How much time do I spend every day gossiping, or listening to gossip – whether in person or online?
This makes me wonder and question the morality of my blog. Not that I’m going to stop, but, I mean, I am reporting the information and behavior of other peoples lives as they happen to cross over mine… Which technically fulfills that definition….
I really don’t like the idea that I gossip. I don’t like the way the word feels mostly because every time the word gossip is used it’s in conjunction with spreading rumors or lies, which I do my best not to do. I blog to archive my life, and since I don’t live in a bubble, alone, other people are part of my daily story.
I don’t report about their personal life. I may mention someone having a hard time. I may give information that has already been made public, but I don’t divulge secrets, and I don’t lie, all of which I feel go hand in hand with the word gossip.
Maybe I need to expand my vocabulary and find another word…
I guess the difference between gossiping and blogging is in the focus. With my blog I am focusing on myself, with gossip the focus is on other people. Ok. I’m more ok with this distinction. And now that I have an understanding of what I do and do not do I can go back to the question.
I don’t gossip. I blog. I spend as little time as possible listening to or reading gossip. I try to read articles from verified sources because I dislike having to dig and fact check information. I want to trust the information I’m receiving. If I can’t trust it I’m not going to waste my time.
Even at work, while in the break room or interacting with co-workers on campus, if someone starts “gossiping” I listen with a grain of salt. I will take in the information, maybe even log it away for later use. But I’m not going to blindly accept that information. If it is interesting or important enough I may do my own research into the matter. I may send an email, inquire as I see the person the “gossip” concerns. But I’m not going to indulge it. I will make small comments, or depending on what the matter is, I may defend the other person saying I doubt that is what happened, or that I would rather hear their side of the story.
That normally brings people up short and kills the conversation. Yeah… nothing like moral high ground to make people feel small for talking behind people’s backs… maybe that’s why I don’t get invited to go out with people for drinks very often… The introvert in me is ok with that. I’m pretty sure I’m not missing much, and I have cross stitching I would rather do anyway than get smash faced and trash talk people.
Do I think gossiping is dangerous?
Yes. 100% yes. I can think of all the times that people talked about me behind my back in middle and high school and the hateful comments they would say. I can remember how that made me feel.
I can remember working at the Citadel and having my co-works think that I was cheating on my boyfriend, but rather than talk to me about what was going on they decided to gossip and speculate amongst themselves. At the time I felt betrayed. If they were my friends why didn’t they talk to me? Why didn’t they ask me to explain what was going on? Why did they think something so terrible of me? What had I done to show that was in my character?
I think of the online bullying that drives youth to commit suicide because of the terrible, awful things people say, the rumors and lies that get spread like wildfire.
It is NEVER ok to tear someone down. It’s NEVER ok to spread lies or rumors. It’s NEVER ok to play with another person’s emotions.
If you don’t want it done to you, don’t do it to someone else.
Do I think I could refrain from gossip for an entire day?
I think I could do a pretty good job of not letting it affect me. But there’s so much BS online with Facebook and Twitter and all of the social media. Even the news. There’s so much garbage out there that I don’t think I could avoid it entirely even if my life depended on it, short of living alone in the middle of nowhere, and that’s sort of sad to realize.
What are some of the consequences of gossip I have observed in my own life?
Lowered self-esteem. Self hate. Confidence issues. Trust issues. Depression. Anxiety. And that’s just in my own personal life.
I like to think that I have overcome a lot of these things. I like to think that I have grown and healed from my time as a frail, susceptible young girl, and that I did well by simply surviving, much less becoming the confident* (I retain the right to still complain about being insecure / unconfident in future posts) women I am today.
I hate knowing that there are people out there who still struggle with these things. I hate knowing there are other young girls out there who feel out of place, unloved, unvalued, unworthy, simply because the “cool” girl didn’t like the color of someone’s shirt.
I think gossip stems from an internal pain. The person gossiping is jealous, insecure, or unworthy feeling. They need to make themselves feel better by dragging someone else down. They need to make themselves seem important by having information, even if it is false. They need to tarnish someone else so what they have seems good enough.
Some people just like being jerks.
One of the best things I have done for myself is letting go of the need for outside approval. If people want to gossip about me, fine. If people want to blindly believe in misinformation about me rather than asking me directly for clarification or facts, fine.
I’m cool with that. People are allowed to make their own choices and decisions. Just like I am allowed to make my own.
I choose to not worry about it any more. I choose to be ok with myself. I wish I had made this choice when I was younger. I wish I had had the confidence in myself, the inner strength needed to make that choice because I can’t image where I would be now, how different my experiences would have been. I wish I had realized sooner that I was better than the gossip I heard and perpetuated within myself for years.