One of the most common forms of human exchange is that of gossip. Witness the workplace environment where slanderous and often exaggerated news, tidbits, and comments are thrown across the environment like normal conversation. Witness the school environment where certain groups exchange rude comments and thoughts back and forth about other groups, individual students, or faculty. Witness the social networks of adults where talk of the neighbors hedges upon pure rudeness. This is the essence of gossip, and gossip should be avoided, for while it contains the potential to create distrust, moral unrest, upsets, contention, and difficulties within personal relations, it does not contain any positive, beneficial, or useful aspects or facets.
But what does gossip entail, exactly? Gossip is defined as: “Casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true and are usually negative in content”. What benefit does this type of communication have, really? None apparently. However, there are several negative effects of gossip.
Seeking Truth, Morality, and Integrity
Gossip, in and of itself, creates a strong lack of trust. When people gossip about someone, they spread unsubstantiated, unverified, and often completely untrue stories about an individual that often tends to damage how that person is regarded in whatever community that the gossip is occurring in. A person in a community, family, workplace, educational environment, or other type of group is regarded with esteem and respect to the degree that that person can be trusted. If the person cannot be trusted, then he or she is not regarded with much respect, appreciation, or esteem.
When it all comes down to it, trust is the most common denominator as the basic measuring factor of a person’s value and image in society. Gossip may in many ways seem harmless, but it is not. If one is gossiped about, then that individual will be looked at differently regardless of whether or not the actual subject material of the gossip has any truth in it whatsoever or not. Gossip is dangerous, damaging, and unappreciated and it should not be engaged upon should one want to pursue a life of truth, morality, and integrity.