People love to gossip. It is simply a fact of living amongst our fellow humans. We all like to be in “the know” and gossip in our society is actually a multi-billion dollar industry. Gossip and hearsay destroy trust. In an alternative lifestyle community where trust and power exchange is the cornerstone of what we do, gossip can do more damage than a 13th century plague.
So, what can we do to stop gossip? Here are few suggestions.
- Set the example and keep negative off-hand remarks to yourself. It doesn’t matter if you don’t name specific names, if there is enough information for people to jump to conclusions they will.
- Keep your side of the sidewalk clean, and don’t share anything unless it involves you directly. Even then exercise caution. Not all venting grounds are secure locations! It can take one rant to an untrustworthy person to destroy friendships.
- Demonstrate you are worthy of trust and keep confidences and confidential information to yourself.
- “If you propose to speak, always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind.” ~Buddha
- Switch subjects when people start to gossip. This not only stops the gossip machine in its tracks, but also keeps you from soaking up a lot of negativity you really don’t need.
- When someone begins talking about somebody else in a negative way, offer to contact that person, together with the gossiper and see if you can facilitate a reconciliation. Nine times out of ten, the folks gossiping will be terrified of the idea. You see, people who talk about others depend upon a certain level of anonymity. They like having things kept secret and in the dark. They will vehemently deny that they were ever the source of the rumor and innuendo even when confronted directly. When you offer to include them or use them as a source, they will quickly stop. Do it enough times and they will get the hint and not gossip with you or about you again!
- Confront gossipers when necessary. If you believe people have been spreading rumors, it may be worth talking to them directly. Being confronted will make them more aware that you are likely to investigate comments made about you and your intolerance for such behavior. Though true gossip mongers are likely to deny any wrongdoing, it can provide an opportunity to open communication and mend fences in those cases of poor judgement or misunderstandings.
- Counteract negative comments with positive ones. Those who love gossip usually depend upon a constant flow of bad or embarrassing information. For some reason the gossip mongers don’t get as excited when they hear good news.
- See the good in other people instead of focusing on the negative. When we choose to focus on the positive, then we are less likely to complain about the negative.
- As much fun as it may appear to be connected to the 411 gossip line, remember that as soon as you walk away from the gossip session, the gossips will be talking about you. Remember what goes around eventually comes around, so choosing not to indulge or hang with those who gossip is in your best interest.
Remember that spreading rumors and gossip speaks more about you and your character than those you choose to gossip about. The best way to stop gossip is to simply don’t.