Gossip: how would we like to be talked about?

Those who read my posts know I talk a lot about dreamy though – I believe – legitimate stuff: following inclinations towards creativity, honouring gifts, leaving parties early to go be a nerd, that sort of thing.

So this post might come as unexpected: something didactic, considering all my blog posts have been about writers’ block and the beauty of walking in the rain protected by the marvellous contraption of an umbrella which is heavily undervalued in society (shout out to the guy who invented umbrellas – good idea!) and coming to a crossroads and taking the narrow road.

I’ve written about the crunchiness of Autumn and how it’s probably the best season. I’m genuinely interested in watching ducks, and often – annoyingly – have the song ‘Climb every mountain’ in my head when I’m doing the dishes.

Anyway, you don’t need to know all that but actually you do because I’m setting the tone for the blog post. Or maybe I’m just buying time because this is quite awkward actually.

First, who is my audience? Anyone who reads this – including myself.

Cut to the chase. Or chase to the cut, whatever comes first: I’m talking about gossip.

Gossip. Not Gossip Girl (maybe that’s the problem!?) but actual gossip.

I hate it. Don’t you?

Wouldn’t you hate to be talked about: talked about for no apparent reason? Be analysed and picked apart in strenous detail? Cursed. Disparaged. Belittled. Judged. All in an indirect way, something you’ll never hear unless a phone accidentally picks up or Big Brother watches or a text message gets delivered to the “wrong” address. Unless whispers are overheard and snide remarks come into light and cattiness comes into full clarity.

These things mentioned above: I certainly wouldn’t want to be the recipient of such “attention” and I’m not a betting lady but I could bet you wouldn’t either.

So, we probably have that in common then: being gossiped about would not be what you ask Santa for Christmas.

Yet, we can do it to others. All the time. All the time. Is it necessary? Is it actually achieving something? To the person doing it, it may feel like it is but it’s only a short term relief because you’re not achieving anything.

If the situation – or ‘person’ – improves then it’s nothing to do with your conflict resolution efforts and is out of your control. If it improves but you haven’t talked to the person about your “problem,” only heaped it on others, then what part have you played in remedying the situation?

When we have a problem with someone, I believe we have two options. Suggest more if I have missed one but here they are:

1) Go the person. Chat one on one. What is making you feel so torn, so upset, what exactly is detracting from your peace? Talk about it: you’ll feel better and your relationship will be only strengthened.

2) Shhhh. Pretend you’re in a library with a scary librarian and just be quiet. Or, if you’re a visual person like me imagine yourself building a bridge. It could be a wood model bridge, the kind of project retirees do, or it could be a play-doh bridge. Whatever your bridge is, now picture yourself walking over it. Look left, look right, left again and WALK. One, two, three: march like you’re playing the trumpet in a marching band if needs be, but walk over it. Pretty soon you’ll be on the other side, waving at … whoever you see!?

So, there’s the long, there’s the short and there’s what I have to say. Gossip is no little thing: it’s actually evil in the sense that it’s tearing down reputations and judging people and throwing stones when there’s planks in eyes, that sort of thing.

Apart from the fact it can turn into bullying and contribute towards people experiencing depression, alienation, low self worth, etc. it actually is not helpful for the person doing it because all of a sudden you’re addicted to talking about other people, and sprouting negative words out of your mouth which of course, grows more negativity.

I love to end articles with quotes by clever people who say insightful things. Not only is it a graceful and lazy way for a writer to finish, it can pack a punch. I hope that this quote becomes etched in our heads, mine most of all, because I think it puts things into perspective.

“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.”
Eleanor Roosevelt.

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