Words Hurt. Stop Spreading Gossip and Rumors.
We all hear gossip on a regular basis, and for the most part, it is harmless and we ignore it. But what happens when gossip escalates in derogatory speech about another person, or even worse, escalates into the spreading of malicious lies about another person that has the effect of murdering the good name of that person? These damaging words spoken in the shadows can have a terrible affect on the victim. I’m sure many of you have read recent stories in the newspaper of situations where negative speech about a person (whether true or not) resulted in suicide by the victim of the negative speech.
I cannot tell anyone reading this how to live, but I can abide by my own commitment to try to minimize the pain caused by gossip, rumors and outright lies. So here goes:
1) Even if the information is truthful, it is simply wrong to spread negative information about another person unless the person you are speaking to has a need to know the information. If you would be hurt by the same information being said about you, you should not repeat it.
2) You should distance yourself from anybody, including friends or family, who spread gossip or malicious rumors. If you are up to the challenge, let them know why. You may just be able to change their ways.
3) If the negative speech is severe, rebuke the speaker and end the conversation.
4) Notify the target of the negative speech and discuss it with him/her, rather than spreading it and further destroying his/her name. Often rumors and outright lies can be easily refuted by the victim. Gossip maintains its strength only by being whispered in the shadows.
5) Question the integrity, motives and intentions of those spreading negative or hateful words. They likely have a hidden agenda.
6) Do not assume that silence by the victim means that the allegations are true. It is wrong to make the victim have to prove him or herself innocent.
Spreading of gossip, rumors and malicious lies about another person is simply wrong and it is the responsibility of each of us to do our part to stop it, including teaching our children about the damage words can have on others.