Gossip is an activity that’s easy to enter into, but one that brings no good result. People of character do not gossip, and they do not indulge in activities that hurt or harm others.
Discussing the events and circumstances of others for entertainment purposes, whether to belittle them, to uncover a fault, or to gain insight into something that’s not our business, is a no-win endeavor.
Gossip is a coward’s way to feel important.
Men and women of valor care about what they do and say even when no one is watching, and when others are watching and listening, they won’t defame another to build their own reputation or advance their own agenda. They honor not only those in the room, but those who are out of earshot and nowhere in sight.
Gossip hurts, harms, and causes problems for others. No one should be so shallow that the hurt of another human being means little or nothing. Even if indulging in a tad bit of gossip resulted in benefits for the one gossiping, it would be reward not deserved. Dignity and quality character trump gossip every time.
People with wisdom know this and avoid the temptation to gossip, as alluring as it can be. If you care about your conscience, your reputation, and your ability to positively influence others, stay away from gossip and the damage it brings.
If someone is gossiping to you for any reason, respectfully decline. You might suggest that you focus on something more positive, or that you’d rather not comment on something that might be hearsay. Then, flip the topic to something empowering.
Gossipers—especially the skilled ones—try not to make it too obvious as they seek to pull you in. They initiate by holding you up as a person of importance, whose opinion or prayers they seek. Their gossip entry points are often disguised as, “I’m concerned about something, and I
thought you should know since it may affect you,” or, “I heard this report, but I just want you to know about it so you can pray,” or, “I want you to be aware that this person is not really on your side as you thought they were,” and other such erroneous statements.
This sort of communication may make you feel “special,” “VIP-ish,” or “privy” as its being shared—as if you are a key confidant to the one spreading the gossip—but you quickly learn that such people are not true friends, either to you or to the one about whom they are gossiping. Friends don’t harm friends.
It’s uncomfortable to be put on the spot by a gossiper, yet understand that you absolutely do have a choice! You may indeed have to take a leadership role in the situation. When gossip begins, without pointing a finger of shame or blame, say something like, “I make it a point to stay clear of information about others that’s not coming from them personally,” or “Let’s skip this conversation and move on to something more uplifting,” or, “I’d rather discuss something important; what’s been going on with you?”
The gossiper will get the point.
One way to actually remove occurrences of gossip in your life is to wisely decide with whom you will spend your time.
Choose quality friends who have a positive and important sense of life-mission, and steer clear of those who like to spread gossip—even if the news has some truth to it, and even if either the person gossiping or the person being gossiped about, seems “important.”
If you want your life to be blessed and your life-work to take on greater meaning, influence, and impact, don’t be a gossip.
It’s just not worth the price!
Author copyright, Margo DeGange, M.Ed. 2016. Photo: Horse, 277903 © Darko Draskovic | Dreamstime
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