Callie at Through Clouded Glass has started a blog series on ‘Friendship‘. My friends (online and ‘IRL’) often joke that I seem to apparently ‘know everyone’ (I really don’t), but I guess it’s because I love networking and building relationships with people. So I love the idea of this blog series, and couldn’t help but join in!
I don’t have a great deal of tolerance for gossip, and I think it’s why I had much better friendships with males over females during my teenage years. Because for most guys – they are up front to your face. They don’t pretend to like you, and the majority of my friends would be very blunt and honest with me.
I’ll never forget a Christmas when a friend was trying to organise a really nice get-together for everyone. People didn’t want to do what she’d organised, but rather than tell her they complained about it behind her back. Eventually (after she’d spent quite a bit of time preparing) they told her they weren’t going to come. Understandably she got angry. She said some mean things that were uncalled for. One of my friends came to me to offload about the incident.
“She had no right to say what she did to you, but I get why she was angry. Why didn’t you just tell her you didn’t want to do it to start with rather than talking about it to everybody else? You probably could have come up with an alternative arrangement people would have been happy with.“
This friend then proceeded to moan about my response to all our friends. Then one of our male friends overhearing said the exact same thing I did. And then he told me about how she’d been complaining about me to our friends.
Because you see – usually the person you’re gossiping about finds out what you’ve been saying.
Now, when people start gossiping, I try to shut it down. I either say – ‘Look, why don’t you just ask them?’ or ‘I’m not really comfortable with us all talking like this’ or I just exit the conversation (either with silence or walking away, depending on the situation). I know at times, I’m really abrupt and blunt about it. But frankly I’d rather be honest.
Sometimes I get sucked into the gossip trap. Usually this happens when I’ve been hurt by the person and they’ve made it pretty tough for me to approach them about it. It’s not an excuse though, and it’s something I need to work on!
The other thing I don’t do is by gossip magazines. I think it’s sickening how so-called ‘journalists’ make a living taking photos purposely to make others look bad, objectify and stalk people or invade their privacy – or worse that of their friends and relatives. It makes me angry that people BUY these magazines, because frankly if no one bought them, there would be no cause for people making them.
Even if you don’t KNOW the person, it is still gossip. Even if that person is ‘famous’, it is still gossip.
So let’s all be better and treat others how we’d like to be treated.
Whether we know them or not.