Confession Time: One of my biggest struggles is with gossip. I don't tell secrets that others confide in me. However, listening to others' gossip used to be a favorite past time of mine.
Then it happened. I heard the gossip I didn't want to hear. One of my friends was gossiping about another friend in a pretty hurtful way. The big chicken that I am didn't say anything even though I should have.
I got angry. How can she call her a friend and say these things about her? Would she want those kinds of things said about her? And the biggie: if she says those kinds of things about her friends, what's she saying about me when I'm not around?
Then I got embarrassed. What do the things I listen to say about the kind of friend I am? Of course that thought came to me much later, but hopefully next time I will do better. For now I am practicing a different way of gossip. Here are the rules in case you are interested:
1. Think about why you are sharing what you are sharing. Is it to get attention? Is it to let others know "what kind of person" they are? Oh, and telling someone something "just so they know" isn't a good reason, the other person's smart they can figure it out.
2. Think about what you are hearing. Would you want that said about you? If the person being talked about walked in the room and heard what was being said would you be embarrassed to be sitting there?
3. Think about something positive to say instead. Lately I've been having a pretty good time telling others what people have been saying about them, but only the good stuff. It surprises them. In a good way.