I dislike gossip. When I was in my early teens, I came across an anonymous quote in my hometown newspaper, clipped it out and placed it in my billfold. To this day, I carry it with me to serve as a reminder of the destructive nature of gossip. It states, “Who dares another man’s name to stain shall not dine with me again.”
There are those who say that gossip is just talking about someone who isn’t present in a conversation, but often there’s much more going on, whether intended or not. I recall the lyrics to “The Rumor,” an old song from the mid-’70s by the Aussie group Little River Band: “Starve the truth and feed the rumor. And your imagination’s gonna do the rest.” And in Adele’s hit, “Rumour Has It”: “All of these words whispered in my ear tell a story that I cannot bear to hear,” speak to the impact gossip can have on a person’s life.
My personal guidelines on gossip are:
1. Think twice before you do it. Then, think again and don’t.
2. Don’t stab someone in the back.
3. Don’t gossip for personal gain. You cannot put someone down and elevate yourself.
4. Don’t distort information or take words out of context.
5. Don’t say it if no helpful purpose is served.
When the person of conversation is not there, I ask myself:
1. Do I ever hear people commenting about another’s journey in a negative fashion?
2. Do I judge someone’s reasons for their decisions and make comment?
3. Do I feel a responsibility to speak up or remain quiet, giving a passive approval to the comments?
If I answer any of these, “YES,” I am a gossip!
I’m fairly certain that each of us, at some point in life, has had a hurtful remark made behind our back. Recalling the event reminds us that gossip is nasty and poisons relationships. Do those rumors, secrets, lies, comments and whispers behind your back sting you as much as they do me?
Here are some quotes on gossip to ponder:
“Often those that criticize others reveal what he himself lacks.” – Shannon L. Alder
“Words spoken can never be recalled.” – Wentworth Dillon
“People gossip. People are insecure, so they talk about other people so that they won’t be talked about. They point out flaws in other people to make them feel good about themselves.” – Blake Lively
“How would your life be different if…You walked away from gossip and verbal defamation? Let today be the day…You speak only the good you know of other people and encourage others to do the same.” – Steve Maraboli
“If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.” – Aesop
Be bold. Be brave. Be kind!
I Care, Barb