Gossip and what it costs

“Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.” – Socrates

Wendy Rhyason, MA Counselling

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, STETTLER FCSS

“Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.” – Socrates

Have you ever been the subject of gossip? Gossip is idle talk or a rumor that is discussed without consideration or thought to the potential negative effects upon the person being discussed. Often the person gossiping does so without thinking about the negative effect they might have on others.

There are various reasons why people gossip:

• a need to fit in

• a need to vent or validate their perspective

• a need to feel superior

• a need to say they have been wronged

• a need to get support, or rally spectators

• for fun or excitement

• a need to avoid conflict or avoid resolution

All of these reasons to gossip are destructive to relationships and to you personally. Before you gossip consider these consequences:

1. You reap what you sow

If you’re gossiping about someone else, you can rest assured that, at some point, someone will also gossip about you.

2. It isolates you

Ultimately, gossiping will isolate you. People will still talk to you and you’ll still have friends, but you’ll be known as the person that gossips.

3. No one trusts you

No one is going to trust you. Even your best friends might hesitate before sharing anything serious with you, especially if they fear you’ll gossip about it.

4. You hurt others

One of the worst effects of gossip is the pain it causes others. Put yourself in their place, and remember a time when you’ve been hurt by gossip.

5. It tarnishes your integrity

When you gossip your integrity is tarnished. People definitely won’t trust you, they’ll certainly be hurt by your actions, and those you love may even have difficulty believing anything you say.

6. It spreads lies

Many times, a story gets exaggerated entirely out of proportion. By gossiping and spreading the rumor, you’re lying as well.

If you’ve ever been the target of gossip and untrue rumors, you know how hurtful it is. Whether something is true or not, knowing that people are talking about you is painful. You feel embarrassed, humiliated, and ashamed, even if you’ve done nothing to be ashamed of in the first place. Does that mean you can never discuss another person with others? No, but be very careful of your motives. When you are talking about another person but not gossiping, there is an effort to understand and maintain the other person’s wellbeing and integrity. A good measure is to ask yourself – if the person walked into the middle of this conversation would there be any embarrassment about what is being discussed?

Gossip is harmful and destroys relationships. When you are tempted to gossip about others, remember the pain you felt when people gossiped about you. Remind yourself about the cost to you personally if you engage in gossip. Refuse to participate in something that tears other people down.

To learn less hurtful and more effective ways to express your feelings or if you are the subject of gossip, we are here to help you deal with your emotions. Please contact FCSS for a list of resources or to see one of our counsellors.

 


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