I learned something to face what Im facing right now. I got the tips from a sister of St Aloysius, Sister Mary Martha. Here I shared with you guys.
1) How does one differentiate between gossip and 'sharing concern'?
You don't get to share concern by sharing private details about other people. Let's take a moment to define gossip. We'll use Webster's Dictionary because they still have nuns in there:
1 : a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others
2 a: rumor or report of an intimate nature b: a chatty talk c: the subject matter of gossip.
If I'm standing around with you and tell you about my friend who just found a wonderful new apartment after a long hunt and I want to share that good news with you, no problem.
Me: Margaret just found a wonderful new apartment! She is so happy.
You: Isn't that wonderful. I know she has been so worried about finding a new place.
We're both good to go here. It only turns south if I start revealing personal information about Margaret.
Me: Yes, well, she will be paying quite a bit more. She is such a shopaholic. I hope she doesn't end up living in her car.
Here's a rule of thumb: if you are talking about someone else and you suddenly realized they've been standing right behind you the whole time you've been talking and you find yourself combing your brain to remember exactly what you just said and whether or not you're going to have to sputter and backpeddle, you've been gossiping. (Unless all you've been talking about is the surprise party that's being planned. Then you're not a gossip, you're a blockhead.)
Why is it so bad? Because people have a right to justice and fairness, which is denied to them when people are talking about them behind their backs, even if you think it is for their own good. That's why the nuns always used to tell you to "mind your own garden".
We all have enough weeds to keep us busy.
2) If someone starts gossiping to me about another person and I just listen, am I gossiping too?
Great real. Yes.
If you weren't standing there listening there would be no gossip. Do people stand around talking to the walls about other people? No, they do not.
3) If some is gossiping to me about another person, should I walk away? Should I call the person on his/her gossip? Should I defend the gossipee?
This is a little more tricky. Unless there has been some sort of conversation about how you don't appreciate being involved in gossiping, just walking away is a bit rude. But then, so is gossiping, so it will do in a pinch.
I'm not much one for the holier than thou approach of calling a person on their gossiping, at least not in so many words, and defending the gossippee can result in more unearthing of the dark dirt.
Me: What a shopaholic that girl is! It's a wonder anyone would rent a place to her!
You: Well, she had a poor childhood and she told me once that she was denied so much as a child that she simple wasn't going to live her life pinching every penny.
Me: There is a difference between pinching pennies and reckless abandon. She wouldn't know a budget if it bit her in the face!
You're defense has made me defensive and caused me to spew even more unpleasant judgment.
I go for this approach:
Me: What a squanderer! What a wastrel!
You: It's really none of our business what she does with her money.
Me: (sputter) Well, I hope she doesn't end up at the Salvation Army trailer park.
You: I'm sure she'll be fine. How nice she found a great place.
Now you can walk away. Unless we're in the car. Then you're going to have to wait until I drop you off
I've always learned that people who gossip about others will surely at one point or another gossip about me.
Yes, they will. They especially will at the point you tell them to stop gossiping.
You: (walking away) It's none of our business. If we keep talking about this we're just gossiping.
Me: Did you hear what Janine said to me? She called me a gossipy old biddy!
How can I stay away from gossipers?
You can't, unless you live in a cave. Trust me, you wouldn' t even be safe in a convent. Just don't cave yourself.
How can I ensure not to gossip myself? Any tips or pointers would surely be appreciated.Thanks much.
Be vigilant. Be less judgmental in the first place. Don't busy yourself with the affairs of others. Mind your own garden.
My rule of thumb is don't say anything you would not want repeated in the local newspaper with your name as writer.
You never know what peoples situations are, to quote all of our mothers: "If you can't say something nice, say nothing at all." I bet you all have heard that line before.
To me, You can't avoid gossipers, but I find that they leave you alone if you don't join in. If they don't get the hint, saying something like "I think [person you've been gossiping about] is a very nice person" and its helps. otherwise, change the topic.
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