We've all done this - especially women, and as a midlife woman I will admit there have been seasons in my life where I did a lot of this. I called it "venting" or "processing" even "sharing"...
but when I was venting, processing or sharing with multiple people around town I was definitely crossing the line. Also, who do you trust? The more you talk the bigger risk you take of your words being repeated, exaggerated even changed (think telephone game). Regardless, the words can and will be credited to you, the original source.
What was a reconcilable issue can quickly become an irreconcilable one all due to what we say, who we say it to and how many times we say it.
As women we are verbal connectors, we talk and we talk and we talk. Studies have shown women talk three times more than men do on a daily basis. It’s part of who we are, how we are wired. So, how do we balance that with what we talk about? Notice I said what and not who. In my experience gossip usually involves a who vs. a what for the topic of conversation.
Here's the thing, I don't know about you but for me, when I enter into the realm of gossip, either doing the talking or listening to it, I leave the conversation with a terrible pit in my stomach. I don't like it. I desire to be a trusted friend who does not share others' intimate details or struggles.
I want to be a trusted friend even in the midst of conflict (which will happen when you are close to people - love and friendship are risky - and they get messy sometimes).
Here are a few parameters I have set up for myself in recent years to help me with boundaries in my conversations:
There are so many directions we can go with this topic. Social media is another layer of gossip with "vague booking" and feeling the need to give our opinions about everything under the sun. To keep this post a reasonable, readable (I hope!) length I decided to stick with good, old fashioned face to face interactions.
I saw a quote on Instragram yesterday that said "I would rather have my nose in a book than in someone else's business" and I wholeheartedly agree!
Speaking of books, I will leave you with this: "That's the way prayer do. It keeps things going." - Abileen, The Help. Abileen is referring to someone she still had connection with after a conflict.
Instead of trashing and rehashing, let's take a tip from Abileen and pray. Or if you don't pray, think positive or just occupy yourself with something other than whatever is eating you up inside about someone. You just may be surprised how all of a sudden you feel lighter than air, free as a bird and you may even forget about that thing you needed to vent about anyway.
Wishing you a gossip free, happy day!
Image Credit: Gangstalking Survival / You Tube
Work with Heidi, Founder of #thesosblog
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