Stop Gossip And Start Positive Conversations
Picture this: You’re having lunch with friends, catching up on what’s been going on, when someone reveals a juicy piece of gossip about a friend who isn’t there. Do you lean forward and join in, or do you stay silent and let the conversation happen around you? A little gossip may not feel like a big deal until you find out that you’re the one being gossiped about.
It’s easy for gossip to seep into conversation, but this type of discussion can be a negative influence on your relationships, leading to strife and drama. Deciding to stop gossip is a challenge that you can put into action immediately to bring more happiness into your life and the people that you’re close to.
There are three basic reactions to being confronted with gossip and negative talk: You can join in, you can let it go by without comment, or you can speak out against it. If you passively let it slide, you’re doing nothing to stop the gossip going forward. It’s important to know that you have the power to set a standard among your family and friends, but it requires you to say something.
If you want to stop gossip, understand that, when a friend says something negative about someone, they’re assuming that you will accept it. Stopping it means stepping up and being brave. It may be uncomfortable or awkward, but above all, you want to navigate the conversation with grace.
The Right Conversational Approach
You never know when someone will pass along a rumor, and the right moment to speak out can pass by in an instant before you even realize what has happened. It’s sometimes difficult to quickly know what to say, so it’s best to think about your approach in advance.
One way to combat gossip is to simply defend whomever is being spoken about. Make clear your affection for that person when defending him. You could say, “I care about John, and it makes me uncomfortable for us to talk about him this way.”
You can also try to address the rumor in an objective way: “Neither of us was there, so we don’t know what happened. I’m sure there’s more going on than we know. Let’s not speculate.”
Finally, you can make it clear that you don’t welcome gossip: “I’ve made a resolution to stop gossiping about people. Let’s talk about something else.” This may be the most direct and blunt approach, but it also makes a clear impression on the person that was gossiping and will make sure that they understand not to spread gossip with you in the future.
Once your friends and family see you as someone who doesn’t appreciate gossiping and rumor-spreading, you’ll see a shift in their attitudes and conversations with you, which can hopefully lead them to follow your example.
Image source: Flickr
By: Jessica Woodbury