Every single one of us has been hurt by people talking about us. But if we were honest, we’d also have to admit that we’ve all said things we shouldn’t, often about people who weren’t there to defend themselves.
The first step to vanquishing gossip is to keep our mouths shut. Our mothers were right: If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
But what should we do when a gossip tries to engage us in conversation about someone else? It takes two to gossip: one to speak, and another to listen. There are things we shouldn’t say, but there are also things we shouldn’t listen to.
What if someone tried to gossip, but no one would participate?
When someone tries to engage you in gossip, try active non-participation. Say, “Excuse me; Bill’s my friend, and that’s not something I want to hear. You shouldn’t talk to anyone else about this either, but if it’s something you feel strongly about, talk to Bill – just between the two of you.” Of course, there’s always the ever popular option of responding with Plan B: “Hey, when I talk to Bill later today I’ll be telling him everything you said” .
I’d be really surprised if you need to have that conversation with someone more than once. Of course it won’t stop them from talking about you.
TODAY’S MEDITATIONAsk God to help you develop and implement a strategery to confront gossip.