Is Gossip Just Fake News?
“I’m not a refrigerator. I don’t hold anything.”-my sister’s favorite saying.
If life gave out good grades for spreading gossip then I would pass with flying colors. It’s a dirty little secret that I am ashamed to admit that I struggle with sometimes. There’s no rehab for gossipers. No magic pill to swallow that prevents my tongue from wagging, spilling intimate secrets.
Have you ever in the position of knowing juicy information and debated about whether to share this titillating tale to someone else? I love to be the first to know anything. I love to be the first to share that knowledge.
No one likes a gossip. In fact, people steer clear of those who talk too much because they can not be trusted.
Proverbs 20:19 “A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much.”
Is it gossip if it is true? Yes. If it is information that can bring shame or embarrassment to someone else then you should not repeat it. Especially if you were told in confidence.
Why do we enjoy gossiping so much?
The same reason we watch soap operas and dramatic movies. We are addicted to drama.
Gossiping used to be frowned upon. Now, we have celebrity gossip. TMZ, Radar Online, Perez Hilton, and PageSix have helped to turn Celebrity gossip into big business.
Putting the word celebrity in front of gossip doesn’t make it any less harmful. Celebrities are human beings too. Gossip ruins their relationships and families as well. The information is just spread on a larger scale and the gossip mongers don’t feel a connection to celebrities because they are strangers. Celebrities are easy targets. It doesn’t make it right.
Is gossip a form of bullying?
Yes, especially if you are sharing information that you do not know if it is true or not. Just by sharing a rumor causes damage because you are planting seeds of doubt. No matter what the truth is people will always believe that something is amiss. The old saying “where there is smoke there is fire” comes to mind.
I’m a member of some large Medium Facebook writing groups. I have seen when members post a simple comment and it is used to spread rumors and gossip as facts and becomes defamatory and slanderous.
When we see good people hurt by malicious rumors then reality sets in and it is not all fun and games anymore.
It is fun to watch Perez Hilton or Wendy Williams dish on the lives of celebrities but is it right? Even if we view it as just entertainment it can still cause harm.
So, how do I battle the gossip bug?
1. Plug My Ears
If someone is about to spill the beans on something juicy and I know I may not be able to keep their confidence then I let them know. Any other words, don’t tell me anything.
2. Rumor Control
I absolutely will refuse to repeat anything that may be fake news. If I do not know for certain that something is true then I will not repeat it.
3. Switch Places
I think about how I would feel if someone betrayed my trust. I practice the golden rule of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. This thought always muzzles my mouth if I am tempted to engage in gossip.
Ephesian 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Before you engage in exchanging information that may cause harm, think twice. Is it necessary? Sometimes silence is golden.