Let’s face it gossip seems to be an everyday part of our life. In fact, it’s a very primal way of communicating and connecting. The problem is that it creates a lot of trouble for us in our relationships. The reason we gossip is because we can’t say what we need to say directly to the person we need to say it to. Either because we fear the consequences or because we feel they are not willing to listen to us! In other words…”if I can’t talk to you, then I’ll talk about you”. It’s a very natural and normal response and…. it doesn’t get us anywhere. We simply cannot solve our problems with another person by talking about them with someone else. So, how do we turn this pattern around and make good use of gossip when it occurs? There is one very good strategy for responding to gossip that I recommend you try. When someone comes to you with gossip let that person know that you care about them, can see that they are having difficulty with addressing an issue and simply and kindly support them to take the message back to the person and address it directly. Remember, this is a big change for people and they may not like the idea at first but if you keep providing supporting and turning people back to each other eventually the gossip will subside. Generally, gossip shows up as a kind of complaining and venting so be careful not the allow this to go on too long before turning the conversation into a more productive one.
This is a big step. Gossip has become so normalized that we feel pulled into it. We suffer when we allow ourselves to part take in something that feels contrary to our values. Deep down each and of us wants to find the courage to address our concerns directly, to connect with each other and work through our conflicts in a healthy way. Gossip keeps us stuck in a perpetual cycle of conflict. When we are able to address issues directly with each other we feel EMPOWERED!
As always, build awareness, notice where you and other gossip and notice your response now that you have a little more information about what to do differently.