"Who gossips with you will gossip of you"--old Irish saying
Oct 15, 2009
When we think about a topic such as "gossip" it just might be useful to take a look at what scripture has to say about it. In Proverbs 18:21 we read that "Death and life are in the power of the tongue." Meanwhile, the book of James reminds us that "no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison." These two quotations make it abundantly clear that "gossip" has been an extremely destructive force since Biblical times. And the power of "gossip" to injure good people and destroy lives has certainly not diminished over the centuries. It is as much a problem today as it was when Christ roamed the earth some 2000 years ago.
Why do we do it? Why do human beings feel so compelled to make derogatory remarks about others? Why do we find it necessary to talk about the faults of others behind their backs? Psychologists tell us that most of us engage in "gossip" because it is a convenient way to prop up our own fledgling self-esteem. Depending on the situation "gossip" is a great way to make us seem more important and appear more knowledgable than the person or persons that we are talking about. Meanwhile, some of us resort to "gossip" as a way to retaliate against someone whom we percieve has done us wrong. A lot of people would argue that a lot of the "gossip" we participate in is really quite harmless. This may seem to be true but cumulatively our need to "gossip" tends to erode important relationships in our lives. "Gossip" seperates friends and can deeply wound people. And if we allow ourselves to engage in "gossip" for mundane matters then sooner or later we are probably going to slip up and hurt someone badly about something much more important.
So how can we resist the urge to "gossip"? It is not easy but here are some suggestions. If you have something to say to someone then have the courage to confront them directly. Secondly, refuse to listen to it. People tend to run their mouths because others will listen. When you hear it do not react. If nobody listens then a whole lot of "gossip" will disappear. You might also consider reading more. Why? I once read somwhere that "folks with great minds talk about ideas, folks with average minds talk about events, and folks with small minds talk about other people." I believe there is an awful lot of truth in that observation. Finally, it might be helpful if we were all a bit more willing to acknowledge our own failures and foibles. We need to lighten up and realize that as human beings we all have weaknesses. "Gossip" is one commodity that this world could use a whole lot less of!
What did you think of this review?
Fun to Read
About the reviewer
Paul Tognetti (drifter51)
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
Gossip is idle talk or rumour, especially about the personal or private affairs of others. It forms one of the oldest and most common means of sharing (unproven) facts and views, but also has a reputation for the introduction of errors and other variations into the information transmitted. The term also carries implications that the news so transmitted (usually) has a personal or trivial nature, as opposed to normal conversation.
In the last decade, gossip has been researched in terms of its evolutionary psychology origins. This has found gossip is an important means by which people can monitor cooperative reputations and so maintain widespread indirect reciprocity Indirect reciprocity is defined here as "I help you and somebody else helps me". Gossip has also been identified by Robin Dunbar an evolutionary biologist as aiding social bonding in large groups.