Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Cautionary Tale About Gossip

"Don't over-feed the monster and then be mad that it got fat."

A few years ago, I became friends with someone that, upon first meeting seemed super cool. We hung out a lot! It was so nice to have someone in the area with similar ideas of what was fun, and we were out and about almost every weekend I was free.

This person also had a tendency to give lots of back story on the people in their life. I mean intimate, private details that were probably told to them in confidence; they told these stories with no disclaimers or trepidations. Just, "Oh, so-and-so? Yeah she went to jail for shoplifting and declared bankruptcy last year and her man beats her." This isn't an actual story, but just an example of the type of personal information they eagerly shared with me and anyone else who would listen.

Reprehensible, right? Well let me tell you what was worse: I sat there and devoured every morsel of gossip this person handed me. I'm nosy by nature so it was like Christmas every time my friend divulged another tasty bit of information on the new people that were crossing my path. We continued on like that for a solid six months until the inevitable happened.

The gossip turned on me.

I suspected that this friend was spilling MY business in the streets, and then had my suspicions confirmed a few months after I had already distanced myself from them. And you'd think I would have been cautious with the information I allowed this person to know, seeing as they had loose lips, but no. I seemed to have diarrhea of the mouth. So I can only imagine and assume that everything I ever shared with them was repeated many times to many people. This level of betrayal was devastating to me and led me down a path of self-doubt, hurt and all manner of bad feelings (this happened during a particularly bad storm in my life).

But looking back on it, I got exactly what I deserved. I sat there and feasted on gossip about other poor souls who thought this person was a true confidant, without a care in the world for how they would feel. I never said, "Hey, maybe you shouldn't be telling me this." Or "I don't want to know all this about XYZ" or redirected the conversation.

It was a very hard lesson to learn but I'm glad I learned it. I hope you all never have to feel what I felt, but also take a minute to see if maybe you're creating the kind of environment in your relationships that co-signs this type of shadiness. And then make every effort to change before you get burned, too.

*smooches...passing on crucial info to help you do better*
before you decide to gossip, stop and think "would I want someone talking about me this way?" it always helps me make better decisions!