Have you ever had someone give you that quick “wave over” and then pull you into a dark corner, her eyes bulging as she whispers frantically, “I just felt like you should know what ____________ said about you yesterday.”
Then she (or he) proceeds to smash your heart to pieces with some garbage worthy gossip that makes your day cloudy and gray, sincerely impeding your ability to choose joy.
Gossip kills friendships, hurts feelings, destroys community, and causes relationship rifts. So how can we get rid of gossip in our schools, workplaces, and homes?
Well, I have TWO very simple, sure fire ways to stomp gossip in its tracks and send you back on your merry best day ever adventure.
First, respond to your friend by saying, “Well, I’m sure glad you defended me, then!!!” We should always assume the best of our true friends, and your first best assumption will certainly widen her eyes a little if she (or he) didn’t actually defend you.
WE TEACH PEOPLE HOW TO TREAT US, and the first statement above basically solidifies the fact that your expectation in friendship is that FRIENDS DEFEND FRIENDS.
That’s how you roll: loyalty.
The second very important sentence to use is, “I don’t really want to know what they said about me. But I DO want to know why they felt so comfortable saying it around you.”
Again, we teach people how to treat us. This bold statement puts your friend on the spot and forces him or her to come to grips with WHY he or she was participating in gossip. It will also help the “think twice process” to occur before doing it the next time. It’s great loving accountability, and it will once again set up your expectations of what friendship looks like for you.
The times I’ve used these two phrases have only served to strengthen the friendships that are going to last, because those friends realize gossip is wrong and want to make it right. If it’s not a real friendship, you’ll discover quickly WHY the friendship isn’t really worth your time and energy. I guess it’s not really a friendship. More like a ship without the friend part.
Speaking truth and lovingly standing up for yourself in friendship is the path to lifelong partnerships in real community. I’ve found some of those myself, and I pray you can find them, too.
P.S. Check out my video, The Gossip Cage, about another way to combat gossip in a positive way.
Thanks for reading my blog! Did you know my husband has a blog, too? (He is also very cute). Most recently he wrote a post called, “we need each other” – and I think you’ll really like it. Check it out at bradywisehart.com.