Shut My Mouth! 5 Ways to Stop Being a Gossip

by Bryant Evans on September 27, 2010

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pharyngeal_flap_procedures3.gifAfter reading 5 Ways to Stop Gossip, one of our readers asked; “How should the gossiper stop gossiping; if it is a struggle in his or her life?” That’s a great question. We have talked about how you can stop gossip at work and how to stop gossip in the church, but never about how to stop yourself from gossiping.

There are some who gossip out of meanness or hatred. But I suspect most gossip is never intended. No one wants to be the victim of gossip and they don’t want to be a gossiper themselves. When caught gossiping they are embarrassed. So how do you stop? Help me shut my mouth!

Here are 5 ideas. If you have some thoughts please share them in the comments.

  1. Educate Yourself to the Harm of Gossip. Gossip hurts. Stop and think of times when you were the victim of wagging tongues. That experience is a great teacher. Can you remember the look on someone’s face when they discovered what people were saying behind their back? It wasn’t pleasant. By reliving and feeling again the pain of gossip, you will teach yourself not to talk poorly of others. That’s a good way to shut your mouth.
  2. Learn to be a Listener. When your mouth is closed and you are listening you cannot gossip. Sometimes a gossiper believes that he has  the “best news” and cannot wait to share it. Learn to listen more and talk less. Now you must be careful what you listen to. If you allow a constant stream of gossip to enter your mind it will find a way to your mouth. But try to listen more. It will help you shut your mouth.
  3. Slow Down. The old folks used to say “count to 10 before you say anything.” That’s a cute old saying but it really does work. By deliberately slowing the pace of your response you give yourself time to think about what you are going to say. You can quickly ask yourself if you really want to say what you’re thinking. I am convinced that most gossip is really just careless talk. It’s the kind of comment that just seems to pop out. Slowing down will help prevent careless talk. Give your improving mind time to shut your mouth.
  4. Be Aware of Gossip Situations. When do you gossip? At the gym? In the break room? At lunch with friends or co-workers? In the aisle at Walmart? On the cellphone while driving? Identify the times, places and people that trigger your gossip habit. It’s not necessary to eliminate them but just be aware of the danger. When a police officer breaks down the door of a drug dealers house he knows danger is present and he takes precautions. Do the same. When you walk into that gossip situation keep telling yourself, “Shut my mouth!”
  5. Get an Accountability Partner. Sometimes we need a little extra strength. Find a close friend who will be your partner in breaking the gossip habit. You need someone who you frequently see or talk to, is reliable, is brave enough to rebuke you and who will not drift into gossip with you. If they are with you when you start to gossip make sure they will stop you. Have a silly code word they can use to remind you to stop talking. They can use that code word in a crowd of people and no one but the two of you will know what it means. Talk to them daily and report how you have done. Be completely transparent. It will take a while but they will shut your mouth for you!

The greatest tool you have is not listed. It’s special. Make your  life right with the Lord and pray for his strength to overcome gossip. He is a faithful friend who will help.

I’d like your thoughts. Please share them below in the comments section.

 Follow Preacher's Study Blog on Twitter @Preachers_Study. 
On Facebook, please like us at Preacher's Study Blog.
Contact Bryant directly by email at [email protected] 

{ 19 comments }

ed October 2, 2010 at 8:23 am

We have great leadership in our congregation right now. I believe that can be a factor in reducing gossip in the church. Good article, will definately help me.

Bryant Evans October 2, 2010 at 8:59 pm

You are right about leadership. I hope we appreciate their work.

Gossip is a problem for everyone at some point. We just have to keep trying.

Guerda October 28, 2010 at 9:12 am

Thanks!! I needed that!! God Bless!!

Bryant Evans October 29, 2010 at 8:48 am

Thank you for visiting Guerda, please come back often.

Cindy Warren January 30, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Hope you don’t mind if I borrow some of your work. I’ll give you proper credit. This is just awesome work. You’ve done a fine job as always!

Bryant Evans January 31, 2011 at 6:32 am

Thank you.

Anonymous March 25, 2011 at 5:37 am

I feel that most gossip has a more underlying cause, at least in my life. In some cases it’s jealousy but mine began in anger, after ridicule and insult, as a way to diffuse steam. The problem is that the kettle is still boiling. How does one keep negative critism and insult from becoming the fuel to the fire? I feel its not so easy to ignore it, like I used to.

Bryant Evans March 25, 2011 at 6:12 am

Thanks for visiting. You may have a good point there. Do you think people are jealous of you or are you the jealous one? Of course much gossip is just as you said, steam that is venting. We sure need to be cautious when spouting off because some really awful things can follow!

I’d like for you to flesh out your thoughts a little more and explain in greater detail what you are talking about. I think you are on to something here.

Jamie August 21, 2012 at 11:25 pm

I find myself listening to others tell me things that they shouldn’t and then I feel bad about it. It may not even be mean stuff but the thing is that I feel like if someone did not tell me something then I shouldn’t know about it from a third party. Tell me how I should recognize this so that I can become a better Christian to my brothers and sisters.

Niki September 12, 2012 at 3:57 pm

I have recently been super convicted on this topic. After much evaluation, I have determined that most of the talk we have is idle chit chat. What do you talk about? It’s almost as if I have to re learn how to conversate in a way that is Christ-honoring. Any suggestions?

Danika September 18, 2012 at 4:04 am

I’ve hurt many people, because I didn’t know how to keep my mouth closed .it gets even worst when I’m around a set of people from my church, I swear I can’t tell you one sabbath we weren’t sitting down gossiping about others. Sometimes I would try not to get sucked in all that drama taking place at the time but some how I found myself dragged in. but now I’m sick and tired not only did this create enemies. But it also made me unhappy and guilty. I knew in my heart it’s wrong and hurtful I just couldn’t seem to rid myself of this toxic habit I picked up. What I want know is to stop I want to be st peace with myself knowing I’m not in this kinda drama anymore, please save me from my evil ways I need help I really don’t want to hurt the ones I love and care about

amy October 7, 2012 at 5:25 pm

hi danika,

i struggle from the same bad ways. maybe try and refocuse your energy and put some strong life plans in place. harmless gossip hurts. i do it enough i know. Sometimes gossip is just venting your thoughts out load. but maybe reigning them in might be more wise. best of luck x

Lee Ann October 24, 2012 at 11:22 am

is it gossip if a good good friend calls and talks about how people have upset her at work,i dont even know the people and what she tells me i keep in confidence.i know she does it to vent and i listen and tell her how i see the person/persons she is upset with at work.what actually is the difference between gossip and venting when you are upset or have been wronged.is it a sin? because i do get confussed about it. is it ok just to listen and be there for her and just give advice or just be a listner.

Bryant Evans November 5, 2012 at 9:21 am

It is a fine line. Perhaps it is possible to vent without calling names? We all need some outlet to use when our frustrations run high. I would use extreme caution however. It may be that we need to encourage our friends to resolve problems directly rather than venting. You would agree that venting is, at best, a temporary solution?

Shimu November 6, 2012 at 6:47 am

Actually, I find myself starting to gossip more often each time I am upset at work. I wanted to stop myself because I hate myself for behaving this way yet I just cannot control my mouth!!!! Sometime I hate my mouth but I am really upset especially with my superior etc…. I felt that I am stating the facts but I knew at the same time that I shouldn’t be doing so as it may get me into trouble one day. However, I got this REAL BAD problem that is sharing around! Well I do not want to have a bad reputation that I am a gossiper!!!! Can someone teach me how to kick off this bad habit???

Bryant Evans November 6, 2012 at 8:31 am

Hi Shimu, you have taken the first step by recognizing that you may have a problem. You don’t seem to be hiding from it. I recall a job I once had in the secular world. My superior was very critical of everything done by his subordinates while failing to see his own shortcomings. My solution, which helped, was to pray fervently all the way to work every morning. In a sense, I was praying more for me than for him. Finally, after months and months, I left that job and began my road to preaching. Without that superior, I might never have begun to preach the gospel. You might find that this person is really pushing you in a better direction. Maybe there are better pastures beyond. I would take it up with God in prayer.

Thanks for your visit and please come again!

Mac December 4, 2012 at 5:54 pm

I feel like everyone at my job gossips. And sadly the worst gossipers are my managers, so I don’t know what to do when one of them comes up to me and starts talking bad about another manager. Is listening just as bad as gossiping even if I don’t comment? And if so… what do you say? We also quite frequently share our crazy customer stories… is this wrong? And while I’m at it I’ll throw one more question to the pile 🙂 …Is there such a thing as gossiping to your spouse? Because it seems like I should be able to tell my spouse anything.

Bryant Evans December 5, 2012 at 6:46 am

Hi Mac, thanks for visiting. I hope you will become one of our regulars here.

One woman I know had a similar issue at work. She simply asked the gossiper, “Why are you telling me this?” When he could not answer she added, “I think you are telling me because you think I will gossip. But you are wrong.”

There is often a fine line between gossip and conversation. Some of it is motivation but even if well intended such talk can still be harmful and gossip. I would suspect that with your wife such discussions probably are not gossip – assuming she doesn’t repeat what you say!

Taylor April 1, 2013 at 7:19 pm

I’ve had a problem in this area lately, and found this article very helpful!! Thanks for writing it!

Comments on this entry are closed.

{ 3 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: