gossip and Your Truth – the Difference

The bumper sticker on my Volkswagon Bug the entire time I owned it.

The bumper sticker on my Volkswagen Bug the entire time I owned it.

I’ve developed this really awful reputation.

The problem is that I am unwilling to change anything about myself.

You see, the people gossiping about me and the ones telling you how awful I am, are the same ones I decided were too judgmental, gossiped about everyone, including their own friends, and caused way too much drama. In fact, they were gossiping about me when I still thought we were friends.

I am not willing to put up with any of that simply to have friends.

Which brings me to defining the difference between gossip and telling your truth. There is a huge difference between the two and I am not certain that many people even know the distinction. You can tell your truth without spreading mean and malicious gossip. Allow me to enlighten.

When I am speaking to a friend about someone that I don’t particularly like, I try to shy away from judgmental comments. Even when I make a conscious effort to steer clear of talking about anyone with ill intent, sometimes it can’t be avoided. I still try not to say things like, “He’s a big fatty!” or “I hear she smells like vegetable soup when you hug her.” I leave those comments out of my conversation, even though I could be thinking them in my head, those aren’t meant to be said out loud. That would make my conversation into gossip, when my intent is simply to convey my own experience and how it adversely affected me.

Do you see the difference there?

If someone is simply telling you that I did something to them (to them, not to anyone else, just to them) and why they didn’t like it, then by all means, listen up. But if they are telling you stories involving personal tragedies, judgments or drama, then you are listening to gossip and most likely it’s their version of life and not the actual history.

Someone was relaying her version of a story to me once when she said, “Then she asked me about a mean story she heard about you and I told her it simply wasn’t my story to tell…”, and she went on to tell me a whole lot more of this story. I remember wondering exactly what wasn’t her story to tell, because it felt like she was telling a whole lot of stuff and a lot of things were being shared that evidently “weren’t her story to tell”. The worst part was that nothing she was telling me was nice. It was all bad and that wasn’t even the dilemma I ended up facing.

The dilemma was that after she finished slinging mud all over me, she backed away. It felt like she was telling me that she had completed her part of the mission, which was filling me in on the untrue trash being shared about me, and now she was done, spent, totally tuckered out. There was no mention of, “Hey! You are my friend! So I told her that I wanted the three of us to sit down and figure this out together. That’s what friends do with each other! Friends don’t say stuff like this behind each other’s backs!”

If you are going to tell your friend the horrible gossip being shared about them, you better be prepared to face the hurdle of setting the story straight with them. You better be the first one in line offering to stand up for them and to make it easy for your friend to share their truth. It’s true what they say; if you aren’t part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.

i-am-fabulous

Another example was listening to two women describe a marriage in trouble. “She said he abused her and she was scared to go home. We spent the entire day trying to find her an apartment and she never followed up on any of it. You know her better than we do! Did she tell you her husband abused her?” Getting over the initial shock of hearing these issues my friend was having in her marriage from anyone other than her was the first reeling impression of the conversation. The second impression was the rotten taste in my mouth that this was what these women wanted to talk about. My response? “Um no, I never got the impression that he abused her and she never discussed that with me, so I won’t be discussing it with you.” This was met with pursed lips and tut-tuts.

There’s nothing a gossip hates more than an unwilling participant. The only way you will stay clean in anything of this nature is if you shut it down. If you sit idly by and allow the gossip to escalate I can guarantee that once it gets shared again and again, your name will be included in the “Guess what she said…” and then you’ll be just as guilty as the rest of them. 

There is something I call chatter. That’s when you’re just talking with your friends and they bring up something harmless about someone you don’t know. If they just want to express an opinion or a reason they feel a certain way and they use that as an example, then I see no harm there. It’s when the talk becomes judgmental and malicious that it becomes a problem.

A good rule I use to police myself is this, “Would I say that to their face?” If I won’t say it to their face, then there’s no reason I should say it to anyone else. 

But I am not perfect! Oh no! I too have felt the draw to gossip and tell malicious stories about people I thought were getting away with something. One or two times I thought it might be okay to share gossip. I am here to tell you, it’s never a good idea unless you have no conscience or self respect.

One time I was trying to be harmless and still share something I thought was pretty heinous that I had heard, when the friend I was talking to started questioning what I was telling her. All I was doing was repeating what I had been told and not embellishing it at all. The story was so “out there” that to embellish it would have taken way too much creativity on my part, so I just stuck with what I was told. My friend was skeptical and I found that I was quickly having to defend myself. I wasn’t lying, but she made me feel like I was making it all up just to have something to tell her.

I kept asking myself why she would think I was making it up, but the simple answer is that people who gossip on a regular basis have absolutely no problem making it up as they go along! I remember listening while my good friend was telling me a story. Her boyfriend interrupted her midway through the story and asked, “Is this what really happened or is this one of your versions?” I remember feeling kind of duped. What else had she shared with me that was simply “her version” and not the truth? Do you see how that works?

By the time I learned that lesson I not only felt the need to shower, I wanted to vomit. I felt gullible for believing the original story and stupid for repeating it. The worst part was losing the respect of the friend I was talking to. That felt like punishment, but what could I do? Even though I knew I’d never do that again and I even told my friend that, once it’s out there in the Universe, it’s out there. Live and learn.

So go ahead and listen to the malicious gossip if you feel so inclined, but be prepared to listen to some of it come back around and be about you. That’s how gossip works…you can listen, you can even participate and maybe add some of your own unpleasant experiences to the mix, but mark my words here…the minute you turn your back, they’ll be saying the same nasty things about you and some of them will be inclined to add their own slant just to juice it up a bit.

It’s never going to be okay to gossip if you’re trying to hurt someone, because the person you end up hurting most is yourself.

If you read something here that struck a nerve, make a comment. I’d love to hear from you. If you’d like to read more and just strike every nerve you own, consider pressing the Follow button on my home page and get notified every single time I bang on my keyboard. Thanks for stopping by today!

 

 

 

 

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About Madeline Scribes

A writer with a sense of humor. If anyone can laugh at life, it's me.
This entry was posted in All kinds of Advice and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to gossip and Your Truth – the Difference

  1. susieshy45 says:

    I liked your post so much that I want to reblog – so do allow me.
    As to my opinion
    I have been a victim of malicious gossip on multiple occasions from school till very recently. Now I don’t know because no one repeats gossip to me these days.
    Earlier how did I get to know that people were gossiping about me ?
    1. I heard back from so called ” friends” that X said such and such about you. That hurt, bad.
    2. I am hurt by not so friendly people who want to hurt me, so I would weaken- this has happened more from guys than girls and especially if they wanted to score a few brownie points from me and then lend their shoulder for a good cry and whatever follows later would be a benefit to them.
    3. At one time ,I heard one of my classmates gossip about me to my seniors through their room walls- I was studying in the common room adjoining the bed room and I heard it all. Eavesdroppers never hear good about themselves is true but what if the eavesdropping was totally unintentional.

    These days I am more of a listener in gossip sessions. There is a very difficult colleague who is a work place bully whom everyone sort of dislikes and we share how she has hurt each of us. I try to defend her when I can but it is difficult.
    Please allow me to reblog.
    Susie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Definitely! Please, be my guest and reblog any post on here you find helpful. I would be so honored!

      I’d like to comment on some of your bullet points here too.
      First, anyone that repeats malicious gossip about you to you, is not your friend anymore. My first question to them is always “Why were they so comfortable saying it to you?” I have stopped waiting for their answer because i already know it. They were gossiping about me too.They were not my friends at all.

      No one can fault you for eavesdropping, however I would avoid those people at all costs. I also don;t like to hear what other people are saying about me anymore. Mainly because I don’t want to care, but also because if I don’t know it, then I can’t be bothered by it. What I do not know, can not hurt me. Even if I’m still nice to the assholes and smiling at them when I’m around them, what does that hurt? It makes them look even worse because I’m just being myself while they are fake and mean.

      Never defend the office bully. Let her figure out her own path because defending someone that is a bully only makes you another target. Take yourself out of that game because it is one of the most toxic environments at work there. You’ll see just how calm and more relaxed it becomes at work for you when you focus more on your job and less on her and the trouble she makes. Being the listener, like you’re already doing, and living on their periphery is the healthiest thing you can do for yourself. I’d make it into a game until it becomes a habit. See how much more work I can get done than them because I have more time to focus than they do. If she tries to hurt you in order to get you back into the game, then just smile and know that she does what she does because she’s so miserable and hurt inside. You don’t have to be that way. You know the secret.

      Sending you big hugs this week! Thank you so much for stopping by! Let me know how you’re doing!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Quirky Books says:

    Sadly someone was gossiping about me on Facebook and posting horrid stuff that was untrue. I had to remove them from my group and block them. I told a few people in private what she said and not everthing – life is too short and I just wanted to get on with my life but it did unerve me a little. I just had to put it down to jelously and the way the http address of the article read and move on with my life.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Quirky Books says:

    Hi Madeline – thanks. I had a few other words to say to myself in my head but that is where they have stayed. Life is too short to waste my energy and start a war. No point. You can never change their mind about you. Having said that – there was also a guy in my group egging her on to do it, he was also removed and blocked from the group. He commented on my personal public page with a slightly different attitude. I didn’t block him from my person profile and he messaged me via PM asking about my Fibro that he read from the article and he was diagnosed with this year. And what followed were messages where he had read the article properly, gone to my website, related to what I was saying and said he understands now and I am intelligent, he liked me, we had stuff in common and he was sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would still keep him at arm’s length. Sometimes they change their tune so they can remain in the inner circle to continue to gather intel. Besides, unless you know this guy personally, it could be her posing as him. Once they burn me, I cut them off. I wouldn’t tell him, just quietly limit his access to you personally.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Quirky Books says:

        Interesting. He is in some other groups that I go in and help. They are asexual groups and he is looking to date other asexuals so actually ended up looking like he was interested in me. He can no longer comment on my personal page – just message me and see stuff. I have seen pics of him and her and they are both in different countries but I didn’t think about Intel. They were pally and had only just met!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah…I’d be wary for sure.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Quirky Books says:

        Hi Madeline, I just blocked him. He is already in some other groups before he went in mine but it is interesting that the person who said the horrid stuff is not on his friend’s list. I can”t live in fear though – I will be more all over the media in the future for my businesses.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Quirky Books says:

        Hi Madeline – I actually think they didn’t know each other before and he may not actually like het so much because she did not understand his orientation at first and she got mad at him when he publically put on my personal Facebook page profile about would I accept him to be my younger guy boyfriend. That is when she really started the abuse and all the horid stuff with what she put and if he was ‘ on her side’, I don’t think he would have put that and made her mad – it was the last thing she wanted to hear!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I dunno. But I’m going to say if it were e in your shoes; I would dump both of them without a single regret. It’s drama and they both participated. Doesn’t that sound so much easier than trying to sort out the story of two complete strangers?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Quirky Books says:

        Yeah, she is already blocked and I blocked him now. I guess with the guy I thought about a second chance and as he said he too had Fibro I guess I thought maybe I could chat. But yeah, I think it is for the best. Thanks x

        Liked by 1 person

      • I hope your holidays are much brighter now. You just unloaded some heavy baggage with those two. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • Quirky Books says:

        Hi Madeline, I just unloaded some more baggage with a guy who was meant to be Skype Dating me and just ignored me but did go online. I blocked him out of my Facebook and Skype life x

        Liked by 1 person

      • The more toxic behavior/people you can rid yourself of, the better you’ll start to feel about life. You’ll be amazed by the new energy you have and the anxiety you once felt will just melt away.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Quirky Books says:

        Thanks Madeline xx

        Liked by 1 person

  4. susieshy45 says:

    Reblogged this on susieshy45 and commented:
    A post on what I have often written about- gossiping- but never have been able to put so lucidly as in this post.
    Susie

    Liked by 2 people

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