What is that you suppose causes some people to be more prone to gossip?
First let me add that I do think it is ok to have conversations about other people when they are not present. I believe that we can talk about someone with genuine interest, with a desire to understand that person and needing to discuss certain things with a third party or even just with neutral words. The type of gossip that I am referring to here is also known as slander.
Actually I just looked up the definition of slander so I could be sure and no, slander- someone tells one or more persons and untruth about another person- that is not what I am referring to. I am referring to the sharing of truths about other people but in a manner that you would not continue in if that person(s) were present.
I asked around and some of the responses I received were:
- To take the attention off themselves/to place attention on someone else
- They think they are simply talking about the “misbehaviors” of another person
- Jealousy- classic #1
- Feeling poorly about themselves
- It is interesting to discuss the change in other people’s lives- this one is not so much about gossip to me
- They’re bored
- They like getting a reaction from other people
- They are insecure- classic #2
My favorite response was….bored. I really think bored deserves more attention. People are bored! They’re bored because they don’t know how to connect and they don’t know how to connect because they haven’t learned how to communicate. Real communication comes from a place of genuine interest in the other person and feeling like you bring something to the table that is worth sharing too. When we talk about others or about our own simple surface level stuff all people really know about us is what we think about other people, something about our job, maybe about our kids and blah blah blah.
How do we develop genuine interest? Well the reality is that you will not be genuinely interested in everyone- probably very few people in the grand scheme of things. If you do not have a genuine interest to connect with that person(s) may I recommend that you default to surface level topics? Defaulting to gossip is always a poor choice.
So many people are unsure of how to connect and maybe this is also where the insecurities come in- Im not sure what to talk about here- my brain isn’t producing anything- think, think, think- ahhh nothing…. Ok gossip it is! Start spending some time with yourself figuring out what your interests are so that you may share them with other people in the hopes of creating a connection. OR…OR… think about what you do know about the person whom you are in conversation with and here’s a doosey…..ask them about them! Yowser I know right.
Please don’t get me wrong I most certainly am not suggesting that you go out and try your hardest to create deep connections with everyone and anyone. I know that I do not have an interest in doing that. What I am asking is for you to consider if the topics that you focus on serve you well. Do they do anything for your own mental and emotional health and to they increase stability/peace of mind in the person you are talking with?
Start asking yourself: Does this serve me? Does this thought serve me? Does this emotion serve me? Does this behavior serve me? Do the words that I am allowing/choosing to come from my mouth serve me? If they do not than take some responsibility and shift your thoughts, refocus your emotions, make a different choice and shut your mouth!
MONDAY MANTRA: I have the courage to recognize and chose what serves me well.
COMMITMENT: I know my interests and the interests of others and I strive to develop meaningful connections or distance myself when needed.
*close your eyes, breathe in your nose (to the count of four) and then out your mouth (to the count of four) and say to yourself: Even though I am struggling I completely and totally accept myself. Repeat this three times.