Gossip — we all need to know how to protect ourselves and others from it because none of us are immune, and it can stir up more trouble than a tornado. We’ve all been guilty of talking about someone who wasn’t in the room, and we’ve all been talked about behind our backs.
Some dismiss gossip as harmless chit-chat that pumps a little excitement into the air of a boring office, classroom, or anywhere there’s conversation. However, gossip is a ticking time-bomb of rumors, innuendos, half-truths, and hurtful truths. We need to stay clear of it to protect ourselves and others from its collateral damage.
But how do we know that we’re spreading gossip instead of sharing legitimate news or concern about the other people?
~If others are spreading gossip or rumors about us, how can we stop them (whether the stories are true or not)?
~When we hear others gossiping, how can we stop them without being rude?
Actually, the answer to all three questions is, “Very easily!”
You need two things: to know the manners for protecting yourself and others from gossip, and the moral courage to do the right thing.
The manners are easy right from the start.
The courage to confront someone who’s talking behind your back, or to break up a gossip-fest among your friends, family, or coworkers, is at first hard (and scary); however, once you flex your zero-tolerance muscles a few times, others will learn you’re a gossip-free zone.
In ancient times a rumor was a “continuous, confused noise, clamor, or din.” That’s an accurate description still today. The stress on people of untruths being spread or private truths being shared about them would fill their heads with thoughts and worries more maddening than a continuous clamor of pots banging on pans.