Sticks and Stones
Knowledge is power but gossip is poison. Sadly, many people like to spread damaging information or intimate details about others, whether true or not. Some people use gossip to hurt people, in order to feel good about themselves, and to feel like they have power over others. The most dangerous part about gossip is that it steals another person’s reputation. A reputation is very fragile. When you gossip, you are helping to destroy something extremely valuable.
Decide right now that you don't want any part of it.
1) Make a commitment that you are not going to share unproven information.
2) Don’t listen to others when they gossip. You simply listening to it adds to its appeal. If someone starts to tell you something gossipy, say, I’m sorry, but I don’t feel comfortable talking about this. Not only will you break the gossip chain but you also will gain the trust of other people as someone who won’t spread rumors. Maybe the person who attempted to share the gossip will think again. Once a friend of mine was stopped at the grocery store by someone who wanted to share some tidbit. My friend said " I don't want to hear a word, you are talking about my friend " and walked away.
3) Don’t judge. If you hear gossip, you have two choices: allow the gossip to determine what you believe, or let your own personal experience determine what you think. Look at the situation rationally, not based upon hearsay.
4) Pause before you speak. Think: does this really do any good for me to spread this information? Could I be hurting someone by telling this?
5) Stay away from people who gossip . They will gossip about you, too. Don’t associate with people who find joy in belittling others.
There’s an old saying, stick and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me. That’s not true.
Most importantly of all: remember that bullying can be very deceptive. A mob of people spreading stories may call themselves ' defenders' or ' truth warriors' but what they really are is a bunch of bullies spreading information that has no basis in fact. Beware of mob mentality.
In this country, you are innocent until proven guilty.
We live in small communities and things can get out of control very quickly. Please consider the lasting damage that might be done by your ' harmless' words and just don't do it.
You will never regret erring on the side of kindness.
Let today be the day you begin. Speak only the good you know of other people and encourage others to do the same.