Gossiping. We’re all guilty of doing it at some point or another. Humans are social beings. We like to feel like we belong. We like sharing information. And there’s nothing quite like the feeling of being privileged enough to know something – to feel like you are part of the “in” crowd. But sharing information can be dangerous – people talk.
I have learned this important lesson time and time again, and the reason I have created this post is to remind me once more before I enter the danger zone myself, and also as a warning to others to think twice before spilling a secret. Hopefully I’m saving someone some drama.
When I was in the fifth grade, I was invited to a sleepover birthday party. This one girl (let’s call her Erica) couldn’t make it. Predictably, after sharing crushes, some of the girls started bad-mouthing Erica. I was quiet, new to having girlfriends and new to the school, so when the girls turned to me expectantly, I didn’t know what to say. One of the girls (let’s call her Libby) began to prompt me. She made statements about Erica and asked me if I agreed. All the girls promised they wouldn’t tell anyone what was said. I agreed with the stuff they said, feeling like part of the group. I felt the rush that comes with doing something you know isn’t quite right. Well, come Monday, I paid for my mistake.
Erica confronted me and said that Libby had told her “what I said about her.” I was shocked and embarrassed. And not only was Erica angry and began avoiding me, but so did the other girls from the sleepover! It was like we had never bonded! (Which, I guess, we didn’t). It was like a scene out of Mean Girls.
Rule #1: When someone invites you to speak negatively about someone else, just don’t do it.
Fast-forward to the eighth grade, and my best friend at the time was a constant gossiper. She talked behind my back all of the time, and would share my and my friend’s secrets for new information. She would tell others that my clothes were ugly or who my friends had crushes on. I kept breaking off the friendship, but she kept begging for more chances, and I continued to walk in on her in the bathroom, in the classroom, wherever to find her talking about me or my friends. Finally I had enough, and broke off the friendship for good. I became the most unpopular kid in the school, but it was worth it – I won back another friend who was bullied, and together we survived the rest of the school year side by side.
Rule #2: Don’t trust a gossip with secrets.
Rule #3: If you have a friend who gossips constantly about you, especially one that disrespects your friends, ask yourself if they are really worth your time and why.
I vowed never to be like my ex-friend, and never talk badly about anyone behind their backs unless I was confiding in a friend I could trust, and needed to vent. I never wanted to be that person that couldn’t keep a secret. I also vowed that I would only tell my own secrets – not other friends’ secrets.
Rule #5: Don’t tell other’s secrets. If you need to tell a secret, tell your own.
This weekend I am going to a sleepover where gossiping will definitely happen. Hopefully I can follow my own rules and stay drama-free. Because whatever I say can and will be repeated to someone. People talk.