Gossip by Darren Stanton – At a television studio, a researcher asked me which is worse ‘gossip or lies’. I answer the two words represent different aspects of human nature. Everyone lies and all deceptions have a consequence. Self-deception is one hell of a lie, and self-deception becomes a whopper if not addressed. Self-deception is an aspect of the gossips venom. The gossip self deceives because they ‘assume’ the listener believes the information.
This article is an article full of warnings. After the central aspect of my work not only trains people how to assess the validity of the subject of statements, it also looks at the long term outcomes of deception. I feel it is possible to evaluate a situation, review the people involved and work out who and what is responsible for the failure or success. People who use hearsay and non-researched information may ‘sound’ plausible: however, they are often the weak link in a chain of events.
People make choices based on the information received from those they ‘believe’ are trustworthy. A person may seem fair, honest and trustworthy when the reality is the opposite. It is possible to look someone because of their nature, or even failings. This does not mean they are not unreliable or capable of deception. Remember it is the ‘facts’ of a comment which reveal the real character of a person.
It is sure people will listen to untruths or truths they do not like and will not comment. In certain circumstances, people will leave the impression they agree with the sentiment when the opposite is the reality. During advanced ‘body language’ seminars I teach how to recognise non-congruent facial and body messages. For example, the subject says: ’Yes’ and the reality is ‘No’.
Later in this article, I suggest that agreeing to anything inaccurate can hurt reputation.
Gossip or hearsay is most often vindictive. Praise, complement and gratitude are kind and opposite of scandal. Remember we do not gossip about an object; gossip is directed at an individual or sometimes groups.
When we hear “have you heard about?” we anticipate the next statement.
“Have you heard about Jon? He’s gained a great job in sales. He’ll do well, and I’m pleased for him.” This is a congratulation and complement. Whoever speaks with this kindness is well thought of by all who listen. Complements are usually accurate and truthful. Complimentary people have a successful mindset
Flip the Coin:
“Have you heard about John? He’s gained the top job in sales. From my experience, he’s out of his league. Best of luck to him.” This is malicious and vindictive. It set’ the seed of dislike and mistrust. We ask is the information accurate? Would the management have promoted John if he were incompetent? The original statement is the mindset of failure.
To some degree the second statement is gossip. It is malice aforethought: The speaker hopes this message will take hold and damage John’s reputation. How else can we consider the statement?
There will be some who say: “Hey come on Darren, there is no harm in someone having an opinion”.
Reread the words:
“Have you heard about John? He’s gained the top job in sales. From my experience, he’s out of his league. Best of luck to him.”
Is the opinion right or wrong? The answer is it is wrong. Because, even though we do not know John, he has not proven himself. Only time and results will provide evidence. Therefore the vindictive statement should be ignored. Unless of course, you wish to defend John.
Let’s go further: John hears about the sleight. Is he hurt? Will it damage his confidence. Or is he resilient and uses the knowledge to spur him to greater success? If you were John how would you react?
Think about this with care because you can use this exercise to strengthen confidence and will power. When we are the subject of gossip, we are subject to criticism. And here we could consider being the subject of gossip is good! Because we are controlling the individual, who is commenting. Criticism is the result of fear; we never critic or gossip about people we care for or respect.
When considering the human ‘condition’ (The human condition is “the characteristics, key events, and situations which compose the essentials of human existence, such as birth, growth, emotionality, aspiration, conflict, and mortality), we discover the focal point for many is happiness. To help someone to happiness, a psychologist helps them find out their limitations. The clinician does not express or reveal personal interpretation; the objective is to help the person discover his weakness.
Therefore this article is written to provoke thoughts about the effects of gossip. The ideas ask the reader to consider the damaging effects of malicious statement. And the reader is being asked to find the opposite opinion to prove my view incorrect.
Those who are unhappy usually cannot celebrate life or achievements. The person who gossip’s falls into this characteristic. Often we’ll find people using social media to criticise others. When looking at the critic, we find they are themselves unsuccessful or jealous of the subject of their opinion.
Here I would ask you to consider if you align with the critic’s sentiment without appraising the facts, there will be trouble ahead in time. It is all very well thinking: ‘Well they have not done anything to me and they seem genuine enough’:
But have you questioned their statements? By aligning with the ‘gossip’, you are seen to believe and accept their statements. The suggestion here is: If you cannot seek the truth: or know the reality: of a negative comment concerning a friend or colleague: Do not be surprised if the lack of integrity comes back to bite you very hard indeed.
I hope you understand the sentiments of this short article. My suggestion is gossip and gossips are poor bedfellows. By association, you will become an ally and strengthen their lie. Scandal is at best a distortion of the truth and at worse an outright lie. And most often it is repeating something listened to which is deliberately intended to cause pain, difficulty or set back. Consider this aspect with care; I repeat: if you listen to an inaccurate statement and align with it you become part of the vindictiveness.
Gossip steals reputation:
Consider this as accurate. Attempt to disagree with the idea that scandal is the thief of status. It is usually the result of a weakness of character or need for revenge. When listening to gossip, I wonder about the individual’s reason for the statement. With care, I can trace back the source and cause for the comment. There has never been one occasion when the source of the rumour is not found to be a person of weak character.
They cannot defend or put their point of view to the ‘other party’ therefore they chose to cause as much damage as possible to their oppositions reputation. We could consider gossip is always sourced from vindictiveness and need for revenge.
I’ll now come to the most critical aspect of the problem. Ignore this at your peril:
When you align yourself with gossip: You will become a support to the gossiper making the statement. The gossiper will reinforce his or her grievance with “I spoke to James, and he agreed with me” and later the cascade of gossip becomes: “James has said XXX”. Clearly a dangerous place to be!
Worried about how to deal with the gossip? Here is a suggestion:
Listen to the gossiper and comment:
“I am a fair person: I need to hear both sides of the story.”
Consider how powerful is this statement. It is one of fairness and speaks volumes for integrity. It will also revel much about the person standing in front of you! If they seem uncomfortable or become defensive, you can draw a more accurate conclusion.
Agreeing without knowing the facts (facts are discovered by personal assessment) is a demonstration of weak character. If the gossip demeans a friend, it is prudent to seek the truth. If you are a faithful and good friend to both people, you must align yourself with the truth. Remember if you agree with someone when they are wrong, you will lose the ‘wronged’ friend and your reputation as a fair person.
Never listen to the gossip without fair assessment. Do not become an unwilling part of the rumour. Check the facts and remember this: If the scandal turns out to be incorrect you have been lied too! This answers the researcher’s original question. “If the gossip is inaccurate it is a lie. If someone is prepared to lie to you for their gain or revenge. Do you want them as a friend? Do you want to associate with a vindictive individual?
It is for you to choose. That is the nature of my work: Not to give defined answers, but to give reasoned reply with moral options as answers.
Thank you for reading this short article. Be happy, prosperous and live in peace. And be careful who and what you listen too: sometimes seeming to agree with an untruth will align you with it and who knows who or what you’ll lose in the long term?