The Gossip: one of the 52 types of difficult people I’ve documented.
Welcome to the 35th blog in the series “52 blogs in 52 weeks with each blog being about one of my 52 types of people who are poorly behaved and at times downright difficult”. This blog is about Type 19: The Gossip.
#19: The Gossip.
We all talk about people behind their back, don’t we?
Before we go any further, let’s remember this: we all talk about people behind their backs. We all talk about people’s personal and private lives when they’re not there.
We all say things like:
“Julie was telling me she thinks Jasmine <her sister> is drinking too much. And from what she tells me, she might be right.”
“Did you hear John at the staff meeting today? Wow. What’s got under his skin I wonder.” and
“Carol seems a bit down. A bit depressed even. I hope she doesn’t have any health problems or whatever. Anyway, I think we need to keep an eye on her.”
So yes we do it. But the question is this: Is it gossiping?
Well, the answer is: Probably not.
So what’s gossiping then?
Telling people things about someone else behind their back. Usually, what’s said would not be said if the person being talked about was present because it’s private and personal. In many cases, what’s said paints the person being talked about in a poor light.
Sometimes, what’s said is fact or at least based on fact. But even so, it’s usually embellished and conclusions drawn which are conjecture. In other cases, what’s said is nothing more than unsubstantiated rumour, half-truths and innuendo.
So we can make a distinction, even if it’s not always a clear one, between what we might call ‘having a pretty ordinary and harmless chat with a friend’, ‘giving someone some information they need to know’ or ‘talking about someone because we genuinely feel they need help’ and what we might call …….. well …… just plain old gossip.
Why does The Gossip gossip?
We can only guess why people gossip. In some cases, the person gossiping probably means no harm. They’re probably, in their eyes at least, just having a chat. But even so, it doesn’t make their behaviour acceptable.
In other cases, they probably do it to put-down the person being talked about down – to make them look bad. And in other cases, it’s probably to build themselves up and make themselves look good – because they know something others don’t.
The Gossip makes a gossiping a lifestyle.
The Gossip doesn’t just gossip once. The Gossip is known for gossiping. They’re known for telling stories about people behind their back. They’re known for telling stories about people’s private and personal lives. And they’re known for spreading unsubstantiated rumour, half-truths and innuendo.
In a nutshell, they’re known for telling stories about people which are simply none of their business.
And that’s the difference between us and The Gossip. We might talk about someone behind their back but it’s not gossip. However, it doesn’t mean that when we share our observations and thoughts about other people when they’re not there, okay.
I think the thing to remember is this: There can sometimes be a fine line between what’s gossip and what’s not. And sometimes, before we open our mouth we need to have a quick think about what we’re going to say and for what reason we’re going to say it. And when in doubt, err on the side of caution and say nothing.
Anyway, let’s leave it there.
If you’d like to have a chat about how to handle The Gossip or any other type of difficult person, please go to the contact page of my website. There’s a few different ways to get in contact with me – take your pick. But before you go, here’s a quick video. Enjoy.
The soundtrack/audio of the video.
For those who’d like to just have the soundtrack of the video, here it is.
Okay, that’s it. Until next time, all the very best.