Other person: Okayyyyyy.
Me: So, you know how you told me about __________? Well last weekend I kind of told some other people, even though I shouldn’t have. I know that I shouldn’t have, and I don’t really know why I did, but I did. It has been bugging me all week, so I had to call you and clean it up. I am sorry.
Other person: You do know that I have only told 2 people, and you were one of them.
Me: Yes, I completely broke your trust and confidence. I know that. I am sorry.
I completely screwed up.
Someone trusted me, and I blew it. I told a secret that wasn’t mine to tell.
You know the worst part? I didn’t even realize it. My husband had to point it out to me the next day.
I was essentially hanging out on the corner, spreading the local gossip.
And, that is what it was--gossip.
I hate gossip, but there I was, a primary contributor.
After realizing what I did I looked up the definition of gossip and this is what it says, “casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details which are not confirmed as true.”
Yep, that’s what I was doing. Casually conversing without constraint and reporting on the behavior of other people.
I was sharing someone else’s story without their knowledge, or approval.
I was also behaving completely out of my value system. I was behaving with absolutely no integrity.
That is what sucks about gossip. It lacks integrity.
So why do we gossip? 5 Simple reasons:
- To belong and connect with others
- To feel better about yourself
- To exert revenge (because you are hurt or jealous)
- To get attention
- To alleviate boredom
If I were to pinpoint my reason it would have to be the first one--to belong and connect with others.
With that being said, though, a reason is essentially an excuse, and as the saying goes, “Excuses are like a**holes, everyone’s got one.”
There was no excuse for my behavior. I know it. My husband knows it. And the person whom I disrespected knows it.
I could have pretended that I never gossiped. I could have left it as is. I could have swept it under the rug. I could have acted as if it never happened.
But, that’s not how I operate.
Honesty and integrity are two of my core values and when I am not living those, I feel it. I feel it in my body and in my heart, and hear it in my head. The crazy lady inside my head just whirls and twirls with the knowledge that I screwed up, and she is incredibly loud and relentless.
It took me a week, though, to put on my big girl panties and admit my mistake. I spent a week making excuses for why I didn’t need to take responsibility, while at the same time beating myself up for doing it in the first place.
My first phone call, lead to many others. I didn’t just have to call the person I disrespected. I had to call ALL the other people whom I had shared the news with.
As a coach, I ask my clients and students to take responsibility for their life (and any stuff that comes with it), and I have to do the same.
It took courage.
It took looking badly in front of others.
It took appearing the fool.
It took being willing to be uncomfortable.
She was mad. She was pissed. She didn’t know what to say.
But in the end, she said she loved me anyway.
Even though I knew it before, I know it even more now. GOSSIP HURTS.
My advice to you:
Don’t follow in my footsteps on this one.
Living in integrity means being intentional about your words and actions.
It means being respectful.
- If you realize you gossiped, be bold enough to own it, clean it up, and move on.
- If someone gossips to you, be bold enough to call them on it, and say, “Are you supposed to be sharing this with me?”