“He Said, She Said…”
Remember the game of Telephone? You know the one I’m talking about… you probably played it around the fire at summer camp, or perhaps in the back of a school bus on a field trip. It starts out with one person whispering a “secret” in someone’s ear. This “secret” gets passed around the circle until it reaches the final person, who then says it out loud. Everyone subsequently gets a good laugh at how absurdly different the final secret is from the initial one. The game itself is innocent enough, but it’s inspired by something a little more sinister: gossip. It sounds silly, but there really is no knife in the world that could cut you so swiftly to the quick like those vicious words. One little well-placed comment could knock you flat, harder than any punch.
There are few that will admit it, but we love to talk about other people. The reasons are numerous; maybe we want to forget our own troubles, or perhaps for it’s pure entertainment value. Whatever the reason, nearly everyone does it, or at least has done it at some point in their lives, even if it was simply flipping through a tabloid while in line at the grocery store. Gossip is like a particularly like piece of chocolate cake: an immensely enjoyable indulgence, but after the fact leaves you feeling guilty and slightly sick.
Usually, gossip simply breeds mediocrity and gratification. The idea that someone’s life is worse than ours makes us feel ok about our own failures, and we don’t strive for anything better just because it could be worse. This is bad enough, but at its worst, gossip can end careers, destroy reputations, and tear apart lives. For example, my friend Natalie said that she was going on a date with this guy… lets call him Brett. Well Brett told all of his friends that he made out with Natalie that night. He told his friends not to tell anyone, even though his friends did. As the story went from one person to another, the story started to become twisted and...