I got inspired by one of my closest friends to write a post about gossip. I know this is a controversial issue, yet people seem to live with it. People are actually born with it, admit it or not.
I was also enticed to gossiping and its bad consequences before. As a teenager, it is one common pastime for students. Most of the time people say that girls gossip more than boys do, well, I extremely disagree. There is no real difference between the rate of habitual gossiping between girls and boys. As I have observed it, everybody wants to belong. The urge to gossip is subjective to each person too.
Scientifically speaking,communication is part of the social life that everyone needs. In order to survive in each stage of growing, there are various types of social interaction that a person needs. When you are just a toddler, you like playing with your mom, dad, or siblings. When you become a teenager, you will start to seek popularity in school. You will look for acceptance, not in your family anymore, rather to your chosen friends.
On the other hand, we like control and superiority. We wish that we are better than the person in the first row. We like being a critic to show the world how smart we are.
In a classroom setting, every break you will start to see people grouping together with their own chitchats and interests. Most often than not, an intense conversation would be about crushes, likes, dislikes, new K POP singer or the newest toys and gadgets. But a magnetic conversation usually involves a controversial issue like cheating, the vacuüm students, illness, and even sex. When we pass this stage, another gossiping stage occurs. The transformation is not really big, but its effects evolve. When you start to go to college or start to work, small chats and gossips are still there, but in this stage they can turn as destructive as the late Hiroshima bombing. Why? Reputations stained, work problems , broken relationships, these are just some of the common consequences of gossip in adult life. Likewise, here are five interpersonal problems that habitual gossiping give, so please be aware of these things.
1. Help! I feel unsafe!
Science tells us that shared dislikes bond people more than shared likes. This might be one reason people like to engage in gossiping. However, friendships centered on gossiping cannot build trust and loyalty. For instance, since you know that both of you gossips, then you feel afraid to tell each other your secrets. See the logic?
2. I am nothing!
Gossiping makes you aware of other’s mistakes, misfortune or opportunities; however, deep inside you are digging your own misfortunes, opportunities and mistakes in life. Gossiping is like a mirror. The way you talk about other’s inferiority transcends your own inferiority as well. You fear that people will see you the way you see others, so in the end, you feel like shit!
3. You are IMMATURE.
Can you remember the last time you hear that gossiping is immature? Indeed! People attracted to gossiping are those who don’t have anything to do with their life. They have lots of extra time to dedicate to gossiping, and by extra time means no significant activities to do like studying, working, family chores. It also reflects which types of news interest them, so ask yourself what are your concerns in life?
4. Remember Karma?
Karma! Even non-Buddhist people believe in the causal effect of Karma. It is one of the scariest words in the world. It might be simply stating the cause and effect phenomenon, but in a deeper context, people assume its greater effects to one’s life and even in the next life. It is similar to the golden rule of Christianity “Do unto others what you want others do unto you.”, or to Confucian philosophy “Do not do to others what you don’t want others do unto you”. It is just more general and universal as it covers even unbelievers.
5. Lies lies and more lies…
Gossiping is actually direct lying to yourself. Obviously, when you get the center of attention. When those around you attend to you, you feel important right? This is the primary lie of gossiping. It makes you think that you are VIP because you have the latest neighborhood news of the day, but you don’t know that your actions show your whole personality. Gossiping creates wrong belief of trust, loyalty, belief and self-importance when you are wasting the opportunity to create a friendship base on trust (trust that you will not disclose their secrets, whatever happens), loyalty (that both parties will never backstab each other), belief (opportunity to discuss more relevant news affecting your lives) and self-importance (accepting one’s strengths, weaknesses and privacy).
How can I stop it?
Patience and discipline are two tools that we can use to fight gossip and its effects.
Patience, because we are always ready to attack when we hear something wrong said about us. Be more patient in waiting for more information and verify the root of that gossip first. Ask yourself, did I really do it? Who said it? Will it affect me? If you cannot answer these things, then most probably or not, just disregard the issue. It is an absolute lie. Show them instead that you are not what those gossips are saying about you. Those things are not true! Those are just means of people who have nothing to do with their lives.
Discipline comes after Patience. If you are disciplined enough to disregard gossips and to not involve yourself with this unworthy action, then you will experience all the benefits of living peacefully.
You might say that the method is an act of cowardice, but isn’t reacting aggressively will just hurt your reputation more? One of my friends argues that the conception of an image is mere hypocrisy. It is a social dogma pulling us from our own self-identity. However, aren’t people use images to imprint us on their minds. If they don’t have this imprint, then we are nothing to them. We are just a stranger passing by.
The point is, you need to love yourself. Tell the world that you are stronger than those bad publications about you.
What to talk instead?
For the sake of conversation, then why not just talk about the weather, new technologies, science, math, and social injustice? There are many issues that need actions immediately, yet you are there talking animatedly with your friends about the new girl and the nerd guy in the campus. Grow up! Be mature.