Sometime that has been weighing on my heart recently is gossip. I just seriously hate gossip, but I do it, and I wish I didn't, and I always have guilt but then I also feel like sometimes I just gotta get things off my chest, and I hope you can relate and don't think I'm horrible. I read somewhere once that we can so easily admit the addictions that we have in terms of food or alcohol or whatever it might be AFTER the fact knowing that these are huge "allowed" sins, but if we lie or steal or gossip then it's almost as if we are scared to say we struggle in those areas because it's like "ew you do that?"
Welp, hopefully I'm not the only one that gossips time to time or I guess I'm incriminating myself here up on my blog! haha!
One person that I used to gossip to all the time because it was safe is Tanner. Tanner is an interesting dude and for anyone that knows him personally, he is like mr trivia man and knows random facts about a lot of different things, and will bring up random little tidbits in conversation and people are like "we were just trying to chit chat and now we are talking about the science of this insect." I actually used to be embarrassed by this when we first met people (hahahaha) but I told him the other day that I've grown to love it because I've realized it's actually just that Tanner doesn't gossip and he talks about more interesting things, but MOST of the time in typical conversation people aren't interested in those topics.
When I realized this and we started shifting our conversations towards more "intellectual topics" if you will, I just love it. We have always bonded over documentaries, but now we are bonding over podcasts while we are in the car instead of music we could never agree on because we can both learn something interesting from podcasts. We are really enjoying "The Knowledge Project" by Shane Parris, and are listening to the audiobook "A Short history of nearly everything" or NPR.
As we continue to learn and fill our minds with this type of information, I feel myself pulling further and further away from gossip and my mind just doesn't even go there when talking with him, but then of course I have my close girlfriends and half the planet will annoy me one day and I find myself knee deep and taking a deep sigh of relief thinking "Man that felt good." Isn't that awful that it feels good to say it sometimes? I wish I didn't feel that way but I do, and sometimes if I text a girlfriend or my mom about someone and they play devils advocate, I instantly feel like the biggest idiot and get so ashamed inside like I'm the biggest jerk. I actually try to never play devils advocate if a friend texts me because I truly do think that sometimes we just need to get it off our chest to someone we trust and then it's done. I don't think we should always have to bottle it up inside, but then sometimes we have to recognize things as habits and make conscious efforts towards stopping those behaviors.
I'm writing this blog because I feel it's something we all do from time to time, not because I'm some heavy gossiper but that I just feel that it's always good to check yourself and improve in these areas.
First, gossip is totally false connections for friendships. When we allow ourselves to think about it, that's what we do when we are chit chatting with our girlfriends. We think that we are connecting with them when we agree on the hateraid of someone else. But it's not real connection because we aren't connecting on a true level but rather a false pretense.
The history of gossip is where this thought process all began because I was reading in the book "Sapiens" and it was discussing how humans were able to survive by the act of gossiping. Gossiping in literature and science was seen as a "survival of the fittest" type tactic in that the other homo sapiens had to let the other ones know which people were dangerous, and the only way to do this was through language. This book also discusses how institutes and businesses are able to self regulate and self govern as long as there aren't more than 150 people in the business due to "gossip" in a sense because there is this checks and balances type system among everyone keeping the others accountable.
If the group gets larger than this however, this is where it becomes reasonable to need CEO's and presidents to be able to manage the group because the gossip culture becomes too much. Obviously, we don't want a gossip culture anywhere, but unfortunately this is one way that since the beginning of time, humans have communicated. This has been proven in clinical trials that "group rules" are set because of a gossip culture and also avoid situations or people that are "harmful" due to others letting them know about the social deviants. Ha.
Gossip is also known to be mostly false information that is just to ostracize someone and help to form human false connections, and this article above is stating that the group structure within an established business can be beneficial in keeping the checks and balances of this, so that the information that is passed along about the individuals is true.
This is all so interesting to me. They have found that behavior that deviates from social norms, when gossiped about, builds social bonds. This references what I talked about above which is the bond between people with gossiping.
There are also those people that are able to take in the information about someone in a business type format, formulate their opinions, but also not think of them in a negative light as a human. This is something that I think just is independent to the character of the individual. And I want to not use science to explain why I am "okay to gossip" but rather having character enough that even in a situation of work or personal gossip, I can separate and know not to look at these people in a negative light.
In the book, The Four Agreements, one of the agreements is to never make assumptions about others. This just leads to more heartache on your end due to the gossip that we do because of assumptions that we make in a certain setting. For example, you might get a text from a significant other that says "Hey! Can we chat after work today at the coffee shop?" and immediately we think OMG OMG THEY ARE BREAKING UP WITH ME! But that is an assumption and causes you unneeded stress throughout the entire day due to the assumption that you made, and then you get to the coffee shop and they say "I'd love for us to discuss moving forward with our relationship whether that means moving in together, etc etc." There are so many different variants of this particular thing, but the truth is that we gossip all the time based on the assumptions that we make about others and what they were thinking, what they meant, and how we unrighteously accuse them of what they intended in their text message to us.
Gossip is also just a habit. It's something that our parents did, their parents did, and so on and so on and it's up to the individual person to break this habit. You might have come from a family that didn't gossip as much which is a beautiful thing, and you should be thankful that this is not the things that they talk about or the way that they communicate because just like anything that is engrained in us from a very young age, it's a very hard habit to break and it's something that as the studies support, feels good. Oxytocin is actually increased in patients drastically when they participate in gossip. We are basically getting a high off of it.
So, as one of my mini habits to break during the month of October, I'm adding reducing the amount of gossip and talking about more intellectual topics or just more interesting topics than other humans and the things that I'm assuming that they said, or meant, or the way that I feel they are deviating from social norms, because at the end of the day, we are all different and deviate from social norms in one way or the other.
I personally know that I've deviated from social norms in many ways, and I think if we sit back and think maybe instead about the gossip that has probably been had about us then it's a wake up call. I know there have been two times in my life that I've heard other people gossiping about me, or they accidentally sent me a text they meant to send to their husband with gossip about me (yep, that happened and we are still great friends hahahaha). Both of those times, it wrecked me. I mean, I was so distraught, and then when I sat back and thought I asked myself "well have I ever gossiped about her to Tanner?" and the answer was "YEP I SURE HAVE!" We had frustrated each other and in that moment of that accident, we were able to discuss it and work through the issue so I guess it was a blessing in disguise.
If you can dish it out, then you need to accept that it can happen about you too and I think it's a more useful tactic to sit back and self assess about the character flaws that you can work on such as NOT gossiping rather than to gossip about what others are doing. Let me be the first to say that I suck at this at times, and formulate social bonds with girls through gossiping about others, but I have started recognizing it more and more and when we become more aware, we are able to break through those habits and stop them.
With that, hopefully we can all work together to make this a goal! YAY for the weekend!