As much as we hate to admit it, we have all participated in gossip at some point in our lives. Whether the information we were spreading was based on truth or just pure speculation never really mattered, because there is a strange thrill in sharing some information between you and a few of your friends. There are those who say the act of gossiping is and has always been a part of our social lives, used to learn what is and is not acceptable. Some have described it as harmless banter, but it is actually an opportunity to say hurtful things about a person, with no regard for the consequences, including the person’s wellbeing.
If we really want to stay informed, or have a better understanding of social niceties, as has been suggested, there are so many productive and non-threatening ways to do so. Instead of talking about someone, try to talk to the person. Get to know him or her better. We, as humans, are social creatures and by doing this, we use the same amount of energy and can make a new friend in the process. You might even be able to learn a few things from the other person, as that person can from you too. At the end of the day, we should constantly try to lift others up and encourage them, rather than drag them down, and once we are willing to lift and encourage, it is easier to be lifted and encouraged in turn.
Once you make the decision to no longer be a part of the toxic lifestyle that comes with gossip, feel free to distance yourselves from those who choose not to follow that principle. The Bible states “as for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him.” Titus 3:10.
Creating some distance does not mean you have to cut those people out of your life, completely and immediately. At first, you should encourage the people around you to consider the consequences of their actions. Try to inform them and give them some of your tips on stopping this type of behavior. Your role is never to be judgmental, but to be helpful. If they persist, however, do not be afraid to now maintain distance from them, surrounding yourself with people who believe as you do.
The next time you are told a piece of gossip, no matter how interesting it may seem, be that wise person and walk away. Let it die at your ears. Always remember that your children are watching you and listening. Be a good role model for them.