Remember in your youth — from about elementary school all the way through high school — there was always that one group of kids starting trouble or spreading rumors? Remember when someone would approach you with a secret or a rumor and you felt like you were
Remember how we were taught to respect one another? And that if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all?
Then (most of us) became adults. Maybe we went to college or the armed forces or Europe and made a life out in the real world, working in various environments and hanging out in different places — only to find out that those petty things that we dealt with as children have followed us into adulthood.
I’m sure this rings true for many people. We all hear or see something nearly every day from our co-workers and friends. We don’t mean to revert back to our teenage years, but it’s so tempting to want to hear a juicy gossipy story about someone you know or can relate to. News of any good nature is great, but it’s so boring (I’m being sarcastic), right? We want to have the inside scoop, because somehow it makes us feel better. I mean think of the soap operas and the tabloids. We love to watch and read them because we feel like our drama-filled lives are nothing compared to some of those in the limelight.
According to the Social Issues Research Center (SIRC), people gossip because “it helps us to establish, develop and maintain relationships; to bond with other members of our social circle; to clarify our social position and status; to assess and manage reputation; to learn social skills; to learn and reinforce shared values; to resolve conflicts; to build support networks; and to win friends and influence people.”
According to the SIRC, gossip accounts for 55 percent of men’s conversation time and 67 percent of women’s.
That’s crazy! And sad.
It goes with the humorous Alice Roosevelt Longworth quote: “If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” Misery loves company.
We really need to think before we speak because statistics show that people generally remember, on average, about 20 to 30 percent of what they hear. They will usually remember what you tell them something about someone else. That is why it is so important to know your facts first. An old proverb states: “What you don’t see with your eyes, don’t witness with your mouth.”
All I can suggest is that when you do hear gossip, look at the person who is saying these things and assess that individual. Think about where this is coming from and then take from it what you know to be the truth. If you aren’t sure, go directly to the source. Get to know that person and make your own assessments.
According to improvingyourworld.com here are a few ways you can avoid getting caught up in gossip:
1. Ask yourself why you gossip. Once you know why you are gossiping, you can start correcting the root of the problem.
2. Change the subject. Say something like, “I’d rather not talk about a situation I don’t know anything about,” and then change the subject to something more positive.
3. Act as if that person was standing right there. Before saying anything about someone else, ask yourself if you would feel comfortable knowing they could hear what you were saying, or if they were standing beside you. If you wouldn’t say it in front of them, don’t say it at all.
Life is too short to go around focusing on everyone else. Re-route your energy to focus on how you portray yourself. We are all human and none of us are perfect. We all make mistakes and most of the time they are purely innocent.
Just try to be conscious of your words because they do hold a lot of power.
so cool? You would listen and, even though you knew it was wrong, or you felt bad inside, you may have laughed and agreed. And perhaps one day you heard something about yourself and got very upset?
Whitney is an on-air multimedia personality, and works behind the scenes helping businesses gain extra exposure, through her WIN Promotions video production services.