How Gossip Hurts Friendships

      13 Comments on How Gossip Hurts Friendships

““It is perfectly monstrous the way people go about nowadays saying things against one, behind one’s back, that are absolutely and entirely true.” Oscar Wilde

gossipJust recently, I received an email from a friend (let’s call Delta) straightening the facts of a gossip in a recent reunion. The email was directed to the alleged gossiper (let’s call Alpha) and another friend (let’s call Beta). Take note that this is communication among “best” friends.

It was supposed to be a clarification of the “gossip” but instead the communication was totally ignored and made public by Alpha and Beta. The point of the email was to clarify. Direct , clean conversation clears the air and paves the way for good feelings about ourselves and our relationship with others.

All of us love to share tidbits of information – it’s human nature. Right? except it often appears as mere gossip and defined as ““idle talk or writing, tattle”. One can gossip good news, but too often the gossip game takes over and distortions set in. Negative gossip, the showing of others in a bad light, is especially popular as gleaned by the high sales of the gutter press. Scandal is more titillating!

Usually, when I hear a negative talk about a friend, I just shrug it off because there are always two sides of the story. 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. Though I was a gossip victim, I was able to discuss and straighten it out in the end with much difficulty but still, it was resolved. But this one is different. I discovered that Alpha and Beta removed Delta and me as Facebook Friends and perhaps others too. What was all that about? Aren’t friends supposed to talk and discuss? Were they friends in the first place? Were they guilty? or afraid to confront the truth?

Hello, friends, we are 52 years old! Wake up, we are not kids.

Moral of the story: Don’t pass on ““juicy tidbits” of information (true or not) unless verifying the facts from the ““gossipper” or the ““gossippee”. It’s tempting to do so. Like the child gloating ““I know something you don’t know..bleh” then sticks out tongue. Some may think that by exposing others, they themselves appear more righteous. Remember. when YOU point a finger, there are three fingers pointing back at you. Blowing out someone’s candle does not make yours shine brighter.

If there is gossip among friends, clear the air instead of being defensive and ignoring the issue. What’s funny is that they chose to place the scapegoat on the “informant” which is immaterial because the issue is the malicious gossip. A mere explanation or an apology would have cleared the issue but Alpha chose to ignore.

Studies say that Gossip creates friendships, it does not break them. Research shows that sharing negative attitudes about others may have positive consequences; it promotes closeness and friendship. But this gossip was different because it involved Delta’s family. Certain gossips destroy friendships because it maligns the character of a person. Even if you are not actively involved in the gossip, if you are in the group and not sticking up for your friend, it could still damage your friendship.

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 (1385 Posts)

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ 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.

  • I know how it feels. Usually, I just ignore these things until they die out. But then, it doesn’t always apply. Well, there are always people who doesn’t have anything better to do than gossip.

    I’ve been into one when it got totally out of hand and it broke our barkada apart. We tried to fix things, but it took us years. And arund 2-3 years, we met up and just laugh at all our mistakes and are still friends but the old closeness were never there anymore.

    While it’s still there, it’s better to mend it early, I guess.
    .-= Euri´s last blog ..Filipinos: Your Country Needs Help! =-.

    • i think this latest gossip just destroyed friendships. I wonder if it will ever be mended.

  • My mom always tells me ..


    And i believe this to be sooooo true!!!

    Careful, careful!!
    .-= Didi´s last blog ..Singapore!! =-.

    • better to state facts and not embellish them

  • Actually, in college, we were taught that gossip starts from an information vacuum. I’m facing a situation right now where gossip is creating division, and the only way to make it better is to be even more open and vulnerable. To paraphrase Ninoy, quoting Gandhi, if someone talks ill about you, give that person nothing ill to talk about. If that person persists, then before the eyes of God and the eyes of man, that person is the only sinner.
    .-= Francis Acero´s last blog ..Pardon My French, Part Deux =-.

    • how hard not to talk ill. Certain actions cause misinterpretations.

  • I don’t know if I’d ever been a victim of gossip… I don’t listen to them so this is one case where ignorance is bliss 🙂

    Seriously, I tell my daughters all the time that if one of their friends can gossip about another, what’s to stop them from gossiping about them when they’re not around? A gossip will always be a gossip and there is no such thing as ‘this is just between you and me’. Anyone who says that to you has probably been saying the same thing to everyone all day.

    Sad that your friends decided to ‘un friend you’ but like you said, we’re not in high school anymore so it’s probably for the best anyway.
    .-= JMom´s last blog ..Have you Brightened Someone’s Day Lately? =-.

  • I’m a gossip blackhole. I simply don’t care enough to spread them.
    .-= BrianB´s last blog ..Globe to release iPhone 3GS on July 31, 2009 =-.

  • Gossip? What’s that? Haha. i know my time is better spent on studying the law and not *cough* gossiping *cough*

    Seriously though, I don’t gossip about friends. Just celebrities.
    .-= pinoygossipboy´s last blog ..Kris Aquino to host Pilipinas Got Talent =-.

  • kristine0019

    To be honest, I don’t know why people waste so much time talking about things that are almost always not true (such is the nature of gossip). Gossip really is damaging – it can severe the closest of friendships, pit family members against one another and can even cost a person his or her job.

    But then, what do you expect from a country whose idea of “current events” are showbiz scandals?

    • gossip to make oneself look like a hero. or to be entertaining. It is so bad there is gossip but even worst if it is embellished.

  • Pingback: When Friends Leave… Let Go! | A Filipina Mom Blogger()

  • I agree, I’ve seen so many friendships fail from constant bickering and backstabbing. People can be very cruel sometimes.
    .-= mimi´s last blog ..Jack’s Inner Brat =-.