Confessions of a Reformed Gossip
The Director asked me yesterday what I would be blogging about and I chirped back “My life of course”. In a little tiff we had later on that night he exclaimed “what could you possibly write about in your life that is so interesting?!” He had a point, these days I just go to work, hang out with my cats and The Director and eat. I’m totally into the simple life, the simplicity rules!
But today…. I had an epiphany. My girlfriend called to fill me in on a little big of gossip and I realized that the new no-gossip diet that I had put myself on already had positive effect after one week! So damnnit Mr. Director, I do have some interesting things to share from my life. Here goes….
I’m going to confess. I have a Huge.Gossiping.Addiction. and its bad. I didnt even realize it was such a big thing, I really just thought it was something all girls did after all I was born and raised on gossip. Growing up I heard so much gossip, the seemingly innocuous kind, for example: “Did you hear that your cousin Alice got a 1500 on her SAT and got accepted to Harvard? Did you know the my friends son Paul just graduated law school and is already earning a six figure income? None of this was “evil” gossip persay, but gossip it was. I’m sure that many Asians can related to this! Early on I became conditioned to pay lots of attention to what other people were doing and than size myself up against their accomplishments.
I could always easily rationalize away my gossip. After all, I wasn’t gossiping evilly, I told myself: I wasn’t being an online troll, calling people hateful names, calling anyone a whore, or making up lies about people. I was just talking about people and their lives! Doesn’t everyone want to know who Brittany is dating now and who broke up with Sam and why? Or I was just venting out my frustrations and trying to find a solution! Did you know what Mike did to me? Here’s how he’s wrong and a dozen reasons why I am right! A common rationalization of mine was: I’m just speaking the facts and anything I am saying to you about Cindy I would say to Cindy’s face.
I was told something recently which was mindblowing to me, that any time you talk about someone else constitutes gossip, even if you are speaking about the person positively!!!
I was reminded of this famous quote
My friend told me a great analogy, that gossiping is like ripping a feather pillow open and scattering the feathers out into the wind. If you wanted to try to gather up every single feather again it would be impossible. Similarly with gossip if you tried to mend all the damage caused by your words, you would not be able to. Its like the Butterfly Effect , its impossible to know the ultimate ramifications of your words.
Once I realized the seriousness of this defect of character came the obvious question: How can I possibly stop? What would my conversations consist of now? How would I connect with my friends? After all, being a gossip I had naturally surrounded myself with people who loved to gossip, or at least tolerated it.
Really the solution is incredibly simple. Just stop.
How to stop gossiping
1. Realize you have a problem
2. Just stop doing it! You can do it
I’ve currently been on the no-gossip diet for one week. I had two minor slips but overall I’ve been squeaky clean! One thing I realized for myself was that so much of my life revolved around paying attention to others, imagine the worlds I could accomplish if I just rediverted all that massive amount of energy into something else
3. Eliminate those gossiping friends
This one’s a bit harder and it need not always be so dramatic. You could just distance yourself temporarily while you’re on the no-gossip diet or let your friends know that you are on the diet. Who knows, maybe they’ll want to join in on the diet with you and it’ll make the entire endeavor easier!
4. Bookend it
I really recommend bookending it. My friend who recommended the no-gossiping diet wanted me to check in with her about it every few days. It’s really easy to forget you are on the diet if someone isn’t holding you accountable. Announce it to the world!
5. You’re not allowed to listen to gossip either
That means, if anyone starts to gossip to you, you should change the conversation. If that doesn’t work, tell your friend gently that you would like to talk about something else!
6. Stop reading tabloids and watching reality shows
I’m far from achieving this step, come on now! But this will be the ultimate step.
So that girlfriend I mentioned earlier called me to fill me in on some gossip and I slipped on my no-gossip diet and I let her tell it to me. I’ve been having some drama in my life recently and there is SO MUCH THAT I COULD GOSSIP ABOUT RIGHT NOW!!! but I haven’t. She had called me earlier this week and I could have let loose and some thoughts about a certain person that I really thought she should be warned about. But I kept my big mouth shut. And it turns out the person just took their own rope and hung themselves (metaphorically!!!), she made a damn fool of herself. The takeaway from this situation for me is that I trust my higher power and I trust that if someone is doing me wrong, I will be protected. I do not need to play God and be the judge, jailer, and punisher. Yay me!
It’s crazy, these blog posts usually take a lot more reflection and planning for me to map out but this post just poured out of me in one furious swoop. Fastest long form blog post I’ve ever written!