A proper lady should never mishandle information that has been told to her in confidence.
Everyone loves a good dish of gossip. It’s in our blood to do it. However, like any uncontrollable-controllable pastime, gossip is damaging, destructive and outright wrong. After all, how are we in charge of other people’s lives? Who has made us more outstanding than another? Is it our money? Our looks? Our ability to be manipulative? Gossip is like Monet-size piece of a two-bit-accessory: It looks good from afar – but upon further examination you realize how cheaply its fake jewels have been strung together.
If a friend leans on your shoulder in confidence and you betray their trust, I wonder what kind of friend you’re looking to be. Personally, I can’t call a friend a friend if they make assumptions about outcomes without looking up the facts. It’s one thing to express concern to another – and work together to ensure the object of the concern is dealt with appropriately. It’s an entirely separate ball of wax to pass along the trusted secrets of another for one’s own amusement and delight.
I’ve been on both sides of the gossip coin and never felt good about either of them: Sociologists have called gossip a “social weapon,” a harmful tool that some will use against others.(4) With nicknames like “gossip hounds” being given to those who gossip, it is no wonder that gossip and its effects carry a strong negative influence. Gossip is talk for the sake of talking – and when you talk negatively about another it usually indicates that you don’t have much to say at all. Keeping your mouth shut opens you up to a better and bigger world of possibilities – especially in relationships with others. I’ve learned so much more about my friends by simply making the choice to listen and not repeat what was told. My mother (a Lady in her own right) taught me a valuable lesson: Small people talk about other people – big people talk about ideas.
Resist the urge to spill the beans and you shall bake a tastier casserole.