Now's the time to stop gossiping

Phyllis Smith A. By Phyllis Smith A., 21st Jun 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Mind & Spirit>Self Help

Now's the time to stop gossiping, and if you're a gossip addict, there's help available. defines gossip as "idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others."

Root causes of gossip

Why do some love to gossip? Busybodies, nosey neighbours, poking around in other folks' business, trying to discover the latest happenings. Do lips flap because of lack of self control? Are the lip flappers living vicariously? Perhaps they don't have a life? As my grandmother often said, “An idle mind is the devil's workshop.”

Gossiping indicates a lack of character. Do the intimate details of others' lives benefit us in any way? Could there be a self-esteem issue? If we don't feel good about ourselves, then digging the dirt on someone else and listening while others throw dirt keeps the focus off us.

At least we don't do the things they do or say the things they say. Then haughtiness and pride enter our spirit. The "puffed up and puffed out" attitude takes over.

If you're the guru of gossip and want to stop the madness, here are steps on how to do it:

Think before you speak

Tuck your lips inward before you utter a word. On your next trip to the water cooler, make sure it's to quench your thirst. Don't hang around waiting to hear someone talk about how “Big Bertha” looks like a stuffed sausage in her tight dress. Just keep on steppin'.

(Link to "How to Stop Gossiping" video.)

Don't meditate on others' faults

Yes, Big Bertha's dress may be tight. But she's a whiz at creating spreadsheets, and she helped you when you were the office newbie. Be grateful that Big Bertha also has a big heart, is who she is, and stop trying to make her into Skinny Minnie. Sure, she could lose some weight and needs some wardrobe advice, but do you think she wants to hear it from you (especially after she heard you gossiping about her)? No, she does not.

Know your words can and do hurt others--it's known as injurious speech. Don't indulge in it. You may have heard, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never harm me." Words are powerful, and they can and do hurt. Some have learned to ignore hurtful words while others haven't, so why risk hurting someone?

See the good in others

Stop talking about “Loud Lucy.” Maybe she has a hearing problem and doesn't realize she's loud, or it could be she just has the loudness habit. Okay, maybe you should think about why people do what they do instead of criticizing them for what they do.

If Loud Lucy's voice disturbs you to the point where you can't get your work done, maybe you're not working hard enough. If that's not the case, then surely someone else has noticed, like your supervisor, who can tactfully bring Lucy's loudness to her attention. Of course, you can't if you've criticized her in front of others. Her speech may be loud, but she's not necessarily hard of hearing and may be able to hear a pin drop.

Focus on self improvement

Perhaps your name is Scintillating Sam and you've got the low down on everybody and know everybody who's on the down low. Did you know that after you've dropped your word bombs and walked away, everyone is discussing, or rather, gossiping about you?

Reaping what you sow is inevitable. Self reflection and self improvement go a long way. When we're focused on improving our lives and the lives of others, we have little time for trash talk.

More thoughts and suggestions

If you want to stop gossiping, stop hanging with those who do. You may lose friends, or rather, gossip buddies, but you'll benefit. You'll discover the difference between loneliness and being alone; you'll also become acquainted with yourself.

Be polite to your former gossip mates, but know your new behavior will infuriate them, and they'll speak about you negatively. This may hurt, but take solace in knowing you are now a reformed gossip-holic. Also know were the topic of previous conversations, although you were too engaged in gossiping to notice.

Find new friends based on the interests you discovered when you found yourself. If you started playing chess, join a chess club. If you decided to lose weight, join an exercise class.

Read character building books about honesty, integrity, and positivity. The Book of Proverbs in the Bible gives instructions on using the gift of speech wisely. In the King James Version of the Bible, gossipers are sometimes referred to as "talebearers." Do you really want to be labeled as a bearer of bad tales?

If after a period of abstinence, you revert to the gossip mode, repent and start over. Remind yourself that now's the time to stop gossiping and immediately get back in gear.


Bad Habits, Character, Gossiping, Integrity

Meet the author

author avatar Phyllis Smith A.
Online journalist who writes news/op-eds on politics, crime, tragedy, health, entertainment, Christianity and other topics. Also writes Contemporary Praise and Worship songs.

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author avatar Oscar Crawford Media
21st Jun 2013 (#)

Phyllis, as the web has made sharing with a larger audience available, gossipers do locally what network, cable, and blog news reporters on a national and global scale. Sharing information seems to give people a sense of power. Some report. Some embellish. Some just make it up. Gossip is what people do.

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author avatar Phyllis Smith A.
22nd Jun 2013 (#)

Thank you for commenting, Oscar. It may be what some people do; I don't agree that everyone gossips. Also, I don't place "reporting" in the same category as "gossiping." One can "share information" without gossiping.

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