Nobody's Friend

I have no respect for justice. I aim without killing. I break hearts and ruin lives. I am cunning and malicious and gather strength with age.

The more I am quoted the more I am believed. My victims are helpless. They cannot protect themselves against me because I have no name and no face. To track me down is impossible. The harder you try, the more elusive I become.

I am nobody’s friend. Once I tarnish a reputation, it is never the same. I topple governments and wreck marriages. I ruin careers and cause sleepless nights, heartaches and indigestion. I make innocent people cry in their pillows.

Even my name hisses. I am called Gossip.

Before you repeat a story, ask yourself:

Is it true?
Is it harmless?
Is it necessary? If it isn’t, don’t repeat it.

~ Author Unknown

A friend sent this to me in an E-Mail and I want to share it with all of you. I am sure we have all encountered this venomous entity at one time or another in our lives. We have all experienced the pain, humiliation, anger and even damage caused by gossip.

Unfortunately, most of us have also, at one time or another, been guilty of it, whether intentionally or not. Of course it is very hard to admit that we are guilty, but it is only through admitting it that we will begin to pay attention to what we say about others and thus be cured of this deadly (to others) disease.

How often have people told you damning stories about others, and how many times have you repeated it? The defence is usually: "It is not gossip, it is the truth". So what if it is true, if it causes distress or harm to another person, it is gossip.

Something else I have learned about gossip is that once the truth is known and it is not as sensational as the gossips would want it, they never go back and undo what they have done. They will just move on to the next juicy little story.

I am not going to play holier than thou and claim that I have never gossiped, but a couple of years ago I was burned pretty badly by the fire called gossip, and I hope I have learned a permanent lesson from it. My family went through a very distressing event in our lives. Someone close to us was accused of something very serious. It was very hard dealing with the actual situation, but nothing as hard as dealing with the gossip. The actual situation only tarnished the person involved, but the ensuing gossip tarnished everyone close to the person. Once the investigation was over and the person was cleared, nothing could be done to undo the harm that the gossip had caused... if only the gossips had waited for a week or two before they started spewing their poison, untold pain and harm could have been avoided.

After this experience I started reacting very rudely to gossips. When someone says: "I don't want to gossip, but..", I say: "Well don't". If anybody tells me a story that I suspect is gossip about someone else, I ask if they would mind if I check the truth with the mentioned person. I have lost a lot of "friends" through this behaviour, but I have found that I am no poorer for the loss.

One more thing I have learned through experience, and also the last thought I want to leave with you is this: "If a person gossips to you, the same person will also gossip about you - so beware".


DUTA said...

Gossip can indeed be extremely harmful to a person. I've experienced that myself. And yet I believe there is such a thing as 'harmless gossip' and it is the core of every social encounter.

Arley said...

We have all been involved in some form of gossip, whether it be on the recieving or telling end. Anyone who says they don't gossip is lying. I admit, when I worked I listened to the gossip and would even put my two cents in, until that same person started a rumor about me! It's amazing how fast gossip spreads and how awful you feel when your ENTIRE peer group believes you did something with someone you have barely spoken 2 words to in your life. You know that, and the other person involved knows that, but once the rumor gets started no one believes either of you. Kinda makes your work life a little tence.

My point is, I hate gossip and anyone who even tries to gossip to me with be told where to shove their gossip!! (I know, I'm not very nice, but I hate hurtful people and my only intent is to give them a taste of their own medicine)

A human kind of human said...

Hi Duta, I agree that there is harmless gossip - when it is a funny story for instance that does no harm to the person involved, or if it is about somebody's eccentricities. However, if it can cause any harm or hurt in any way, do not repeat it, please. Of course there is also the gossip about celebrities! Even that can be hurtful and harmful in the hands of unscrupulous (is that spelled correctly?) people.

Hi Arley, as I said, if they gossip to you....

Argent said...

The old saying "if you can't say something positive then don't say anything" is so true. I've been trying to build this into my own life of late with varying degrees of success.

Part of the attraction of gossip, whether receiving it or passing it on, is that it gives us a feeling of inclusion (we're being invited to partake of a secret) or superiority (I know something sensational, wanna hear it?). It can be very hard to resist, but we shouldn't stop trying for all that.

A human kind of human said...

Hi Argent, Don't you think it is also a case of if I can make someone else look a bit less attractive, clever, good, etc., then I myself will look a bit more attractive, clever, good, etc. in the eyes of other people. In other words, how often does one's own sense of self and security plays a role in repeating gossip. Honest confession time on my behalf says that this is probably true.

Jo said...

Omigosh, what a fabulous post!

"Once the investigation was over and the person was cleared, nothing could be done to undo the harm that the gossip had caused..." That is always the case, isn't it?

We have a manager where I work who is a terrible gossip, and she has tarnished the reputations of everyone in the office. But she continues to get away with it. I think sometimes people gossip because they like to pull other people down in order to make themselves look better.

There is a wonderful quote: “Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down”.

Jo said...

Have you seen the movie "Doubt" with Meryl Streep? If not, you should see it. It ties in perfectly with your post.

JD said...

Beautiful wisdom!