Breaking The Gossip Habit, Part One
Let’s define Gossip as “Any type of harmful or hurtful communication that is not absolutely necessary to share.”
Of course, there are those rare instances where negative information is necessary to communicate but that would not be gossip. And, even that comes with very strict rules and guidelines. (We’ll discuss that in a future article.)
Gossip, as defined above, ruins lives, destroys reputations, splits families, alienates friends and co-workers, and generally infects any type of organization where it is introduced.
With the above definition in mind, it can legitimately be said that there is nothing positive about gossip
Gossip hurts everyone. Everyone!
So, how to we break our own habit of gossiping, as well as discourage others from doing so in a kind, tactful way. The following five steps will help.
#1 Be Aware:
Like any habit, problem, or sickness, we must first be aware we have it before we can make a decision to rid it from our lives. I was, for many years, very much a gossip. I unintentionally hurt a lot of people; most of all, myself (though I feel worse about the others since I deserved the hurt).
One day about 15 years ago, while reading a book that had a section on that topic, it suddenly hit me “right between the eyes” that what I was reading about was me. While this discovery was very upsetting, it was the epiphany I needed and turned out to be the beginning of a huge change in my life, and level of happiness.
#2 Make a Decision
Yes, at that point, I made a conscious decision to end that very destructive habit, no matter what it took. If this is you, you can do the same. Decide right now that, despite the fact that it’s become a comfortable and familiar part of your life, you are going to stop it, right now!
If you feel that it’s impossible to go “cold turkey” then take it step-by-step. Decide to speak 10 percent less gossip per day for the next week, then another 10 percent, then another, and so on. Or, don’t gossip about certain things that you usually do. Begin by cutting out altogether, or cutting down significantly, all gossip around the office. Then, about friends or family.
We’ll pick this back up in the next article. Meanwhile, is this something you can relate to? Do you know of someone else it relates to? If so, don’t share it. That would be gossip. Hopefully, however, the information we’re covering will help you to be able to eventually help them.