I recently dealt with a small group of gossips that created a bit of a problem for me. I was worried about my reputation, thinking I would need to “pull people aside” to give my own gossipy analysis of the situation. I chose not to, and am very glad I didn’t.
Have you ever found yourself betrayed by a gossip, feeling the urge to jump into the complicated relational web? This happens all too often in workplaces, families, and circles of so-called friends. I hope you’re not one to gossip, because if you are, you will never win. Why? Because…
Gossip never wins. Joining in will only ensure you lose. [Tweet this]
In work, family and friendships, I have the greatest people around me. Every so often I find myself in uncomfortable situations due to inappropriate “talk” from those around me, sometimes talk about me. But I know they will pass and I’ll be left the victor in the end. Here’s the how and why of it.
1. Conflict Will Come; so Keep Mum
In business and in life, you’ll be offended, misunderstood and betrayed by others. Get used to it. The best way to respond to any offense is to talk directly with the person who offended you. If that isn’t possible, keep mum about the conflict. That’s the best option. Just shut up.
If you’re dealing with good people, time will likely make things work out. Tempers defuse, anger subsides, and people are able to talk things out and make things right again. That’s why shutting up is the best option. It keeps the damage to a minimum.
Think work, family and friendships. I have associates in each part of my life who – at times – I’ve been angry with or feel taken advantage of. When everyone involved is prone to “let it rest” – not ignoring the issue, but giving it time and thought and prayer – great things come about.
Guess what happens when gossip keeps the conflict going? The business or friendship falls apart, and family reunions are just plain uncomfortable.
Gossipers cannot shut up. They’ll be quick to cast judgment on others, and they’ll gladly dive in with whomever will participate. Make sure that isn’t you. Gossip actually jeopardizes the relationship, the family, and the community at large. It makes things filthy, dishonorable, and a drag to participate.
Think about it. Work, family, friendship: gossipy environments in any of these begin to decay all the greatness about them. It gets worse and worse because…
2. Like Flies to Vomit, Gossips Attract Gossips
I’ve seen hotbeds of gossip that I have no other choice but to turn and run. Particularly because gossip breeds more gossip. It spirals down. Sometimes there is nothing you can do but let it spiral – and get out of there.
Seriously. Drop the business relationship. You don’t need that kind of friend. And if you’re related, kindly decline the offer to join them at the next holiday.
The temptation is to fight fire with fire. Especially if you’re the one being offended, it’s easy to justify jumping into the dissension and create more dissension. I’ve seen each scenario play out, and none of them are pretty:
- Work: An employee sets up a meeting with the boss and lets loose about the office associates, how bad they “really” are.
- Family: A relative will send personal messages to others (usually long, drawn out emails) about that “one” difficult person.
- Friendships: One fond-of-thinking-herself-caring person starts sharing prayer requests with selected friends. (Oh, yeah, that’s what Jesus would do…not.)
Such gossiping is a losing battle. Don’t think for one second you will benefit by getting involved, even if your reputation is what’s at stake. Here’s why…
3. Stand Firm, and Good People Will Stick With You
Gossips get themselves wrapped up in a wad, bickering and betrayal drools from their lips. It’s a sad sight, honestly. In any given situation, there are others who are watching from a distance – good people who are being tugged at left and right. They’re getting ear fulls from others – I hope not from you or me. At times we feel alone and defeated.
But we’re winning. The gossipers are losing. When the dust of discontent settles, we’re left standing on our principles, our consistent work, and our confidence of our conscience. And those disgruntled gossips are bitter and defeated.
- Work. The good people remain, and they are glad to do business with you. In a healthy work environment, the boss fires the gossiper.
- Family. The good people remain, and you encourage and lift each other up. You love one another.
- Friendships. You keep your friendships and you don’t ruin them based on an airy word said in anger or confusion.
When I find myself in the middle of a conflict, the gossipers always lose. I hold firm and try to respond the best I can. I’m telling you, this is a winning proposition. I know so because I’m surrounded by the best people in the world, the worst of folks have long gone from my acquaintance.