After 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!”
- 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.