Sunday, January 11, 2009


Gossip is the worst kind of crime. It hurts, creates misconceptions, turns you against people, causes all kinds of damage. You hear it everywhere and you're usually left with the decision, do I believe what I just heard or reserve judgement? And if you repeat it you're not only as bad as the person you heard it from but you're spreading it, causing more damage to the individual. And you know gossip can spread like wild fire.

The gossip trail has a way of turning the most innocent of circumstances into a full blown, "Ohmygod I can't believe that!" Ever notice that? I heard Susie went to the movies with John somehow ends up, I heard Susie and John are sleeping together! Really, who cares if Susie and John are sleeping together, it's their lives.

I believe that there's three sides to every story. Yours, theirs, and the truth. I also believe that unless I get it straight from the horses mouth, I reserve judgement at what I hear from someone else.

Years ago I rented a house to a friend. Big mistake! NEVER rent to a friend. It turned into a mess when it came time for her to leave and for me to return her deposit. When she and her family first moved in it was a rent to own situation and they took very good care of the house. Later, when they realized they couldn't buy the house things changed. By the time they moved out the oven door was off the hinges, the brand new tile I'd put down right before they moved in was destroyed where they dragged their dining room chairs over it and the pool was a green breeding ground full of tad poles. Needless to say I didn't feel they deserved their deposit back because I had to repair those things.

What compounded the mistake of renting to a friend was that we also worked together. Another BIG mistake! She hounded me at work about the deposit. Told stories to anyone who would listen. I kept my mouth shut because it was no ones business and I didn't feel like I had to defend myself. That would only make me look guilty of the things she was spreading if I was on the defensive. I figured, let the people who know me draw their own conclusions. No one asked me my side of the story.

We had a mutual friend. And I was so worried this person would believe the other party and think the worst of me. I really liked this person but still, I kept my mouth shut. Eventually things died down, the ex-friend I'd rented the house to moved on to another job. Our mutual friend and I still worked together and finally one day I couldn't hold back anymore. I knew she'd heard the unfavorable stories about me. So I asked her.

Yes, she knew all about it. But she made me feel so good by saying, but I know her and I know you and I know you'd never do anything like that unless you had a good reason. I was so relieved! I valued our friendship and was worried our mutual friend would put me in a bad light in her eyes, and possibly ruin our friendship. But she didn't let the gossip come between us.

We're still good friends today, even though she's moved out of state. We email and send each other Christmas and birthday gifts. She's my biggest fan!

I guess the moral of my story is, reserve judgement unless you get it straight from the person's mouth because gossip is hurtful and dangerous and can change drastically as it spreads.


margaret blake said...

So true and something to think about next time I listen to gossip!
But where would we writer's be without it? Only joking!Gossip can be so destructive.

Kathleen said...

great thought-provoking blog!