To gossip or not to gossip!

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To gossip or not to gossip!

I have been chomping at the bit to write about gossiping and reading a blog from Jade Teta has finally made me put pen to paper and get writing about it. The link to his blog is at the end of this blog!

Gossiping  is something that is so prevalent in our lives, everyone does it, even if they say they don’t you can be guaranteed that they will, (or they have) in some way, shape or form, gossiped at some stage about someone else, whether intentionally or not.

Gossip (according to the dictionary) is defined as ‘casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details which are not confirmed as true’.

It can hurt someone, it can destroy someone and, the majority of the time it’s just not necessary and very rarely true. Most people like to talk, about the weather, about their work, about the latest happenings on some television programme and people definitely like to talk about other people – good, bad and in-between.

Yes it can be argued that it is human nature to do so and many people regard gossiping as a normal thing to do. But saying things that aren’t nice, that are potentially untrue, that are usually a subjective opinion based on untruths and that you wouldn’t say directly to the person concerned is not normal. I am sure that we’ve all been at the receiving end of gossip and yes we’ve all been a gossiper too.

Gossip can be hard to avoid

It can be hard to avoid, it’s very easy to be dragged into and you can often find yourself lowering yourself to the level of those who are gossiping.

I am fully aware of people who have ‘gossiped’ about me, who have said things that aren’t very nice about me, who have tried to discredit me, put me down, knocked me  – most of it has been done behind my back, even that which has been done in the public arena of social media. This is a very cowardly thing to do and it says more about the person doing it than the person they’re doing it too.

They often have insecurities themselves and/or issues happening in their lives that they’re not dealing with and, in putting other people down, and by speaking badly about them, this somehow seems to make them feel, albeit temporarily, better about themselves.

For me though it’s the opposite, if I’ve ever been ‘guilty’ of being involved in gossip it doesn’t make me feel good, far from it. I feel kind of crap for allowing myself to get involved in the first instance and for allowing the thoughts and opinions of others to make me behave in a way in which I’m not comfortable.

Always remember that if someone is talking about someone to you then they’ll be talking about you to someone else.

It’s difficult as well when someone who is gossiping about you is ‘believed’ by others and they too then start to believe what is being said or done. I try to take the view that if people are that easily influenced by others, and what they say about me, then they’re not people who I want in my life anyway. Again it’s not an easy thing to accept but you have to look after yourself and stick to your beliefs, values and morals and if people aren’t giving you the courtesy to perhaps even listen to ‘your side’ and they readily accept what someone else says about you, then it’s better that they’re not in your life, or at least not in your close circle of friends. They too also have work to do on themselves, and potentially, their self-esteem and confidence.

What to do?

If someone, or a group of people, gossip about someone else ask yourself if there is any way you can stop the gossip happening, can you change the subject, can you question why they feel the need to talk about someone in the way that they are doing? If not walk away, excuse yourself, do not allow yourself to get dragged into it Unfortunately you can’t change or control people and if you find yourself constantly in the company of people who like to gossip then maybe it’s time to find yourself some new people to hang out with.

Never a gossiper be

Yes sometimes there may well be some truth in what someone says about another person but that doesn’t mean the person they’re talking about is a bad person or not worth knowing. Everyone has bad days, everyone is guilty of acting out of character at times, no-one is perfect – what is needed is more understanding, kindness and openness not gossip, bitchiness and nastiness.

Find people who talk/engage in intelligent, interesting, constructive conversations that don’t aim to belittle others. Hang around with people who are inspiring, motivating, enjoyable and comfortable to be around.

If you’re going to talk about people do so in a constructive, honest and authentic way.

Find positive things to say – how they might inspire you, how you admire something they’ve done or said, how you like their approach to something. Even if you may not like a particular thing they’ve said or done maybe just try to understand why they might have done so and perhaps agree to disagree. And always be clear that it’s your opinion that you’re expressing not anyone else’s, take responsibility for what you say and do.

Be truthful, authentic and honest, don’t be afraid to let someone know if they’ve let you down, hurt you, upset you, done or said something that you don’t necessarily agree with. Give them the opportunity to give their side – it is often a challenge to be able to talk to someone about something negative that could cause hurt or upset. As humans we want to be liked, we don’t want to hear not so good things said about us and we’re not terribly good at managing conflict. But … sometimes it is beneficial to hear the negative and positive and it is down to us how we handle it. It is also in the telling, if you need to tell someone something that you think that they’re not going to like do so in a calm, constructive, patient (not patronising) and mature manner.

I’ve always said to people that I would rather they were honest and truthful in what they say to me and it’s down to me how I manage, react to and deal with what has been said. Trust is so important in relationships and to not be able to trust someone can be very destructive for that relationship, whether with a client, a friend, a family member or a partner.

Be honest, authentic and genuine in what you say to encourage trust and to foster truthful, open and strong relationships.

There are plenty of people with whom I don’t always agree, who let me down, who say not nice things about me but I wouldn’t bitch or gossip about them, I’d work on opening myself up to their point of view and, in addition, work on accepting that we are all different but we can find ways to get along without resorting to back stabbing or nastiness. I also question myself and ask if I could do something different, I see if there is something that I can learn from what has happened and I also look upon it as an opportunity for personal growth.

Always try to find something good to say about someone and if you can’t do that then don’t say anything at all.

Yes people will get on your nerves, they’ll let you down, they’ll upset and hurt you at times with their behaviour and words but it doesn’t mean that you need to do the same – rise above it, find ways in which to do so. I find a good way to channel my negative thoughts is to write them down or I express my feelings in a mature, constructive way to those closest to me who can help me to manage them and then let them go.

Don’t allow gossip to get to you

Unfortunately many people are like sheep and are easily led and influenced by others. You can’t change this behaviour as such but you can choose to distance yourself from it and walk away. I have allowed gossip and nastiness to get to me too many times and it has only ended up being a self-destruct mechanism.

Now I try to do all of the above and, if those concerned persist:

  • I make a decision whether or not it, and the person/people involved matter to me and, if so, in which way and how much.
  • I ask if there’s anything I can do to stop it there and then, and if it’s actually worth doing so. If it is then I try to find ways to approach the person who has been gossiping and to engage a more constructive dialogue with said person.
  • I work on myself and allowing whatever has been said to be let go of – I now find myself asking if what has been said/done will really matter in 6 months, a year, and if the answer is no then I just work on letting it go, not always easy but definitely worth doing.            
  • If someone believes the untruths that someone else says about me without really knowing me, or by accepting that what has been said is true without even speaking to me, then I make a decision to not have them in my life.

The behaviour of people really intrigues me, especially this arena of ‘gossip’ and all that it brings with it. I’d be really interested in hearing if and how gossip has affected your life and what strategies you have put into place to deal with it.

If you want to read the original blog post by Jade Teta that inspired my blog then please just click on or copy and paste this link into your web browser - http://jadeteta.com/gossip/

 

Copyright © 2016 Louise Grafton-Mitchell. All rights reserved. No part of this Blog shall be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information retrieval system without written permission of the publisher.

 

 

 

 

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