I listened. I consoled. I watched tears form in her eyes. She was describing a scenario playing out in her life triggered by gossip and I felt her pain.
As this soul confided in me my mind started wondering ‘why do we do this to each other?’
We know gossip hurts. We know that when we succumb to the tantalising lure of a juicy piece of gossip we are not speaking with integrity – but we do it anyway.
I often find myself being caught in, or trying to resist, the draw of gossip. It’s not something I am proud of when I fall into the pattern. It is not as frequent as it used to be as I am now aware of the pain it can cause. I do my best to not spread gossip however sometimes it happens, usually without me being conscious, just talking for the sake of making noise to fill the space. The hardest times are when you know gossip is moving through the souls of people around you AND it is about you. So begins the dilemma of wanting to uncover the secret verses ignoring it so it will hopefully go away.
I find myself looking at people differently when I see them caught in the cycles of gossip. I look at them thinking “this is not you, you are so much better than this.” But I am only looking and internally thinking, I rarely vocalise which benefits no one.
Of course when I am aware people are sharing gossip about myself then my feelings are also sprinkled with resentment, anger and hurt.
I am the type to just let gossip take its natural course. I am usually conscious of when gossip is flying around about myself. It’s often impossible to not be aware of it. Conversations abruptly end when you come within ear shot. Whispers follow you from room to room. Eyes watch as you attempt to carry out your daily tasks trying to ignore the distraction. I find through ignoring it the problem usually runs its course until eventually I, or the people involved, no longer care and it disappears. Sometimes I have confronted the gossip which has resulted in an all-out argument. People don’t like being called on their stuff. They jump on the defensive or they attack to deflect responsibility.
As I watched this woman swallow back my tears and try to reassure me she would be fine after she had time to process, I was reminded of the pain that occurs in not just me but others when gossip is in full swing. I made a silent promise to try and be the end point of any gossip that comes my way. I cannot stop others passing it on but I can stop it spreading any further then myself.
I don’t know it if I will be flawless but I’ll try.