Beware of The Bully Lurking in Your Office
Gossip Girls - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly about Gossip
What we women say behind each other's backs... including about our friends!
It's a fact that we women gossip. We gossip about colleagues, neighbours, families, celebrities, and even friends. Gossip connects us to others and means we're sharing what can be considered local news in our own little "villages".
But there's good gossip and then there’s the ugly, damaging type. Take my quick quiz to work-out what sort of gossip you are. And whether you need to focus less on other people’s lives and more on your own!
1/Do you ever use gossip to ‘get back’ at someone?
2/ If you heard someone gossiping, and their ‘facts’ weren't true, would you figure it’s not your place to set them straight?
3/ Have you ever found yourself feeling a bit guilty while gossiping?
4/ Have you ever been accused of gossiping or telling tales?
5/ Do you consider gossip to be harmless, it's part of life, and happens to everybody?
6/ If gossip was going around about a friend/colleague would you shy away from telling them?
7/ Do you get some pleasure out of gossiping about others?
8/ Do you use gossip to show you’re "in the know"?
9/ Do you think there's NO difference between good and bad gossiping?
10/ If you hear someone gossiping do you jump in and ask them to it tell to you too?
5-10 Yes Answers: Bad Gossip
You gossip gratuitously and without thought to the damage it might cause. Sure, not all gossip is bad gossip, but you need to learn the difference. Take the following on board:
The Rule Of Good Gossip – essentially the difference between good and bad gossip is that you could repeat good gossip in front of the person it's about, whereas you'd feel embarrassed to do so with bad gossip. Use this as a rule to decide whether you should be gossiping about someone.
Gossip As Helpful Information - in some cases gossip’s acceptable where it prevents someone being upset. Let's say you know a colleague’s just separated from her husband and this isn't common knowledge yet. Then you hear another colleague saying they’re inviting everyone, plus partners, over for dinner. In such a case it’s helpful informing them that when they invite the colleague who’s recently separated, that they should do so with tact. That's giving information that can spare blushes all round.
Don't Overstep Boundaries - when giving "helpful information" as above, make sure you don't overstep boundaries and start gossiping about why someone might’ve separated from their partner, etc. It's easy to start out with good intentions and quickly slip down that slope to bad gossip.
Setting the Record Straight - if you hear people gossiping about something that's not true you should step in and tell them. Untrue gossip can be incredibly damaging to someone's feelings and even their reputations. To let untrue gossip spin on and on pretty much makes you as guilty as those spreading the actual gossip.
Look Inside Yourself – if you derive pleasure from discussing other people's misfortune or try to make yourself the "big I am" by spreading gossip, look inside yourself. Ask yourself questions like: Why does someone's misfortune make you feel better? Why do you feel the only way you can get attention from others is by telling tales? Time to reappraise what you have to offer friends and colleagues, that comes from within you, rather than stories about others.
Listen to Your Conscience - if you find yourself feeling uneasy or guilty when gossiping, stop yourself in your tracks. That's your conscience telling you you've gone too far. It's easy to get going with a story about someone and before you know it you've gone into "bad and ugly" territory.
Scoring points - it's very often insecure people who use gossip to turn themselves into the "big I am". They want to improve their social status by being seen to be "in the know". Never use someone else's misfortune or misery to try to improve your own standing within a group.
Your Reputation - keep in mind you'll get the reputation of a gossip super-fast if you don't keep it zipped! It's worth bearing in mind if you don't have anything good to say, then don't say anything at all.
2-4 Yes Answers: Borderline Gossip
You might realise the damage some gossip can cause but still find it hard to resist. Check out the advice above so gossip doesn't come back to haunt you.
0-1 Yes Answers: Good Gossip
You're aware that gossip’s a fact of life but that people should be careful what they say about others and their lives. To keep you on the straight-and-narrow read the advice above.
Published in The Express Newspaper
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