Did you ever walk by a group of people and all of a sudden they stopped talking, or they start talking really loud about the weather? It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out they were talking about you or a friend of yours, and it probably was nothing very kind. This has happened to me on more than one occasion and although it used to really bother me, I have come to understand that: a) This is one of those things I cannot control or stop; b) These people are either bitter, angry, or jealous, and certainly small-minded; c)These are not people that I would ever want as friends since they cannot be trusted or nice; and d) It’s really funny that I’m gossip-worthy.
I am happy to say I don’t participate in gossip at work or among my friends. I know it drives some of them mad, but they have learned that I won’t give any information about someone else, and that I don’t like to listen to it either. It just feels like an invasion of privacy to me. And honestly, it makes me wonder which of my personal bits have been passed on. This makes for some interesting relationships due to the fact that it seems a lot of people gossip. And men, don’t stop reading now, it’s not just the ladies. Is it human nature to make fun of others, share their confidential information and tear them apart for entertainment? If you look at the statistics, which say that while recent overall U.S. magazine sales dropped 6.3%, People magazine actually rose 5.2%, I guess that it is (source: http://observer.com/2008/08/magazine-sales-down-63-percent-ipeoplei-iin-stylei-actually-up/). Sometimes my friends will say, “well I need to tell someone what this other person told me, and I know you won’t tell anyone else.” I’m not sure what this is, exactly- the need to tell someone else a person’s intimate confession. It’s like they feel they are going to burst if they don’t tell. I get that some of this is really juicy stuff; I am human after all…but if someone begs you not to tell others then please don’t! At least don’t tell me. It makes it hard for me to look that person in the eye.
Most of the people who stand around gossiping are very obvious about it, whether they realize it or not. Maybe they don’t care, or they think everyone does it so it’s fine. One person I know actually cups her ear so she can hear what is being said across the room, and makes no bones about it. When I caught her doing so once, I said loudly, “Don’t just sit over there, if you want to know what we are saying, come sit here.” She did. I hope she got what she was looking for…wait, maybe I don’t.
I have learned over the years not to talk about confidential things in the teachers’ lounge, and to be very, very careful who I share personal info with. It’s a little sad. I have also learned to manipulate this gossip telephone line, and am pretty good at leaking something I want to get around. Sometimes I do that just for fun to see what comes back to me. Now that’s entertainment.