Gossip!

gossipI define gossip as telling a third party something about someone (such as what they said or did), and drawing negative but possibly true conclusions about the person based on that. Judging and blaming are usually involved. I’d love to say that I never gossip but that would be a lie—I may try to justify it in different ways (such as: But I’m not malicious!) but of course it’s still gossip.

Benefits of Gossiping?

Gossiping can make you feel good about yourself (yay!), but it’s usually at someone else’s expense (boo!). For example, when I gossip about someone’s actions in a situation, in a way I’m not associating myself with that behaviour or flaw…and I’m conveniently overlooking my own many flaws, some of which may be worse than the one or two I’ve picked out in someone else. And worse, I may actually have the flaw that I’m talking about, but I’m not seeing my flaw in the same way because of that human habit of seeing one’s own faults with a kinder eye than we see other people’s faults (even if they are the exact same).

Gossiping is also a release (of tension, frustration). In situations where you can’t say what you think or want to say to the person who’s bothering you, gossiping allows you to release that frustration in another way. In some cases (like at work) gossiping can save your job or help you to lose it: sharing your frustrations about your colleague with another trusted colleague may keep you from doing something impulsive and unwise, but say the wrong thing to the wrong person and you could be carrying home your belongings in a box shortly thereafter! (That being said, you really have to be careful at work.)

Effects of gossiping

In the moment, gossip can be quite invigorating, but afterwards, when I’m by myself, I start going over the conversation and my conscience kicks in and starts convicting me, reminding me that I’m not an angel, so why am I wasting time talking about other imperfect people. It doesn’t matter if what I was saying was true or based on speculation, I end up wishing I had refrained from gossiping—after the fact. And depending on the situation, sometimes gossiping isn’t a release; instead it keeps me in a negative mood because I’m dwelling on the thing that’s frustrating me—not cool, and it’s why I’m glad so thankful that I discovered Battlefield of the Mind: Winning the Battle in Your Mind* through the small group that I attend.

Alternatives to gossiping

If you can relate to any of this, and want to stop gossipy tendencies, there are solutions. When faced with a situation where the urge to talk about someone who’s frustrating you is great, go ahead and talk…but to God! I was advised to pray that God blesses the person who’s frustrating me. It’s biblical, but not my first thought if I’m honest! When I told the person who advised me that asking God to bless someone who’s getting on my nerves isn’t my first course of action, she said it’s one of those things you have to apply the “fake it ’til you make it” approach to.

I’ve also started asking myself “Why do I care so much about this?” because in most cases, I gossip when I’m getting worked up about someone else’s life, decisions, or actions. God gave us all free will to live our lives as we please, so people have the right to make choices that differ from my own. However, if talking over a situation about a third party leads you to taking action to help someone who’s in a bad situation that may affect their mental or physical health, then it’s worth it. For example, I intervened in a situation where a friend was going to marry someone who I was convinced was emotionally damaging to them. After talking about the situation with mutual friends for a while, I got to the point where I was willing to lose the friendship if my email was not well-received than keep quiet (a face-to-face conversation was impossible because the fiancé(e) had isolated my friend from all other friends). Thankfully the marriage didn’t go forward as planned.

When you find yourself talking regularly about a situation that’s affecting your relationship with someone, it’s time to bring it up with the person rather let your frustrations grow, but this is easier said than done.

I’m more than happy to start or dive into a gossip session, so being aware of this and having a desire to do better is a start. With any bad habit, breaking it will mean avoiding situations that will cause me to slip, and developing effective ways to fight the triggers, and I know it’ll become easier with time. I’m watching my mouth but I’m by no means cured—in fact I gossiped just yesterday!

What’s your view on gossip?

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10 thoughts on “Gossip!

  1. Hmmmm, if sharing irritations about an individual’s actions/attitude (good or bad) is considered gossiping then I’m also guilty, especially in the work environment as well. The problem with gossiping is that we interject our perceptions, oftentimes to judge a persons motive and actions. I love the advice given to pray for the person affecting you.

    Question: Is the sharing of truthful facts considered gossiping without judging ones motives and actions?

    • Hi Highly Favored!

      You hit the nail on the head with this:
      The problem with gossiping is that we interject our perceptions, oftentimes to judge a persons motive and actions

      To answer your question, that is not gossip, but unfortunately unless you’re sharing it with an objective party such as a boss who’s asking you for your side of the story or for your observations, what comes after the sharing of truthful facts is often (though perhaps not always) gossip!

      Thanks for stopping by! :)

  2. Lemme, start first to say this is an interesting post that I will write an epistle on it! Ahhhaaa.

    Gossip? You have defined it already, but some if not many like you will claim that they don’t gossip, but am glad you admit that it’s a lie! WHY? Because every human being have talked about one person or more in their life that affected them positively or negatively since we all socialize with each other, afterall, no man is an island! Can anyone tell me they have not talked or complained or discussed about their own family, within the family? Can anyone tell me they have not talked about their friends, within their friends? Can anyone tell me they have not talked about their pastors within the church? Can anyone tell me they have not talked about other people’s spouses and children? Can anyone tell me, they have not talked about other people’s behaviour and attitude? Can anyone tell me they don’t talk about our leaders personal lives? Can anyone tell me they have not cussed someone to be arrogant? rude? stingy? jealous? wicked? bitter? proud? CAN ANYONE? Even after I finish commenting, someone will definitely talk about this comment! ‘She thinks everybody is like her?!’

    Some, if not many believes it’s only housewives that gossip because they are at home and have nothing doing, so they poke-nose into affairs of other neighbours! Like seriously? That reminds me! One Niaja girl in America cussed me out years back that she prays never to be a housewife because of the gossip I bring to my old blog. I replied Amen! That even I pray for my own daughters never to be one, but I will like to ask her a question; Don’t she read city people magazine then? And other magazines saying things about celebrities? If she can take her money to buy magazines to read what celebrities are up to, then why is mine different? ….OH! Because I am a housewife! The stereotyping is so freaking annoying! I once asked if people that work don’ t talk about their boss or co-workers? If not, how will they know who is sleeping with who? Or don’t they discuss their personal issues with each other in the office? I remember my neighbour who lived opposite me in 9ja, when she was on maternity leave and I went to pay her a visit, she complained of boredom, since no light to watch tv, that if she was in the office, she will have been gisting with her co-workers! Really? I said within me, yet, housewives will be cussed out everyday when they gossip the going ons in their environs! It was a housewife that saved a woman’s child in festac from her maid who was a python, by telling the mother that the child cries for a long period immediately she leaves for work. The mother set a trap, and caught the maid red-handed! Hair saloons and market still remains the hot bed of gossip!

    Gossip has it’s pros and cons! Like you mentioned, some situations have been saved, like the example I also gave above. And some gossips have gotten people into trouble! This brings up the matter of malicious gossip! When an individual spreads lies about someone to destroy the person’s reputation, then that is a no-no! When one spreads a matter that was discussed in confidentiality, then it’s a no-no! But when one reports the happenings in their environment for entertainment purpose and for others to pick a moral lesson or two from it, I see no harm in that, because the act was done publicly! When people are hurt emotionally, they speak out, either to a confidant or another friend, and of course, they will talk about that person! Or if one was betrayed by a close friend, the person will need a shoulder to lean and cry on, and of course, the person will be discussed! Or if someone overheard or saw something bad concerning a friend, they will tell the friend.

    Many know everything about some celebrities, even up to the type of toothpaste and soap they use! How did they know? Who told them? Is it not staff and friends of the celebrities that sell it out to magazines,and are bought by fans to know what their celebrity is up to? Yes! They don’t like gossip, but they discuss it in the privacy of their toilet on phones with their friends…hey! Did you hear about 2 face baba?….blah..blah…or, Tonto dike?….blah blah…or Bumoke was telling me the other day that she saw Doro at ….blah..blah…. yet they will come out from their room with a righteous smile on their face and say; I don’t gossip, I simply discuss positive things….you are kidding me right?

    Wait! What of bloggers? Come on! Jumoke! Tell me, are gossip bloggers not attracting the most comments and traffic in blogsville ehn? SDK is my fav! Sometimes, I read comments all day and laugh so hard. So who are the people visiting them? Ghosts? What about me? I have been a topic of discussion to so many, I simply keep quiet when I get the gist, because I am no saint, as a commenter said in Angel’s blog, and am swollen head as another commenter said in 9jamum’s blog. I like some bloggers, some I don’t! And I don’t hide my feelings on that! I simply stay my lane and avoid the holiest-than-thou-people!

    Yes! From my epistle comment, I have shown that, I do gossip and I enjoy it because like you earlier said, it relieves tension, anger, frustration and brings good laughs sometimes which is good to the body. Ok! Am off to my fav gossip blog to read today posts…first lemme prepare my breakfast…ahahhahaha….good morning Jummy.

    • Good morning, Nitty! I enjoy reading your unique perspective on various topics. I laughed reading your comment—you’re hilarious without knowing it!

      You’ve provided good examples of gossip and illustrated how prevalent it really is…I’d be shocked if anyone can say they’ve never gossiped after reading your many examples. As you illustrated, nobody is immune to gossip.

      Ah, gossip blogs! I didn’t mention them but even those who aren’t fond of them can be easily sucked in to reading them and getting caught up in them if they aren’t careful because there is something about gossip that appeals to humans on a very basic level. I think gossip blogs will always enjoy these high levels of engagement because human nature would need to undergo a radical change for gossip to not be so tempting.

      Enjoy your breakfast and your SDK! :D

    • Hi blogoratti; thanks for stopping by.

      I fully agree that anyone seeking to stop gossiping must guard their tongue. It may not be easy but it will be worthwhile!

  3. Hmmm great topic.

    I’d like to say that I don’t do this, but that would be adding the sin of lying to my already long list lol! But in my defence, it’s often not my fault! I don’t have a lot of time with my actual friends, so when we meet, it’s usually to talk about us, but for some reason, other people pick me out to tell stuff to (and this happens fairly often). I’ve been told that I apparently have a face that invites people to share their confidences with me, so it’s really hard when I’m minding my own business and then boom I’m being roped into a gossiping situation. I hardly ever say anything about others, myself because I hate confrontation and can’t imagine them finding out and all the wahala that might cause. Anyway my point is does anyone have any advice about how to avoid being an unwitting gossiper?

    • Sorry for the loooooong delay in replying, Clara: it’s fun to receive comments but making the time to respond is even more important!

      I know exactly what you mean when you say sometimes you’re pulled into gossip—that’s probably the biggest challenge: will we change the subject in a respectful, non-judgemental way, or will we allow ourselves to get sucked into (and in my case enjoy) the conversation? Ko easy, but it’s possible to resist!

      Lol I love how fear of a confrontation keeps your lips zipped! The danger is let’s say Sally is gossiping to you and all you’re doing is saying “Uh huh, yeah, I see” or other noncommittal things in reply. If someone confronts Sally she may say “Well, Clara and I were talking” so you may still get dragged in! It’s probably best to nip it in the bud as you want to do.

      Responses such as:

      • saying “I feel too bad later after a good gossip session so I’m trying to stop gossiping. Do you mind if we talk about something else?”
      • defending the object of the gossip by saying that “Maybe they’re going through something we don’t know about” or “They might have a good reason for doing/saying that”
      • politely excusing yourself and leaving the conversation, perhaps for the bathroom—maybe the convo will have changed by the time you return!

      may work, but to be honest I’ve refrained from using them with anyone but my closest friends because I don’t want the other person to think I’m judging them because I am not in a position to do that! I’m just trying to do a better job…for myself.

  4. I love this line>>gossiping allows you to release that frustration in another way. And it it so true, i have had personal occasions where i get restless if i don’t say what is within me, i finally end up saying it. *winks.

    Meanwhile, i love what i see on your header…Been murdering yoruba since 1979. Lolz.
    Please do visit my blog by clicking on my name.

    • Thank you for commenting, Clinton; apologies for my delayed response.

      I like the themes you cover on your blog—your post about procrastination had some good insight and tips for improvement!

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