16 Comments on Gossip

Is gossip good or bad? If I tell my daughters that gossiping is bad, am I right? If psychologists inform me that gossip is inevitable and extremely beneficial, are they right as well? Yes, there is good and bad gossip and we need to distinguish the two.

As psychologist James Lynch puts it: “Human dialogue can be a great healer or a great destroyer.”

In my opinion, there should be two separate words to connote spreading information in the absence of those about whom we speak. “Gossip” should be reserved for the negative transmission of stories that aim at maligning one’s character, integrity, behavior and essence. “Godspeak” could serve as the term used for dispensing positive, admiring, loving and positive information about others.

The benefits of gossip is beneficial for creating a healthy connection, building social norms for acceptable and unacceptable behavior and improving society.

Just recently, I was told about a person’s moral integrity. Without giving sordid details, I was shocked that the gossippee (the gossip victim) is capable of such an immoral act. Shaking my head, I believed the gossippee might have their side of the story. I was in for another shock. True enough, I had the chance to talk to the “gossippee” and their version was the total opposite of the “gossipper”. Confusing? It breaks my heart because I know both of them and they are wonderful people. I don’t know whom to believe. Such an accusation is total defamation to the character of both the “gossipper” and the “gossippee”.

Did the “gossipper” intend to harm the “gossippee”? If harm is the intention, this is a most despicable behavior that is never justified. If the gossip is true, I believed the gossipper’s intention was to create boundaries in friendships. But still….Gossiping about another for motives of diminishing him or her in order to build up themselves or to judge the person hurts friendships in the end.

That last gossip encounter made me realize that if people can gossip about other people in front of me, then I could be the next gossip victim.

All I could tell the gossip victim was to just live their life in a healthy manner and to prove that the “gossip” was a misunderstanding. It got me thinking too ” why didn’t the gossiper resolve the issue directly to that person?” Direct , clean conversation clears the air and paves the way for good feelings about ourselves and our relationship with others.

I resolved that I will resist and place boundaries when I am faced with another gossip.

Here are some tips I read to deal with gossip better:

1. Create healthy ways of connecting with others that do not require negative talk about a third party.

2. When you are told about another person, ask for verification of the information. Trusting that what is said is true without challenging its veracity makes you a partner in perpetuating gossip.

3. If you hear negative talk — refuse to listen and politely attempt to stop the speaker.

4. Ask the “gossipper” to tell you what positive things he may relate about the individual he is criticizing.

5. When you are entrusted with a secret, feel honored and never repeat it to anyone. Repeating confidences is like stealing one’s dignity.

6. Feel free to share positive gossip with others, provided that your facts are correct.

7. As enjoyable as it may be to bond with someone temporarily through gossip, the damage to all parties is immeasurable. Resist the momentary temptation for gaining a wholesome sense of self-respect.

Have you ever been a victim of “bad gossip”?

Noemi Lardizabal-Dado (1388 Posts)

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ gmail.com) for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.

  • tsk! tsk! there’s healthy gossip and harmful gossip. We know which one is the latter. and whoever’s guilty of spreading lies and misinformation, for whatever motive, shows complete lack of character. We may let other people believe what we spread but there’s always someone Up There who knows the truth, so why fool yourself and deceive others in the process? (*more food for thought)

  • KK

    That’s why I like blogging to interact with people :), I can choose what to write and what to read about.
    I read gossip magazines about celebs while waiting in line at the grocery store but I don’t spend a dime on them 😉 .

    “That last gossip encounter made me realize that if people can gossip about other people in front of me, then I could be the next gossip victim.”
    –> Got that right! So it’s best to keep things neutral. Gossiping about our friends, neighbors and relatives isn’t really a productive way to spend time.

    If I cannot avoid to be told a gossip I just keep it to myself.

  • @ajay- the truth will always prevail in the end.

    @KK- Being neutral is the best way to cope with the gossip . there are always 2 sides to a story.

  • Aha, I am guilty of gossiping too. But it’s funny, because in some weird way, ang sarap makipagchismisan. But still it’s bad.

    One time, my friends and I were pissed off with this other guy, and since we were all pissed, we ended up talking about him — what he did to me, what he did to her, what he did to others — and in the end we all disliked him even more, and felt bad because we all gossiped and we didn’t do anything for us to resolve this dislike. What’s funny was we started off the conversation with, “I have a concern”, and usually, concerns are things we pray for, and we didn’t pray for this guy we disliked. Since then, we have made a rule for ourselves: if you have no intention of praying about the “concern”, don’t say anything about it because it’s gossip already.

    I’m not sure if I have been a victim of bad gossip recently — I had this quiet falling out with some officemates but until now I don’t know why we drifted apart. :/

  • @tina- guilty as well. Gossip is a great bonding tool, something to talk about during idle times. I try to be neutral when this happens or try to steer the conversation to something positive that the person has that will compensate the negative issues.

  • Riz

    In as much as I enjoy making tsismis myself, I do have to agree — it hurts when you become the object of tsismis. Especially when you know you can’t defend yourself. Like for example, you know that people are talking about you because you happened to be involved in some issues concerning someone who’s close to them. While it is none of your business as these people who are talking about you are not naman your “friends” to begin with, you are left with no choice but to just shut your ears and ignore the noise, and pretend na you’re not affected, and let them think whatever they want to think of you. Which really sucks.

    So you end up wishing everyday that you can somehow redeem yourself from all the tsimis, to no avail. I guess sometimes that’s how I’ve gotten that attitude na, “fine, think whatever you want to think of me, i dont care” — it works sometimes, but at some point, you know you still care about what people think.

    I guess I get my sanity in the fact that as long as I know na I didn’t do anything wrong, and I am just, as you termed it, a “victim” after all, then I shouldn’t care about these people who are making tsismis nalang. At the end of the day, what matters is that those people who are important to you.. they’re the ones who know the truth.

    Hay nako Miss Noemi, your posts always seem to hit a soft spot in your readers. Para tuloy nagiging labasan ng sama ng loob tong comments section mo. Hehe.

    Good day to you. 🙂

  • and when one gossip is passed on to another, it will be an entirely different version. imagine how distorted the story could already be. and they always say that filipinos are fond of gossip. i just hope this stereotyping of filipinos is changed.

  • am guilty of being a gossiper sometimes. 🙂

    by the way, i’m dropping by here to greet you a very Happy Mothers Day in advance. Sunday will be quite hectic, pampering day for us so I thought it’s best to advance my greeting. let’s all be proud to be Moms, right?

    can’t wait to finally meet you in the Mommy Lunch 🙂

  • in my opinion, gossip is bad in nature (just like in the movie, Gossip) but as usual, there’ll always be two sides of the coin. however, i wonder if “inuman” (or gossip version in guys) is just the same as “tsismisan”.

  • @riz-however when the gossip involves 2 friends, it needs to be threshed out to clear the air. True, gossip is a part of our daily lives hence it hits a soft spot. Ah it’s good to vent in a safe place like comments. hehe

    @sexy mom- i clearly remember that game where the first person that whispered to the last person became totally different in the end.

    @feng- am pampering myself too. Advanced Mother’s day

    @nightfox- there are always 2 sides. I guess guys are also tsismoso but they are more talkative with the influence of alcohol.

  • hi noemi, I thought I clicked “submit” yesterday. So eto uli.

    Yes I have been a victim of gossips many times. The first & worst happened when I was still in high school. And the rumormonger was my homeroom adviser! It’s a low blow. It’s a very long story. But suffice to say it was a hell of a year to endure under the supposed supervision of that woman.

    Nowadays since I don’t mingle with too many Pinoys, I don’t get involved in gossips anymore. At least I hope I’m not subject to one behind my back. But mind you during parties & gatherings, gossiping is a staple. I have to admit I am privy to some & I listen a lot. Then when I get home, I can’t wait to tell hubby. We keep it to ourselves na lang. I know still naughty but human nature I guess. Basta wag na akong tatawag sa iba – parang lumang PLDT commercial.

  • Eilanna

    what if the gossiper and the gossipee are one and the same?

  • Gossip is always a communication problem. We should never be afraid to talk to others, specifically the person concerned, whether we’re about to say something good or not so good, because that’s the only way we can resolve problems harmoniously. At the very least, the parties can just agree to disagree. 🙂

  • @auee- most filipinos are non-confrontational. I know confrontations can be quite intimidating at first. In the end, it resolves issues faster.

    @elianna-if he/she is the gossiper and the gossipee , then that person has attention problem issues.

    @markku- definitely a communication problem. It’s best to be honest to each other especially if they are both friends to start with or it involves a group of friends.

  • Nice tips to avoiding gossip. Gossip does not bring any benefit…I do not like gossip. We better do not talk about other’s bad…Moreover, if we are not sure whether that’s true or not.

  • Ruel

    Thank you very much for the tips on dealing with gossip better. I have grabbed those tips and sent it to a friend.