Women’s Group Topic: Gossiping

Over the years our women’s group has discussed many exciting topics, yet at the last meeting the topic of “gossiping” initiated interesting and energized responses.  We even got out an old-fashioned, giant-sized dictionary to locate the definition of gossip.

To jumpstart our discussion, we were provided with an article entitled “7 Tips for Giving up Gossip” by Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron, “The Truth About Gossip”.

Dictionary.com definition
gossip: 1. idle talk or rumor, esp. about the personal or private affairs of others: the endless gossip about Hollywood stars. 2. light, familiar talk or writing. 3. a person given to tattling or idle talk.

How does gossiping show up in daily life?
Gossiping has been around for a long time and probably permeates most everyday conversations.  We aren’t even aware that when we are speaking about others we may be gossiping.  Most of the time we believe it’s a form of sharing between friends or co-workers.  Is it sharing or gossiping?

Examples of gossiping
**Calling a person a name, such as “liar”, “cheater”, “cold” when they are not with you
**Repeating a story a friend told you about another person
**Telling stories about another person without checking the facts
**Talking secretly about a person’s sexuality
**Talking about celebrities as if you know them
**Sharing a negative story about another person, even if truthful

Why do people gossip?
Do people gossip because they feel a lack of power?  Do they need recognition and feel they have power when they talk about someone else, especially behind their back?  How about:
**A need to feel superior
**Being part of the group
**One is angry at another person – seeking revenge
**One needs attention

Whatever the reason for gossiping, is there any value to gossiping?

Working Definition of Gossiping
Given the responses in our group meeting, it’s clear that there is never one perception of what is truly gossiping.  So let’s try this one:

If what you have to say would upset the person you are talking about, then it is gossiping

This definition creates compassion for others so the need for sharing gossip will diminish.

Good gossip
Is there such a thing as positive gossiping – saying only good things about another person?  If we understand that we are not perfect, nor are others, then we can enjoy the goodness that resides in each of us, so why not share it? This is non-hurtful gossip.

Have You Ever Been Hurt by Gossip?
How does it feel to know that others have been talking about you, even if the words are true? Have you ever been on the receiving end of rumors that were spread about you or your loved ones? Think how it feels.

What To Do When Others Gossip
If you feel uncomfortable listening to another person gossiping, do you do anything or just listen even though you know it isn’t right?  Or do you challenge the other person?  We all want to be liked or be considered part of a group, so it may be hard to challenge another person, yet a part of us feels lousy when we don’t actively negate another person’s gossiping.

What Do You Think?
What do you think about the old adage “if you can’t say anything good about someone, don’t say it”?  Do you think there is any value to gossiping?  Do you, like most people, engage in gossiping?  Are you aware that you are gossiping?  If so, how do you feel about yourself?

This is a great topic for a women’s group. We hope we’ve stimulated your thoughts on this topic and have just put lots of questions out there for you to discuss in your group. It’s a much larger topic than we thought at the start of our meeting. And it certainly was enjoyed by all.

Karen & Pat
“maximize the value of women in your life”

**********Building stronger relationships**********


2 Responses to “Women’s Group Topic: Gossiping”

  • Gift Expressions Says:

    I think we really need to be on our guard when it comes to gossiping, because it can start so quickly and be very hurtful.

    I don’t like getting together with certain groups of people because it seems that it inevitably ends up in gossip. Then I feel really bad after I leave and wish I hadn’t gone.

    I do get uncomfortable when gossiping is going on and usually get very quiet. My mom used to always say what you said in this post “if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all.” It’s still very good advice after all these years.

  • Karen Fusco Says:

    Gossip tends to be negative and I prefer to be positive when at all possible. Very good advice!

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