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Gossip: True or False?

Updated on May 9, 2011

A rumor has been spread about you. It happens to be true. Do you admit to it or lie to keep up apearances?

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Taking A Risk

As defined by the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, gossip is “a rumor or report of an intimate nature.” Someone who spreads this information is a called a gossip or “a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others.” Do I see the value of either or both? To some extent, I do. Let me explain.

I have found that gossip generally develops from the unveiling of a minor detail, this detail having some truth to it. Whether or not this was our intent, we still allowed a whisker to pop out from the bag. Even though the cat, for the most part, is still in the bag, that whisker is out. This whisker, this bit of information, makes people question what is going on with you.

As the one to see the whisker is rarely a well-meaning person, but, rather, someone who dislikes you and has been waiting to get some dirt on you, a rumor is never a good thing. This person, having done their work, knows what pushes your buttons. They also know who you least want your secrets told to. For their main purpose, I see no value in gossips. Yet, gossips do, unintentionally, allow for some good to come of their malice.

You’ve been walking around with this cat for awhile. Though perhaps at first you didn’t mind the extra weight and enjoyed having a secret, its begun to weigh on you. You are always cautious and on guard. You waste your time worrying if someone heard the cat’s mewing or if the cat got out a long time ago and you just didn’t know it. Each time you peek into the bag to make sure the cat is still there, you push someone away. People tend to know when you’re hiding something. If there’s an area of your life that you refuse to talk about or pathetically lie about, it makes people wonder. When people start to wonder about you, you might as well let that cat out because whatever they’ve wondered themselves into believing is usually so much worse than the actual cat.

When gossip starts to circulate, some brave soul, usually one of the people, who you allowed yourself to be close to, calmly confronts you and asks if the rumor is true. You have to decide in the time allotted of a split second whether or not you want to release yourself of this burden and confirm the rumor or if you want to deny it and be the only person who believes your lie. Once a rumor surfaces, no matter how hard you deny it, it never goes away. At this point, what do you have to lose?

On the other hand, there are rumors that are baseless, started by rotten people with cold hearts and sick minds with the sole purpose of harming others. They see a kind, charismatic straight A student with a happy home life and a solid reputation and they decide that this kid needs to be brought down a couple of notches. Where do they begin? What detail do they hack at? Do they spread a rumor that he cheats on every assignment? Do they say that his home life is a front? Perhaps they’ll just go after his favorite teacher. If you can’t hurt the person directly, why not harm the people they care about? While it’s not an exact hit, it will still meet its mark.

Depending on how it is dealt with, gossip can either ruin or save a life. While the truth is often hard to digest, for the person who the rumor is about, this forced openness can be a release from years of stomach pains. Yet, good or bad, the moment a rumor is sent out into the community, life changes. A teacher can lose his job, his words unable to be heard over the whispers of deceitful children and the monotone voice of a boss who never liked him. A parent begins their struggle to accept what they’ve always known about their child thus ending their daydreaming of a “normal” life for them. Gossip builds a road that we all must travel. For some, it a road to becoming the type of person that we’re meant to be. For others, it’s just a road to the next destination.


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    • LowellWriter profile image

      L.A. Walsh 8 years ago from Lowell, MA

      Thanks for the comment, Sour.

    • THE SOUR MAN profile image

      THE SOUR MAN 8 years ago from Belgium

      Since you'll find gossiping troughout society, with no distinction between social classes,age or gender I think the real purpose of it is to create alliances and bonds between the gossipers.

      There is no doubt that people talking about a third party do feel connected in some way, not the least because it often implies a form of secrecy (supposed) to be shared by a limited number of people.

      The person who brings out the bald talk is not so much interested by the victim,as to check out who his allies are;and so doing, inforces his grip on the group.

      It can be easily verified I think, that when one does not react to the gossip in the expected way and openly rejects it ,one becomes very soon also the subject of gossip.

    • LowellWriter profile image

      L.A. Walsh 8 years ago from Lowell, MA

      Much appreciated, Reggie! :o)

    • reggieTull profile image

      reggieTull 8 years ago from Virtual Space

      Thanks LowellWriter for responding to my request.  It is an interesting phenomenon amongst us.  I agree with BadCo - boy, we all get some sort of hit from a good piece of gossip - it is an entertainment.  But it is also a waste of time if it gets out of hand.  I agree with ReuVera - it is the past time of many folk that only have gossip as a way of communication and a way of fitting into a group.  I love the way you highlighted the good and the bad aspects of gossiping.   Thanks again

    • LowellWriter profile image

      L.A. Walsh 8 years ago from Lowell, MA

      Thank you both for your comments. :o)

      I agree with you, ReuVera. Rumors that receive little to no attention tend to die down rather quickly. The same goes for rumors told by unreliable people. When it comes down to it though, people hear what they want to hear.

    • ReuVera profile image

      ReuVera 8 years ago from USA

      People gossip when they are bored, when they don't have anything else exciting to do or when they are mean. Also base for gossip is jealousy, lack of inner values, unhappiness and unsatisfaction inside a person. A happy generous person will not go so low as to spread rumors about others. Of course, they say, there’s no smoke without fire and there is some base for any rumor. But having a rumor or gossip as a source of information is stupid and ill.

      I personally never care about rumors and gossips about myself or about my friends. I consider that I myself know the truth about myself and people whose opinion is important for me will be able to figure out the situation. I don’t care for opinion of ill-meaning people.

      Stay above gossiping. Good hub, by the way.