It can be irresistible. A friend of yours speculates that another mutual friend is a pathological liar. You buy into it because the facts seem to point out the same. Then the truly irresistible happens. Because you were wronged by someone you know, you get mad. You vent your frustrations to a friend, someone who will see things your way. So you tell your best friend all about it.
It’s so easy to get sucked into gossip. It’s like a gravitational pull. So how can you be on guard against it? How can you be sure you don’t fall right into the quicksand?
Here are four questions to ask that will help you identify gossip.
1. Is it about other people’s weaknesses?
If the answer to this question is yes, don’t listen to the information and don’t repeat it. To reverse this habit, you can defend the one spoken of.
2. Is the information private?
If the answer is yes — even if 100 percent true — don’t spread it.
3. Is the information true?
This can be difficult to answer. Even if true, talking about a weakness or something private can hurt someone. Speak the truth with an attitude of love.
4. Is it purposeful?
Will talking about the person do any good? Will it benefit them? There are times when getting counsel about someone else will help him or her. Nevertheless, make sure that is your intention, and make sure you do it the right way (not by telling people about it who will only sympathize or spread the information themselves). This means you will probably be telling a mature adult, not a teenager.
If you are one who is really stuck in the habit of gossip or even thinking negatively of others, here is a sure-fire cure: praise. Find something praiseworthy about a person each time you are tempted to gossip, criticize, or listen to others’ condemnations about them. Take it a step further and verbally praise them. Praise can heal relationships. The change can be miraculous.