Letters to the Editor

Can't control where gossip goes

Is gossip all bad all of the time? It sure can seem like it if you become the subject of gossip. Gossip is a form of entertainment. It sells. Gossiping about people we know: neighbors, friends, acquaintances is even more common and, yes, still really is a form of entertainment.

It serves no good purpose. It also has a lot of ways to hurt people that are totally unnecessary. And once you pass on gossip, you have no control over where it goes, how it changes or who it might hurt.

People are full of empty self-justification and false rationalizations when it comes to gossiping.

People who are vindictive tend to use gossip that way. Small towns seem to have the most gossip or the most to gossip about but it isn’t really true. The gossip may travel faster around the town but gossip anywhere can be sent around the world in seconds these days. It just may be a little harder for the subject of gossip to hide in a small town.

The answer to the question that I posed in the beginning of this letter is no. Gossip is not bad all the time. And yes, gossip, can be seen as information or news that is important to know and for friends and family to share. Trouble of any kind, mental or physical illness, loss or an injustice of some kind, are all good reasons to contact and offer support to a friend, neighbor or family member.

Offering support to someone who is in serious trouble, who may have made a serious mistake is the right thing to do. Showing compassion and understanding is not condoning or dismissing the mistake. It is recognizing the humanity of the person involved and maybe even treating them how you would want to be treated in similar circumstances.

Where gossip is concerned we need only remember two things: If we were not there, we really cannot say we know what happened. No matter who has shared the gossip with us. And we must never pass on gossip because of this unless we are absolutely certain some good will come of it. That sharing the news will not harm anyone. Not easy .But important.

We have all done our share of gossiping and most of us at some point in our lives have been the subject of gossip. We all know how that feels. What I remember about those experiences over time, as the pain of it subsides, is the kindness and compassion of just a few friends and family members. It doesn’t take many, just a few can make all the difference. I try to remember that whenever I hear a friend is in some kind of trouble or is the subject of gossip. As luck would have it, though, it is rarely, if ever, the person who made the difference for me; who helped me. It is always someone else it seems. But I try to do it all the same.