, and it's not all bad. Sharing an amazing adventure you went on with your family or friends where you had something extraordinary happen that was exciting and life changing, describing each detail with passion and enthusiasm, yeah, those are awesome stories that we all love to hear! But the problem lies when we share stories that harm another, and we bond over that harm.
You see, I will be the first to admit, I have talked about people, been a part of gossip that wasn't the good kind, and it always left me feeling icky. Like being a part of a private conversation that you were never meant to hear. Gossip is an unhealthy habit that so many of us are addicted to. We talk about the Mum's at the PTA meeting, friends and even business associates. We somehow find pleasure in painting these people as bad, dysfunctional, and even worse, we laugh at hard times they may be having or even judge them without knowing their true life story. I have done this to people, and I have been the victim of this. Neither situation feels good.
I made a decision years ago that I would not participate in gossip, probably one of the best decisions of my life to be honest. It allowed me to bow out of conversations that made me uncomfortable, I began to see others in a different light, both ones who were gossiping, and ones who were the target of gossip. It made me have a compassionate heart towards others, towards anyone who is silently going through a rough patch in life. You see, we can never fully know the truth about someone when we hear gossip, Lord knows I have been the brunt of gossip and rumours and it is a horrible feeling knowing that people don't know the truth, and an even more helpless feeling when there is nothing you can do about it. Gossip is much like a weed or algae, once it starts to grow it takes on a life of it's own. It pops up in different places, even takes on a different appearance, and by the time it is 3 or 10 people removed, well, the story has changed over and over to make it more juicy then ever.
Bonding over gossip says a few things about the ones gossiping that no one wants to admit. If we engage with others, you can be sure you will become the target of gossip sooner or later.
We can never know what someone is going through in all areas of their life to make them appear a certain way, and sometimes they can appear in a way that lends itself to gossip which can be tempting, so hear is my advice to you. Think twice. Put yourself in that person's shoes, imagine the pain they would feel if they knew how you were speaking, and if you could not say to that person face to face what you say to your friends behind their back, that is probably a good indication that what you are saying isn't right, fair or kind.
Have a compassionate heart, everyone has their stuff, and it isn't for us to judge, make fun of or start rumours about.
It is an admirable trait to excuse yourself from gossip, and one that will lend itself to you being admired for who you are as a kind and honest person, and to be thought of in that light is the best gift you can give yourself and the world.
~ Monika xo