A Month Gossip-Free

Ok, well, less gossipy than most months, let’s say. Because I certainly didn’t stop gossiping in May, like I’d planned. Oh, I tried. But I failed. I said a lot of things I wouldn’t say straight to someone’s face. But I was more careful about it, and I noticed when I was doing it.

And, you know what? Sometimes you have to say stuff behind someone’s back. It’s not always malicious. I’m still thinking on this, but I propose that the maliciousness is what makes it really gossip. Tell me if I’m wrong, though… Like I said, still working on that one.

In any case, some lessons learned:

1. Without gossip, I don’t have anything to say to some people. This is sad. Must become better conversationalist.

2. I’m not sure I’d have the guts to say some of the nice stuff I say about people to their faces– and I should probably work on that. People love to hear nice stuff about themselves, right? I don’t think I’m alone in this fear, though. A few years ago, I inadvertently walked in on one of my relatives talking about how smart I was (and not in a sarcastic way, thankyouverymuch, all you smartasses waiting to tell me she was kidding). When she realized I was behind the refrigerator door rummaging for fried chicken, she turned completely red and apologized up and down. I told her I wasn’t offended– after all, she was saying good things about me! But I get why she was embarrassed. I would have been, too. It’s weird, but true.

3. People actually trust you more when you’re unwilling to talk about other people with them. I knew this in my head, but it’s really true, people. Telling other people’s secrets will never get you anywhere you want to be.

So, what do you think? Do you forgive me for failing? How do you feel about gossip?

  • Moira Reid

    I think it’s a great goal, if for nothing else like you said–it makes you come up with more interesting things to talk about. And you’re also right about this: never telling another secrets makes you trustworthy…it also makes you a target for everyone’s secrets. Fair warning. LOL

  • Years ago my mother was reading this book by the academic Deborah Tannen…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You_Just_Don%27t_Understand
    about the differences between how men and women communicate. And I think part of her argument was that women talk about relationships (people) and it’s labeled and derided as something negative “gossip.” Guess why? Because it’s female! Of course, female always = negative. Ever since then I’ve been careful to differentiate between truly saying negative, malicious or untrue things behind people’s backs, and just talking about people because we’re interested in each other,  because we care about them, or are trying to understand them. I think women do a lot of the latter, and it’s a big part of how we process the world, understand relationships, and understand ourselves, and I’m cool with that.

    I do try to use the “I would say it to her face” standard. Even if the reality is “I would say it to her face, but in a more watered down, carefully wordered, tactful version! Or only if she was in a place in her life where she was ready to hear it! Or only if I was invited to give my opinion!” 😉

    So I don’t think you failed. I think it was a great experiment, and a great success in that it allowed you think about the topic and come to some new conclusions. Yay you!