Time to shut down the gossip mill

It creates toxic energy in communities and relationships

Gossip is defined as “idle talk or rumour, especially about the personal or private affairs of others.” However you define it, gossip creates toxic energy in communities and relationships… yet people do it all the time. Gossipers lose self-respect and the respect of others. Gossip serves no useful purpose and I’d like to put an end to it. Some common reasons people gossip are:

• Their life isn’t very interesting so they talk about other people’s lives

• They feel important being “in the know”

• They feel better about themselves when sharing unfavorable stories about other people

• They are unaware of the impact that gossiping has on them and the target of their gossip.

If you share my desire to close the gossip mill, I invite you to ask yourself these questions before sharing information about someone else:

1. Is this my story to tell?

2. Would I want this story shared if it was about me?

3. Does this story raise someone up, or put them down?

4. How could I make my life more interesting so that I share my stories rather than those of others?

5. What’s in it for me to share this story and how could I get this in a more positive way?

Some other things that might help in the quest to end to gossip are:

• Go to the source, verify the story, and ask if it is OK for you to share it with others.

• If it would have a negative impact or put someone in a negative light, choose not to share it.

• If someone wants to share a piece of gossip with you, stop them in their tracks… a simple ‘I’m not interested in hearing about them, I’d rather talk about you’ will do the trick.

Let’s shut down the gossip mill and open up a positive, supportive and respectful mill in its place. Who’s with me?

Michelle Richardson