Gossip: Destructive Conversation

by : Chris Hall

An occasional hour of gossip with the girls isn't so bad......or is it?

The first thing to determine is the difference between gossip and healthy "girl" talk. Gossip involves repeating idle talk about other's private affairs or starting rumours that are intended to harm or criticize the person being talked about. We tend to use this destructive chatter to make us feel better about our positions in life. For some reason, we feel better when someone else is worse off than we are. Girl talk, on the other hand, focuses on more constructive conversation - you may be discussing something going on in another person's life, but not at their expense.

It can be difficult not to listen to gossip, although listening is just as wrong as speaking. When someone gossips and you listen, the pass is complete whether you meant to catch it or not.

The problem for the person perpetuating the gossip is that although she may seem interesting enough to listen to at the time, she can't be trusted to build an intimate relationship with. No matter how 'together' she may seem, the gossip and criticism she puts out, reveals what's going on in the inside - negative thinking, anger, hurt, and hatred.

Criticism of other people will eventually spill over into other parts of people's lives. The more we see wrong in other people, the more critical we become at home and with our more intimate friends and relations. This is because gossip and criticism actually undermine your integrity and ultimately oppress the spirit.

Perform A Reality Check

- Is the conversation destructive or constructive? Once you have determined which, you have the choice to remove yourself from the conversation. The people who are gossiping may take notice and be offended, but in the long run you will win the respect of others. If you really feel that you need to share some information with someone about another person, first think about what your purpose and motive are for sharing it.

- Ask yourself why you are drawn into the gossip ring? Is there a sense of insecurity, self loathing, hurt, fear or anger within yourself that needs healing?

- Choose friends carefully. The special part of friendship is being able to confide in each other during rough times. This is unsafe if your friend is known to gossip.

You will find that your friendships will grow deeper once you shelve gossip and the conversations you share will be more about things you have in common with some substance.