Before declaring you are no gossiper, think about how many times you groused or spoke ill about your parents to your friends, about your colleagues to other colleagues, about your neighbours to your family, about your peers or even about the salesman at the street-end shop. And how many times your ears pricked when you overheard snatches of private conversations about others. And how many times you garnished a rumour to make it a tad bit spicier. We all carry the instinct to gossip. The difference only lies on how many times we give in to it!
Gossip is a repeated and ritualistic abuse of knowledge and of our own personalities. Gossip turns us from polite conversation makers into rumour-thirsty vampires scandalizing private lives for personal satisfaction. Like any addiction, we only gossip because we do not want to be reminded of our insecurities, failures and voids within. By engaging in gossip we not only divert our minds from introspection, we also create such falsehoods that will make us feel better and safe. There are different functions for gossip in our stress-driven lives.
Gossip as a defence mechanism: It feels good to ‘prove’ another human is much inferior to us. That feeling creates a temporary and partial amnesia for our own shortcomings and insecurities. Instead of dealing with our own ugliness we create even uglier pictures of others around so we can feel better.
Gossip as an emotional vent: The persons we gossip about quickly become our vents. Whenever we are upset about anything, we find ourselves engaging vehement and slanderous gossip smearing somebody’s image with shit in our lives.
Gossip for conversation: Talk ill of a commonly disliked person so we can bond closer to fellow gossipers. Any bond built on gossip is likely to sever because of gossip.
Gossip as an addiction: Count how many times a week you engage yourself in ‘discussing’ affairs of a third person. You may feel you have control over what you speak and how much you speak. But strangely you never feel motivated to stop speaking. That’s an addiction.
Gossip as an addiction is a ‘sweet’ cover for our failures and the ugliness we carry within. By gossiping we are only screaming to the world what big failures are we! It’s side effects include turning unscrupulous enough to deliberately deface or create news to make it scandalous, ready to eavesdrop on private conversations for gossip material, damaging our own personalities to the point we are lost continually in seek of the ‘thrill’ of spreading gossip; and like any addiction it leaves behind an ugly aftertaste in our psyche. Finally we can reach a point where nobody, not even our families and friends, can trust us.
Photo Courtesy: David Castillo Domini @ freedigitalphotos.net