Remember that telephone game we played as children?
We all sat in a circle and the first person whispered a simple statement such as, “She is a girl” into a person’s ear. By the time the phrase was whispered to everyone in the circle it would turn into “She is a nice gorilla.”
It was funny at the time, but now when our friends say, “Did you hear about ____” our ears perk up and an audience is born.
Gossip hurts people, but most of us love to hear it anyway. Tabloids make a mint writing about celebrities and people getting their hearts smashed to smithereens. Gossip tends to hold a bottomless well of interest, yet when you are talking about someone when they are not around, ask yourself if you would feel comfortable sharing the same information if they were standing right in front of you?
Truly confident people don’t feel the need to gossip. If you want to be confident inside and out, then you need to get the gossip monkey off your back. Here are 8 reasons to stop gossiping, starting today.
1. Karma. When you gossip (or listen to others do it), you are inviting everyone around you to gossip about you as well.
2. Gossip is Hurtful. Gossip is really nothing more than empty noise and idol chatter. Its the language exchange people have when they feel otherwise insignificant. Gossip is a fuel that feeds egos, breaks hearts, and shatters confidence, but will never propel you forward.
3. Words can be crushing. The pen is mightier than the sword; the right words can cut a person to pieces and leave them writhing in pain. Gossip is verbal battery. When a person manufactures a rumor to hurt someone, shatter friendships and family, or make someone feel insignificant, they are being a verbal bully. And you would never want to be a bully, right?
4. Gossip serves no one. The next time you are around a gossiping magpie, ask yourself, “What will I accomplish by repeating this rumor?” Odds are, the answer is nothing. Gossip is often used to inflate the ego while deflating the feelings of another.
5. Hearing isn’t believing. Always ask yourself if you believe the information is true, and always take into consideration the origin of the gossip.
6. Exclusionary behavior is elementary school mean. The primary function of a rumor is to single out an individual and send the message that they are outside a social group and less worthy of friendship than others.
7. Gossip is destructive. Gossip leads to a decay of trust. It is painful, violating and often humiliating. Broadcasting private information exposes the flaws of another for all the world to judge. This leads to an erosion of trust and casts light on your own flawed character.
8. The buck stops here. Take a stand when people start gossiping around you. Make sure it always stops with you. Take a stand and never circulate information or be an audience to something you’re not proud of.
It’s easy to get caught up in day to day chit chat and to be curious about what is going on with other people. Comparing your life with others is natural, but when bonding with people about your friends and neighbors, it is easy for harmless information to turn into a hurtful situation.
Gossip is a destructive force; damaging to the reputations of those being gossiped about, as well as the reputations of those who spread rumor like wildfire.
Leave the gossip for celebrities. Never be willing to destroy your friendships by getting tangled in conversation that does nothing to reflect respect and honor for your friends.
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Cindy Platt is a parenting specialist who writes at Your Life’s Blueprint. Follow her on Twitter.