A relative was over for dinner recently, and started talking about “the neighborhood.” For a long time, it was customary for the women on the block to get together for evenings and enjoy themselves. That was until two specific females moved into the ‘hood, and only ever wanted to gossip about the people that weren’t there at any given get together.
That comment was really rather interesting given that this writer had to jettison a client earlier in the year who was more interested in neighborhood gossip than enjoying a vacation while on one. This particular client bore some of the same personality traits, including an unhealthy interest in gossip, as a toxic boss that was left high dry some time ago.
As it turns out, looking through list after list of “Signs of a Toxic [insert boss, co-worker, friend, parent, etc., here],” gossip and being a gossiper appears on every single one.
Every. Single. One.
Gossip is, at its core, reveling in the drama of life. Rather than ingesting the information and moving on, one has to repeat it over and over and get a rush from being the one to have the privilege of doing so. Being a dedicated gossip takes energy and time, a lot of it, too. It takes away from relationships of all sorts and also cuts into productivity.
The truth, though, is that this action has the effect of teaching those around not to be able to trust the gossiper. That being the case, an honest exchange of information cannot take place. That does not mean that coworkers cannot compare notes on those around them, just that talking about others in a negative way behind their backs is counter-productive.
All humans have our faults. That’s what makes us human. But trash talking, or gossip, is damaging in ways that hurt all people involved. That being the case, it might be time to banish gossip from a communications repertoire. In the end, it will help everyone.