I attended a training day recently, and for obvious reasons can’t go into any specifics, so please excuse the generalised info as I write about a particular part that impacted me.
One of the areas covered in this training, was of course company policies and procedures and what was ‘appropriate’ behaviour and speech to, and among colleagues and clients.
The woman presenting this area of the training went on to discuss how gossip in all forms among staff was unacceptable. However, she said, we know everyone does it, so just be very careful who you gossip to. Make sure they won’t dob you in and perhaps wait until you get home and then make a phone call to your colleague about the person you wish to speak about. That way you ensure that no one can eavesdrop.
The presenter further went on to say that, if you must pass on information at work or comment on someone’s new hairstyle, clothing, tattoos, or the huge mistake they’ve just made, make sure you look around first, just to ensure no one is listening.
It all seemed so clandestine, cloak and dagger, face behind a newspaper ‘Get Smart’ style sneakery! (I think I just made that word up…).
How does one figure out who a ‘trustworthy’ gossip partner is?
Do I share some small ‘harmless’ information, not about me of course, that’s just too risky, and see how it’s received, if it spreads?
What an awful amount of hard work!
I have far too much to remember and forget about my own life, without trying to figure out who I’ve told what to and who can be trusted with this juicy snippet, but not with that one…..HEAD SPIN!
Here’s a novel idea: Why not keep our mouths shut in the first place?
The presenter is right, we have all done it at some point, intentionally or otherwise. But hopefully it’s not a regular thing and I pray for me personally, it is becoming so rare it will soon be non-existent.
I have a very eclectic and dispersed group of amazing friends. They all come from various walks of life, and some lead super colourful lives full of blush-worthy stories and experiences. Others live a quiet life and still others seem to be living saints….interestingly, some of the saints are also the blush-inducers.
My hope is that if all of my friends, from all their various walks of life were to meet in one room and describe me using words that only depict my character, not my physical appearance, that there would be congruence among what they come up with. That all my friends, with all their perceptions of me, would describe the same person. Their words would create a collaged portrait of my character, hopefully one that aptly represents a woman who loves genuinely, listens without judgement, exudes compassion, and refuses to bend on the truths and convictions of her spirit.
This is my prayer. This is my hope.
And though I may not be there yet, I pray that I’m getting ever closer.
Every single one of us, carries within ourselves a treasure that was placed there by our creator. We were made in His image, in His likeness. There is something inside all of us that points to Him.
If we’re too busy chatting about one another’s flaws, we will never see that treasure. We will obscure it with our own ‘opinion smog’.
The person we are gossiping about may not even be aware their unique treasure exists. Maybe it’s your job to discover it, to place a big ‘X marks the spot’, right on top of it. Highlight and keep on highlighting it so that the treasure becomes all you see, and hopefully all they see.
Then watch the transformation… If not in them, certainly in you.
I gotta be honest, some people’s treasure is buried deep…real deep…inner-earth’s-crust-deep.
For these folk, you might have to literally bite your tongue, grab a muzzle for yourself, lock yourself in a soundproof solitude cupboard, whatever it takes to shut up. But if the treasure is too deep to draw out, can we at the very least, not keep pointing out their trash?
It may very well be the only thing they’ve ever had highlighted to or about them.
Yes, there is a difference between gossip and genuinely needing to ‘vent’ or seek counsel.
What I’ve addressed is only the gossip! So please don’t flood my inbox with a tidal wave of explanations on the importance and need to talk things out. I think by now, we all know the difference, it’s about your heart attitude. Mine too.