When we think of “bullying” we often visualize kids in the schoolyard taunting each other and pushing one another around in the sandbox. While this is the most obvious form of bullying, another form has taken hold that is so widespread that most people don’t even realize they’re participating in it. This form of bullying is gossip. Sitting around judging and dissecting other people’s lives. Gossip magazines and generations of negative female bonding habits have normalized this conduct.
Gossip, in my opinion, is the most low, toxic form of bullying because unlike face-to-face taunting, it doesn’t even give the victim a chance to defend themselves. The worst part is that gossip is the most common form of adult bullying. Adults, for the most part, aren’t going around physically beating each other up in the office and in bars, rather they use words and rumors as their weapons. This is especially a problem with women. One big reason men advance quicker than women is because men form positive camaraderie. Men are more prone to bonding over ideas, sports, or other non-gossip related topics. Women, sadly, often bond over gossiping about other people.
Too many times in the past I’ve sat at group dinners or brunches while women sat around tearing other women apart. I’ve really had no choice but to remain silent because I refuse (and always have) to participate. Too many times I’ve seen women act friendly to someone’s face then turn around and put them down. It’s a weird phenomenon that I’ve never understood, but my hopes are that I can spread the word that gossip is counterproductive and not okay. Here are a few major reasons to never participate in gossip.
It Makes You Look Insecure & Unattractive
Bottom line: it’s toxic, immature, and makes you look mean and insecure. Gossiping and spreading rumors about other people says more about you than the person you’re gossiping about. What we say about other people is often an indicator of what’s going on with us internally. I’ll tell you one thing for sure: truly happy, fulfilled people don’t feel the need to put others down or gossip. The fact of the matter is, none of us are the ultimate key holders of life and none of us have any right to sit around and judge other people. We’re all just flawed humans trying to figure out our place in the world. No one is perfect.
It’s A Waste of Time
We all have limited time on this planet. Why waste it on negativity? Imagine how much more productive and kind the world would be if we didn’t waste time reading gossip rags and putting people down. Next time you’re tempted to log onto Perez Hilton, go check out MindBodyGreen instead. Next time someone starts gossiping, change the topic to something more positive.
It Hurts All Women
In order for women to advance, women must help other women. There’s no way around it. As the saying goes, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” There is room for all of us here to flourish, find love, and be successful. Someone’s success doesn’t take away from your success or capabilities. Don’t focus on what other people are doing. Focus on yourself and how you can be the very best you.
It Hurts Children
Gossiping and all its forms is a viscous cycle. Eradicating bullying starts with us -the adults. Would you want your child bullied the same way a co-worker or neighbor is bullied? Or how about sitting around gossiping while a child is listening next to you? Children are like sponges, they hear and see more than you realize. Children pick up both positive and negative traits from the adults around them. Preventing all types of bullying starts with adults setting a good example.
Karma is Real
Ever meet those people who attract negativity and drama everywhere they go? Yea, those people have bad karma. We get what we put into this world. If you devote your time to tearing others down, that negativity will return to you in one way or another.
You’ll Learn More + Develop More Valuable Friendships
Time wasted talking about other people and gossiping is time that could’ve been used to learn more and bounce back ideas with friends.
“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
I’m fortunate to have an amazing group of supportive friends. When we get together it’s like dynamite. I learn so much from them and always feel incredibly inspired after spending time with them. We bond over ideas, goals, business, challenges we’ve faced, and general topics that help us grow. Having a supportive circle of positive, genuine friends who have your back is the best way to rid your life of gossip for good. Aim to surround yourself with people who inspire you and make you want to be the very best version of yourself. If you’re around someone who is always talking about other people behind their backs, you can bet they’re doing the same thing to you when you’re not around. Is that really the type of person you want to have in your life?
So, next time someone starts up a judgmental conversation about so-and-so’s life, boyfriend, career, parenting skills or otherwise, change the subject to something that doesn’t involve negativity or putting others down. We can all collectively make the world a better place by making a conscious decision to be kinder -or at the very least, mind our own business.