Gossip is an insidious cancer that invades and destroys relationships daily. Even when no harm is intended gossip hurts. People universally agree that gossip is bad yet it never seems to go away. Why is it so powerful? What fuels the need to gossip? There are several answers I’m sure but here are a couple that are especially worth considering.
Gossiping Makes Me the Center of Attention
Have you noticed that a bad or negative story always attracts a crowd. Like buzzards drawn to roadkill people will quickly surround the storyteller and make them the immediate center of attention. That attention satisfies a deep need for acceptance in our community.
Remember however, we are satisfying our own needs at the expense of someone else’ reputation.
Slow down. Give yourself time to think about what you are doing. A few minutes will bring clarity of your own thoughts and intentions. A mere 120 seconds can make the difference between being a gossiper or not. Slow down!
Gossiping About Someone Makes Me Look Better
Most gossip begins when we catch someone doing something wrong or embarrassing. If we in a competitive environment with that person it may seem to suit our needs to spread gossip about them and bring them down a little. If we bring them down it may seem that we move up in the social order. Of course we know gossip doesn’t help us but it only appears that way. Our rise is relative to their decrease. Therefore we gossip to enjoy that apparent improvement.
In reality, gossip brings us both down. We damage the other party but we also damage ourselves. Those who hear us gossip know we will also gossip about them. They have little interest in entrusting us with anything that may be confidential.
It takes two things to gossip. A speaker and a hearer. Take either one away and the gossip stops. Gossip will only stop when individuals make a decision to stop.