SPREAD THE WORD
“Gossip is what no one claims to like, but everybody enjoys.”
~ Joseph Conrad
Ah, gossip, there are endless quotes about it. Everyone has an opinion about it. And most people claim never to do it.
Yet, almost all do, at one time or another. Some at more times than many others.
Benjamin Franklin says, “ The only way to prevent three people from gossiping about the other is if two of them are dead.
It’s one of those tricky things. Here in the land of gratitude and trust do we stick the gossip in “Break the Trust Jail?”
What is gossip and is it in fact so awful?
I have been known to gossip. I have spread it. Come up with it and been the victim of it.
I have when sworn not tell a soul, often ended up telling a soul or two; who in turn promised to never breath a word to anyone. Did they? What do you think? How else is gossip spread?
I think what separates gossip from “did you hear about Hugo and Kim” conversations (those of you too young to get the reference Google Bye-Bye Birdie) is information that is spread with the intent to hurt or wound others, feelings or reputations.
Gossip is also stories about people made up out of malice, jealously, hurt or other underworld feelings.
I’m not sure simply talking about others is gossip. If we stopped talking about other people totally, three quarters of what we talk about would disappear. So the line between chatter and gossip is a fine one. But I think fairly clear.
I don’t think most people mean to hurt others. I think most intentions are in the name of knowing something someone else doesn’t. But if information is currency, nasty gossiping is laundering dirty money.
I was found guilty of gossip last week. I passed on what someone told me about someone else that did not show them in a good light.
I was told this information by a good gossiper, the person who passed on their PhD in gossip to me, my mother.
We found out a few weeks later that what we heard was actually bad gossip, and not true. The worst part of the story was, the person was no longer alive, and could not defend themselves.
Once we were made aware of the truth, we both instantly owned our mistake to the people we had spoken to. We truly believed what we had heard was true. Why pass it on you might say? We are human.
We sent emails and explained the situation and how what we had heard turned out to be an unreliable source who had some bad feelings about the person they were talking about. We immediately went into damage control and owned our part of any misinformation that had been whispered about. We apologized profusely.
One person I emailed and explained it all to, sent me back a shall we say, judgmental response. I want’t expecting that as I have shared what could be considered gossip with this person for years.
The “old me” might have defended myself, but I chose to let it slide. I might have had it coming in this case, but I don’t’ think so. It wasn’t worth making a thing about. It was one of those cases when one owns ones missteps and someone wags their finger anyway. In the land of amends this will always happen.
Paul and I have an affirmation, about owning our poor behavior and one about not defending our mistakes that we have learned from, as long as we admit that we have in fact learned a lesson.
If one does gossip or has spread false rumors it is important to make amends. But these amends or apologizes will not always be met exactly the way we would like.
Many find “gossip” in the real sense a breaking of trust. Trust being one of the foundations of closeness. So one does have to be careful about what one says about whom.
One has to apologize without any expectations, it is simply to make right your wrong. Acknowledge where you have messed up in this ongoing classroom called life. Then move along with the hopes not to repeat your error and live in gratitude and trust.