Gossip is the lube that makes chatter flow freely.
It’s too easy to find yourself immersed in the he said / she said. Some gossip gets mean. Rumors fly about coworkers. Personal lives are laid out to bare for all who would rip it apart.
Nasty gossip is best left untouched. Here’s three reasons you need to let sink in:
I didn’t know you were behind me! Have you ever found yourself talking about another person only to discover them right behind you? You get a sinking feeling in your stomach as you wonder what they heard. Wouldn’t it be better to never go through that again? There’s a similar but worse feeling waiting for you. You could be the person that just walked into the room. You heard your name. They all shut up when they see you. Silence. What were they saying?
Who knows what you said? You’re pretty sure every word is a secret between you and whoever you told. Right? I mean, you can trust the people you gossip with. They would never do that to you. Right? Imagine sitting next to the person you were gossiping about. Are you still sure they don’t know what you said? Do you still trust your words were kept private? Feel that doubt start to creep into your mind.
Don’t be so sure you look good. You might be gossiping about other people, but pay attention to the other person’s reactions. What are they thinking? It’s possible they just decided you’re not trustworthy. You may be painting yourself into a very negative corner. You need to be careful what you say, but that’s not enough. You also need to be careful how you say it, and who you hears it.
I’m guilty of gossip. I’ve also been the subject of gossip. The reality is most of what you say and most of what you hear just isn’t true. It’s often outright lies and myth. I’m confident the same is true about the rumors that fly around about you.
Why would you do that to another person?
I’m not just going to point a finger at you and say, “Bad! Stop it!” That’s not what Tribe Awakened is about.
Here’s a couple alternatives to gossip:
Take Control of the Conversation: Your buddy starts fueling the rumor mill. You can join in and keep the gossip going. You could also break the chain. Try to counter gossip by inserting positive information about the subject.
Your coworker might say, “Hey, that new kid is stupid. He told somebody the wrong price, and now he has to pay the difference.”
You could respond, “Yeah, I heard he messed up. We all mess up sometimes. At least he can say he’s new. He”s going to be fine.”
You can always find something positive to say. You know the saying, if you can’t say something nice …
Check Your Gratitude: There’s a lot of unhappiness in the world. We’re all under stress unlike any in history. You have shitty friends, shitty coworkers, shitty bosses, shitty pay, and …you get the picture. Go ahead and vent for a minute. Let it out.
Do you feel better? Good! Start looking around for what makes you happy. Those are your new talking points.
Drop It Like It’s Hot: You tried to take control of the conversation. It didn’t work. Now they’re laughing at your expense. You’re going to be a star in the next round of gossip. You offered your own gratitude. Nobody cared.
You’re not obligated to gossip. There’s nothing to be gained by allowing negative people to dominate your life. Take some time to reflect on whether those are the people you want in your life.
Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. — Eleanor Roosevelt
This might be the most challenging change in my life. I’ve become more aware of what I talk about, and especially who I talk about, since I started writing this post. I’m far from perfect, and that’s o.k. Perfection is not the goal.
When in doubt, remember the first rule. Be Excellent to each other!