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”?