“Do I have a story for you!”
Titillating, isn’t it? However, unless the story is of the “once upon a time” variety, those words never lead to anything good. What is it about human nature that makes us love gossip?
Teenagers infiltrated my gym recently. As I listened to the girls gossip about who wasn’t invited to what party, I couldn’t help but smile, but it wasn’t with any sense of superiority. With age may come wisdom, but in this case, experience tells me that poison tongues don’t stop wagging just because you get older. If anything, the gossip gets worse because the stakes are higher.
You can’t escape it. The workplace is rampant with it. Magazines are filled with it. Want a little exercise? If you join a team sport, you can expect to hear plenty. I once left a recreational soccer league because of the nasty gossip that took place over beers after the game…if you weren’t able to make it to the bar, rest assured that you were the evening’s topic of conversation. And at least one woman quit my former sponge hockey team due to “all that drama”.
I’ve had to cut an entire group of friends out of my life because their idea of fun was seeing how many knives they could stick in each other’s backs. These are thirty and forty-something professionals who are still wagging their tongues about who isn’t invited to what party. Or who doesn’t like so-and-so. Or who cheated on so-and-so. It was too much for me. I bowed out, which gave them new reasons to talk…about me.
I’ve heard many explanations for why we gossip. Some say it’s the hobby of the insecure, but if that’s the case, there’s a lot of insecure people running around. Some say it happens when people have nothing better to do, but surely most things are better than spreading rumors and vitriol. It can be a way of bonding with others, but isn’t there another way to connect with people? Isn’t life hard enough without spreading poison?
I’m far from perfect, but I try my hardest to live by the adage “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. If I have a problem with you, I’ll tell you in the kindest way I can. (Or if I can’t tell you, The Boy may hear of it, but he’ll take that stuff with him to the grave.) And if you entrust me with a secret, consider it kept.
For there’s one thing I’ve learned about gossips. If they’re gossiping to you, they’re also gossiping about you.
You can count on that.
How about you, dear readers? Ever regret gossiping? Or have you been a victim yourself? Rant away!