This article is about a reason to stop gossiping.
The pasty aftertaste gossiping leaves behind is unpleasant. One person invites the other into partaking in the act by testing waters. They toss out a riveting gossip-dipped sentence or two and wait for a response.
When placed in such a spot, the listener – on average – seems to have a difficult time refraining from joining in on the deed.
Someone’s expression of gossip for your interpretation is a signal of trust. The person gossiping now trusts you and letting them down would lead to an uncomfortable social situation.
The sad part is that the socially pleasant segment of the population seems easily influenced to partake in gossip. A person who actively seeks to make social interactions pleasant will be less likely to refrain from partaking in a gossipy conversation. Changing subjects on a whim is a difficult maneuver to pull off.
The way in which you refrain from gossiping is secondary to the reason why you should. In other words, even a blunt and unskilled attempt at refraining is better than partaking. Below, is the reason why.
The Boundaries You Set Will Apply to You
The sense of entertainment and subtle superiority one feels in gossiping is the price of admission into the narrative at hand. As someone who took the bait, you’d now become a character in the story you’ve contributed your gossip to.
The information you contribute into the pool of gossip in that context will need to be sourced at some point in its journey from ear to ear. However, your name being brought up in downstream gossipy conversations isn’t the mechanism of the issue, it’s the trigger.
The mechanism at hand is rooted in the boundaries you’ve set as appropriate in your contribution to the gossip. For instance, if you’ve told a colleague about a third colleague’s sub-par work habits, you’ve now expressed to deem that subject to be fair play.
Other’s interpretation of you as an actor in the environment that gossip is spreading in will be supplemented with the boundaries you’ve set. Though there isn’t a guarantee that you’re now a target of gossip by others, your participation in gossip only increases that likelihood. It seems the increase of that chance is quite dramatic because the seal is broken.
The act of participating in gossip removes barriers witnesses may have had around gossiping about you. Participating in the deed removes the trigger for someone to give it a second thought when your name is brought up.
By gossiping, you erect the boundaries within which you deem acceptable to talk about others. It would make no logical sense having an issue about those same boundaries dictating the scope of conversations about you when you’re not there.
A person provides others a logical excuse to gossip about them by gossiping.
Hedging Bets Rarely Pays in This Regard
An attractive line of thinking after learning of gossip’s poison is hedging your bets in spreading it. A socially savvy individual may begin exploring opportunities to rise up the social ranks around them by gossiping about the right people, to the right people. Such individuals place trust in their roll of the dice as they participate in gossip. Their preferred outcome is to end up in higher regard in the eyes of those whom they respect. The perceived reason for their higher rank would be either impressing or contributing good information to a contextually powerful listener through gossip.
Assuming there is a chance such a bet pays off in increasing an individual’s social status in the eyes of key people, the benefits seem to be short-lived. As mentioned prior, the after-taste that gossip leaves behind can be quite tacky.
Building any social relationship with methods which victimize others does not infuse the foundation of that relationship with stability. The supporting structure of your newfound rank in the mind of the people you impress with devilry will stench of nefarious intent recognized by all. Loyalty is a consideration point in any relationship worth spending time being in. As the people you impress by disloyalty evaluate your sense of trust-worthiness at some point in your relationship, the tacky aftertaste your gossip, downplay, and envy leave behind will make its mark.
Those who adopt the strategy of putting others down in an effort to impress a select few do well to ensure their relationships remain forever shallow and unrewarding.