I just finished a conversation with someone in my office building. It started out as a friendly chat, then he divulged two pieces of gossip about other people in the building. i have to admit, the information surprised me — someone has a drinking problem; another person gambles too much. Juicy tidbits on a Tuesday morning.
Because Kathi and I are doing a teleconference on gossip next week, I was aware of my part in the exchange. I listened. I showed surprise. I tried to cut the conversation short, but not until I realized what was happening.
Yes, gossip is alluring. Two people who I see all the time suddenly became more intriguing to me. I also wanted to tell others what I’d learned. “Did you know…?” I would be the one with the inside information.
Gossip is hard to resist because it’s entertaining and can serves as a source of connection. Yet, it’s also harmful to the people we gossip about. I won’t look at “the drinker” and “the gambler” in the same light again. And I cannot be 100% sure that what I learned is true.
So, while I heard the gossip, I choose not to spread it. And I now know firsthand how hard it is to resist.