For the record- I think gossip is mostly bad. I try not to engage in it unless it’s about you. Kidding. But no, I’m not eavesdropping on conversations so that I can dish about it later. If I see a friend’s kid doing something that I know his parents won’t like, I don’t rush to tell everyone else. I try (the optimum word being try) to be as nice to, and about, people as possible.
Can gossip be good?
Example 1- About 8 years ago I was at girls night. I had read an article that day about the number of married women who had affairs with their personal trainers. I went on and on quoting stats, asking what people thought. I asked if an affair with a personal trainer was just sex, or was it a relationship, or was the woman just seeking comfort, etc. One woman was kicking me under the table- but I’m slow to take a hint. After the night, the soccer playing friend texted me- “S is having an affair with her personal trainer.”
Yes, I felt like a moron. (and yes, I have felt like a moron too many times to count) And the women having the affair was mortified.
And I know that telling someone about another persons extramarital affair would indeed be really big gossip. But….if a group of women are out, and wine is involved, and these nights usually revolve around complaining about husbands and kids, and I usually pontificate about things….maybe a head’s up would have been nice. Or maybe I have to be more aware of someone kicking me under the table. Your call- who’s wrong me, or the woman who was being a really good friend by not telling a secret?
Example 2- Last year I was at a holiday celebration with my Husband’s family. I innocently said to his Cousin B, “Where’s K tonight?” (her husband). Her reply- “Oh. We separated about 3 months ago. I thought everyone knew.”
Apparently, not everyone knew.
I went to my Sister in Law- “Did you know that B and K are separated?” “NO WAY” she replied. We found my Husband- asked him the same question, and he didn’t know either. Of course, he hadn’t even realized that K was not at the party, and if pressed, I don’t know if he remembered that B was even married…so…..
Then we cornered my Father in Law.
“Did you know B and K were separated?”
“Yes” he responded
“Why didn’t you tell us?”
“I didn’t want to gossip.” he said.
FYI- My Father in law does a lot of borderline ethical/moral things, so it’s funny to see him draw the line at gossip.
But is that even gossip? Should news like a separation or divorce just be shared grapevine style amongst the relatives? Did his cousin need to inform everyone individually?
I know that the majority of gossip is bad. I know that people can really be hurt by malicious spreading of information. I try to avoid gossip like the plague, both in telling and receiving.
But is there a place for gossip? Or, should I just get over feeling awkward in a situation when I just didn’t know the situation?
What do you think?