What do we do with a destructive gossip?
Gossip. Love it, hate it....the fact is, we cannot ignore it. The good old rumor gives people social sustenance of a sometimes perverse kind. Gossip, for whatever intent, has a really damaging effect on both the gossiper and the person who is being gossiped about. What consequences, then, does gossip have and what can a person do to protect himself from the dreaded rumor monger?
The nasty nature of gossip
Gossip damages social standing.
Simply put, rumors make you look bad in front of everyone.The person who is being described as being “the bosses’ favorite” or the “flirtatious one in the neighborhood” will find it difficult to have a proper standing in the community or workplace. The gossiper hurts himself too; he ends up marring the impression others may have of him and loses any vestige of trust and respect anyone may have. the palpable tension that surfaces as a result can be unbearable.
Gossip is a veiled form of bullying.
Gossip is a veiled form of bullying; though not physical, the awful taste left in the mouths who receive negative feedback about a certain party causes them to ostracize him or her.
The lack of social standing makes it really difficult for that person to garner respect or friendship within a community; the isolation, keenly felt, can weigh heavily on a person’s mind and not only results in his loss of sense of self-worth; the psychological effects have a far enough reach to make him or her take undesirable, drastic actions.
Gossip influences our choices negatively.
Gossip leads to poor choices. Spreading a certain rumor about, say, a certain person in the office may, for instance, force him to resign from his or her post and he, as a result, not only ends up losing his friends and his job; the company sustains possibly a loss in a person who could have been a valuable contributor to the company. Gossip can lead to the wrong choice of friends; keeping company with someone who is a gossip is, of course, bad because he or she has poor moral fiber.
We trust the wrong people.
It is easy to misplace trust when we gossip. We end up forging bonds with people who gossip and end up placing trust in the wrong hands; the person who tells a juicy secret can also place trust in the wrong person and end up with a fiasco of betrayal and miscommunication that heralds awkwardness at best and a war of words or even fists at worst. A lady who was a successful litigator suffered at the hands of the gossiping church community; believing mistakenly in rumors that a gentleman in the church wanted to marry her, she immediately returned the “profession of love’ only to be ridiculed and teased by him. She not only left the church; she had a nervous breakdown which caused her to accuse everybody of trying to stalk her. Yes, the psychological ramifications were indeed tremendous and undesirable.
We invade another person’s privacy when we gossip.
The rumor many of us so much enjoy is also the surest way to invade another person’s privacy. The person being gossiped about, of course can feel emotionally naked in front of others, what with everyone knowing his or her every movement and action. Take the celebrity, for example. Gossip about him or her usually is reported with the intent of boosting TV or readership ratings; while good for the business of the Newsagent or Broadcasting Company, the poor celebrity has to live a rather stressful life knowing that he or she will always be watched and have little or no time or space of his own. Having a holiday in secrecy is hardly enviable.
Rumors damage friendships.
Gossip breaks friendships; a gossip may gain attention and the limelight for a short time, but the friends he ends up making are only captivated by the news he may have and not be really interested in him or her as a person. No real friendships are formed; one just gains a perverse sense of his popularity.
A dangerous weapon for social war.
Interestingly, gossip functions as a tool for office or neighborhood politics. Some use it to improve their social and therefore rapport with bosses in the office; others may just say a few words in selfishness to make another look bad while he boosts his own ego. Cunning ones may even use it to spread word to a targeted person using the voice of another. For whatever it is, gossip is certainly a deadly weapon.
Manipulating gossip is an art
So how do we fend off unwanted persons who spread unneeded and unwanted gossip? Thing first thing to do is to think before we speak ourselves; the things we say can trigger off unwanted miscommunication or verbal battles. Of course, by relishing the moment of attention and revealing a “secret” about someone, we may end up causing more hurt than we intend.
Change the subject immediately.
When we sense that someone is gossiping, it is good to change the subject immediately to avoid being drawn into a cycle of rumors and avoid any unnecessary “he said....” but “she said”, situations. The distraction will serve to put you out of the position of having to participate in any unhealthy, negative conversations about anyone, especially if the person being gossiped about is a friend or family member.
Learn to keep your own secrets.
Naturally, never tell any secrets to anyone you do not trust; better yet, try to have some personal space of your own and keep certain things just to yourself. Gossip stops if it never starts i
Be aware of social situations.
Have some social awareness and tact. Be aware of situations when you can be drawn to gossip or say things that you should not; having one’s senses about him is very helpful in dealing with negative social situations. When a coworker begins griping about your boss, it is time to do an about turn and avoid an unhealthy exchange or spread of information that can lead to misunderstanding.
Address the gossiper directly.
We can address the person who gossips about us directly; have an open conversation with him or her, because spreading of rumors may simply indicate that he has some feed back that he or she needs to communicate but is unable to. Have an open mind and establish clearly what is making him or her so dissatisfied.
Learn social protocol.
It is useful to learn some social protocol; it is important to communicate messages to certain people before others. If your boss finds out about something that happened in the company after his subordinate does, he may have a sense of being bypassed or disrespected, and it is worse if the messages have been miscommunicated.
Avoid the passing of information-it leads to misinformation!
It will be good to handle situations yourself before speaking to anyone else whenever you can; this prevents the wrong ideas from being communicated. Avoid, or example, the passing of information; gossip sometime stems from mistaken words and messages and it is good to keep these in check before they are said.
Do not let others make use of you as a signboard.
We should not let others make use of us as bulletin boards; if you are a gossip yourself, others may simply use you as a signpost to communicate information to others and secretly laugh at you for being silly. A cunning person may actually use you to communicate negative feed back about your boss; instead of getting berated himself, you as the rumor monger end up being the target for your superior’s fury.
Gossip is unhealthy; verbal bullying, it signals a lack of being able to handle one’s issues in the proper manner and a low moral fiber. Certainly, it can have more damaging psychological and social effects that it needs to.
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