Gossip makes any brain a dustbin – no matter how great the brain is!!! There are several ways gossip can catch up on – thru news paper, magazines, TV channels, get-togethers (both official and personal), thru phone, chat etc… Whoever you are talking about, it is incorrect and inappropriate to talk about… be it a celebrity or a colleague or a friend or a relative – it is BAD to talk about a person who is not present. Whether the person gets to know what you had said or not, it is bad to talk about another person. When I say gossip is bad almost all of us will agree to it. However, there are several nicer names coined for gossip which makes you feel it is an essential part of life and without it you can’t survive in the personal and professional space of life.
When you are talking about someone to another person, if you are stating all good things about the person, the listener might think that you are promoting or the behavior of the former Or, thinks that you are trying to please him by praising the former who is very close to the listener; either way, the listener feels manipulated.
If you are stating all bad things about someone then also listener feels uncomfortable thinking whom all have you talked about the listener in the same way or you are trying to suppress the victim or the behavior of victim; listener either fears you or thinks that you are trying to control the way he behaves.
Ultimately you are losing the confidence of listener most of the time. Of course there are times people listen to you and come to you when they need the ‘special’ information. They seem to trust you whole heartedly. But that is only outward; they do not trust you deep within. They see you as a manipulator of truth or feelings.
When the victim comes to know about your conversations, he too feels uncomfortable. When he knows that you have talked good about him, the initial reaction is good. However, after a few conversations like this will create doubt in his mind about your motives. If he knows that you have talked bad about him, it is a straight ‘Lose’ situation. It is a ‘Lose / Lose’ situation always.
Of course there are times when you have to give your feedback about someone who is not present in the meeting and it is part of your job to do so. Even when doing it as part of your job, give as much as facts and data rather than giving perceptive / qualitative inputs. Provide good and bad aspects of the person relevant to the point of discussion. If you have seen only one side of the person, state that too. Before you share any information, think if the information is correct, if it is for you to share the information as part of your job description, if it will add value to the receiver & you in long run without damaging the image of any one.
Gossips are like scratching a healing wound. It feels nice when you scratch; but actually you are delaying the healing process by scratching it and you do not even know that your action is a hindrance. It is better to be away from such activities to get long term benefits.
Sometimes gossips are useful to us. Knowing inside information would be helpful in deciding your next course of action. It is easy to get carried away considering the short term benefits. As long as you discuss about the just the subject and not about a person it is acceptable. However it is very difficult to focus on the matter while keeping away from discussing about a person.
It is the hardest lesson to practice I have felt. I am improving slowly; I see the benefits showing up. It is about being trustworthy. What is life, if no one can trust you!!!