And She Told Two Friends …

At the risk of sounding like a total dork (believe me, I know it wouldn’t be the first time), Eleanor Roosevelt is one of my heroes. If I were planning a dinner party of famous people I admire, living or dead, she would be sitting right next to my father or possibly Jimi Hendrix. I am quite certain Mrs. Roosevelt would provide some interesting table talk, and I’m guessing she wouldn’t miss a beat when my dad told an off-color joke. I think they would also be able to relate when it comes to Mrs. Roosevelt’s famous quote: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” My dad didn’t have much use for gossips or busybodies either.

My two heroes (sorry, Jimi) came to mind recently when my husband told me some unfortunate news about an acquaintance of ours. I have no plans to repeat it because it’s not my story to tell. Frankly, knowing it makes me feel sad and a little dirty.

I’ve also learned firsthand that gossiping has a tendency to come back to bite you in the butt. I truly believe that if you spread the word about someone else’s misfortune and take even the remotest pleasure in his or her pain, you had better watch your back afterward. It’s called karma, and it’s a bitch.

My own admittedly lame justification for occasional gossip is that I only talk about mean people who do crappy things because they deserve it. I’m not sure what gives me the right to determine their fate, but that is how I rationalize my bad behavior. In my defense, I don’t shout anyone’s story from the rooftop. It typically goes no further than my husband’s ears because it doesn’t occur to me to tell anyone else.

Mrs. Roosevelt would be happy to know that, unlike me, her potential dinner companion (my dad, not Jimi) never spoke ill of anyone, even the people he disliked. I assume he figured their unpleasantness spoke for itself. Plus, he always had great stories and ideas to share, so there wasn’t much room in the conversation for idle chatter about others.

When it comes right down to it, gossip stems from boredom. And, honestly, if you can find enough time to be bored in the juggling act of work, marriage and parenting, I’d like to know your secret. I promise not to tell.

7 thoughts on “And She Told Two Friends …

  1. Haha! Try BDD. I’m sure he would be happy to fill you in. And they say men don’t gossip… (Thanks for reading, Mama K! I really appreciate your support…and funny comments.)

  2. Definitely something I’m still working on. Teachers always want to gossip about what other teachers do and don’t do in their classes. It’s always petty stuff. I do pride myself on being someone who can keep a secret for a friend. Tell me not tell anyone, and it’s locked in the vault.

  3. It’s so hard not to get sucked into it. One thing I love about working from home is that I don’t have to deal with office gossip. I never have a clue what’s going on with anyone and I like it that way.

  4. I was talking with a colleague who said gossip = negative bonding. It really resonated. We all want to feel connected and at times resort to bad behavior to make it happen.

  5. Heather, that is so true! I’ve found that when I do get sucked into gossip, it’s because the other person and I have nothing in common. We try to find something to talk about and end up talking about others. I try to keep my mouth shut and change the subject, but I won’t say I’ve never done it. Who hasn’t?

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