I’d never considered gossiping one of my particular faults. Sure, from time to time I said something behind someone’s back, but not often. Right? Wrong.
As so often happens with my Positive Thinking Project, it was only when I made a point to quit this bad habit that I realized how ingrained it was.
By “gossip,” I mean “making unkind or unnecessary remarks behind the back of someone I know.” Saying, “Paris Hilton is trashy” doesn’t count as gossip.
We all know that we shouldn’t gossip, so sometimes we try to disguise the fact that that’s what we’re doing. Here are some common “defenses” used to justify gossip:
1.“I’m just concerned.”
“I’m worried about her, she seems unhappy, I wonder if she got a bad evaluation.” “Those two never seem to do anything together, I hope their marriage isn’t in trouble.” It’s none of your business so why are you so concerned??? I will bet money you really aren’t too concerned if you are discussing it with anyone else other than the parties involved.
2. “I’m thoughtfully analyzing to my friend’s character.”
“Do you think he’s so arrogant because his mother pushed him so hard as a child?” “Do you think she spends so much money on clothes because she feels some kind of lack in her life?” No….you are finding fault in your friend…and once again…it’s not really any of your business and unless it’s being explored with your friend how can this uplift them at all?
3. “I’m entitled to my opinion.”
“That party was too lavish for a bunch of six-year-olds.” “The hors d’oeuvres were terrible.” “He’s such a pompous bore.” True….you are. But is stating it necessary? Remember…you only get in the energy you put out.
4. “I’m passing along information that a lot of people already know.”
“They’re fighting over custody.” “He’s gained at least twenty pounds.” If a lot of people know…they don’t need one more person to help spread the word.
5. “I’m just relaying a conversation.”
“He said, ‘I’m thinking about quitting,’ and I said, ‘Can you afford to quit?’ and he said….” “She told me that they spent more than $10,000…” Keep conversations to yourself…period point blank. Be trust worthy and honest.
6. “I’m not gossiping, you are.”
“So what did you think of what she was wearing?” “Did the CEO think they bombed the presentation?”
Here’s the test of whether something is gossip or not: if I wouldn’t want the person who’s the subject of the conversation to overhear what I’m saying, I shouldn’t be saying it. Gossip is most often just rude, two-faced, and mean-spirited.
Since I’ve cut down on gossiping substantially (I can’t claim to have quit), I’ve noticed a change in myself that I didn’t expect: I feel less paranoid that people might be angry at me, or that I’ve done something wrong. I feel kinder and gentler and I feel less judgmental.
This post was hard to write, because I’m ashamed to admit to gossiping AT ALL. Maybe this confession will help me along in my Positive Thinking Project.
Follow me on Twitter @megamotivator and on instagram @MegamotivatorNay