“Can you hear the sounds in the neighbor’s house? I wonder what they are fighting over. Carrie told me that she doubts her husband. It is probably about that. How mean he is!”
“Rita has been lately staying at home. Did she lose her job?”
At a party, “Rony had been spending quite a huge sum these days. There is no legal way he could have earned so much.”
Well! Well! All of us would have gossiped some time or the other. And some of us live only on gossip. And a very few of us hate it. We know it is wrong. But why is it wrong?
Why do we gossip?
Gossip started as a social bonding activity in the early days. It was used to condemn immoral behavior. It sets the unwritten rules in the community. In 21stcentury, do we still need to gossip?
Now, we gossip for a variety of reasons which are not so useful. Some people gossip because that is the only way to make friends for them. When two people dislike the same person, they just become thick friends. Their friendship runs on the hatred for the common enemy. Shared hatred makes a stronger bond then shared positivity. For a few others, it helps in overcoming their inferiority complex. Some do it just out of envy. Whatever might be the reason for it, it is a negative behavior which one should get rid of.
Why should you not gossip?
It lowers your value:
Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.Do you want to be the small mind?
It lowers trust levels:
No one trusts a person who gossips. People want their secrets to be safe. The person whom you gossip will not trust you because he knows that you will gossip about him also to someone else.
It ruins relations:
People who gossip do not have healthy relations. Their relations live on negativity. They just live on a guilty pleasure. And all they have are superficial friends. Happiness depends on the number of quality friends you have and not quantity.
It breeds negativity:
If you keep gossiping all the time, you are only looking at the negative qualities in a person. You will never be able to be happy if you continue your life in negative pleasure. When you look at the positive qualities in a person, life looks more positive.
It does not help you grow:
When you satisfy your ego by gossiping, you are only looking ways to put others down but not the ways in you can improve. Do you want to keep degrading or improving in life?
How to not gossip?
Put yourself in others shoes:
Have you ever heard a gossip about you come back to you? How did you feel? You must have felt very humiliated. Won’t the other people feel the same? Irrespective of whether they are good or bad, you don’t have the permission to hurt others. You have better work to do than judging others. If you truly think what they have done is wrong, inform the person what the right behavior is. Talking behind their back helps no one, including you and him.
Triple filter test:
Whenever you are tempted to gossip, ask the following three questions:
Is it true?
Is it good?
Is it useful?
If the answer is false for even one of them, don’t talk about it.
Katy: Mary is dating Richards.
You: Did Mary or Richard tell you about it?
Katy: No, I have seen them together a lot of times.
That’s purely gossip. Avoid this at all costs.
Ask yourself “What’s bothering me?”
When you feel like gossiping, ask yourself why you feel like gossiping. In the previous example, Katy must have been envious of Mary for spending a lot of time with Richard which she was not able to. If Katy would have worked on becoming a better person, her chances of spending time with a person like Richard increases. She should work on it rather than gossiping about Mary.
Make healthy relations:
Develop a few hobbies. Read more about what interests you. Next time you meet your friends you can talk about interesting topics. Tell them what you learnt in a way they can relate to. They will start liking you.
Give up gossiping. Make your life healthier and happier.
Happy stopping gossip!