This Week’s Question - "I am trying really hard not to gossip, what do you do in a situation where the people you are with want to gossip?"
The answer is, like so many things is, it depends. If you can get away from that group of people, that is the easiest. However, if you are in a car you can’t just walk out at the traffic lights. I usually change the subject into something that is more interesting. People will only talk about things that they find interesting and if you don’t find gossiping or talking about other people interesting then change the subject. A quote that this question reminds me of is:
“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people”. - Eleanor Roosevelt
You find that if you’re hanging out a lot with people who talk about other people, they’re not great minds, and I don’t know that you want to surround yourself with those types of people on a regular basis. If you want to be great in your own life please surround yourself with people who don’t need to discuss other people. But as I said, you can’t just get out of the car at the traffic lights and let them drive off. Or maybe you can do that! I’ve done that now that I think about it!
Anyway, it’s best just to change the topic, just say “I don’t really feel like gossiping. How about we talk about something that’s really empowering ourselves” and so on. Of course the first time you say this it’s going to be really scary and you’re going to be like “I don’t know if I can say that.” But the more you say that kind of thing, the easier it gets. I can just be in a conversation with somebody and if they start talking about somebody else then I can just say “Look it’s not really in my values to talk about other people, but I am happy to discuss ideas or things that we might have about improving x, y, or z. Or you know sharing ideas about how to get past things” and so on. So definitely be aware of people who gossip about other people. Personally, if I have some kind of a problem that I need to air, I have a few really close friends that I say directly how I am feeling, but they know to not take it as gossip, they know to take it as a venting, and once it’s said I don’t keep talking about it. It’s really important that if you have a problem with somebody, that you go directly to that somebody, rather than talk to someone else about it.
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