Helloooo, Triblet of Mini-Women. Welcome back to our newly-combined Wednesdays With Nancy/Tween You and Me Blog where we’re talking about Friendship Flubs and boys and bullying and anything else you ask. A special shout-out today to GRACE who has just joined us for the first time. AND to ASHER, who drew this picture (and one below) for today’s topic. Is she awesome or what?!!!
When I asked you last week to tell us where you are in the gossiping world, I had no idea we were going to get such a huge response. Looks like this is the perfect topic! As WENDY said: I’m glad we’re going to be talking about gossiping because, a few days ago my 2 CFF’s and I decided that we were going to stop being around people who gossip, and stop gossiping ourselves.
Love, love, love that, Wendy. I’m just wondering, though: how’s that working out for you so far?
I only ask that because it’s SO hard to stop doing something that, let’s face it, can be so much fun. At least for the people doing it.
I think we need to start with ASHER’s question: What IS gossip?
First of all, here’s what gossip ISN’T:
(a) talking over things with your parents that have happened at school, even when it concerns other people. MEDOMFO says that helps her because her parents make her see what to do or not do in those situations. That’s more like “reporting.”
(b) trying to figure out with your friends how you’re going to help somebody or solve a problem with another person. If Susie Schmo is cheating in math class and you don’t want her to get in trouble, you’re NOT gossiping if you discuss what you can say to her to get her to stop and how you’re going to offer to tutor her. You ARE gossiping if you ONLY chat (for hours) about how she’s doing it and what she looks like when she’s doing it and how much trouble she’s going to get in when she gets caught
Here’s what gossip IS: saying things behind someone’s back — whether they’re true or not — that you wouldn’t want that person to hear you say or that would hurt them. If you’re saying Susie Schmo is so super cute and you wish you looked like her, that is NOT gossiping. If you’re going on about how Susie Schmo thinks she’s all that and you’re glad you’re not as conceited as she is, that IS gossiping.
OBVIOUSLY gossiping is not a good thing at all. So why do we ever do it? I think we, especially we girls, do it because:
(a) when we have something juicy to tell about somebody else, we’re the center of attention and everyone listens to us
(b) we get really upset with the terrible things people do and we feel like we need to vent about them. KAYLEE and MEGGGIEBEAR have both found themselves in that situation. As MEGGIEBEAR put it: There are some gross kids in the school and others start talking about them. It is hard to not comment to what they said. Getting it all out there makes us feel better, and that would be okay if we stopped there. But think about what happens when you and your friends really get going about how evil Susie Schmo is. Pretty soon nobody can think of a single good thing to say about her (even her good dental hygiene) AND people start to exaggerate. She might have told somebody to shut up during PE, but did she really cuss at them? Or does that just make a better story?
(c) It kind of comes naturally. As HALLE BELL said, I’ve discovered that I gossip a lot lately, and I don’t even know it after I’ve done it until much later! Girls are usually worse about it than boys. Hard to believe we’re worse about anything than they are, but it’s true!
(d) It’s fun! Really, when everybody’s putting in their stuff about how full of herself Susie is, people can say some pretty funny stuff. One great line leads to another until everybody’s howling and holding their sides and who cares how Susie would feel if she heard you, right?
Well, here’s the deal on that, mini-women. We SHOULD care. GRACE pointed that out for us when she said, — I try not to gossip too much, cause I know how it feels to be gossiped about. In case you haven’t been there as the subject of gossip, let me share how that feels:
* it stings like a bee
* it makes you feel so small you can’t even see yourself any more
* it makes you wonder if maybe what they’re saying is true and you start to hate yourself
* you don’t want to trust anybody anymore
* you feel really, really alone
All because a group of girls were “just venting,” or “just having fun.”
If it were easy to decide to stop gossiping and then, well, stop forever, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. This is a hard habit to break, so we have to be aware of it and, as HALLE BELLE put it, take Baby Steps.
Here are some that have worked for me. (yeah, I still have to stop myself sometimes …_)
(1) Watch yourself for a couple of days (days when you’re with your friends, which is hard for those of you who are homeschooled –don’t forget gossip at church — it happens!) Who do you tend to talk with most about other people? How do you feel when you’re chatting away about somebody’s weird outfit or their snorty laugh or that ridiculous report they gave in class? Who do you gossip the most ABOUT? Knowing that will alert you next time you start to get into a gossipy conversation.
(2) Make a pact with one or more of your friends like WENDY is doing. Pledge not to gossip together and hold each other to it. Kindly, of course. Turning to each other and saying, “There you go again! Knock it off!” probably isn’t going to work. Try having a signal so you don’t have to say anything at all, like scratching your nose or curling your hair around your finger.
(3) Always have other topics at the ready when the gossip starts so you can change the subject. Instead of, “We should talk about something else,” you can say, “My dog did the funniest thing!” or “Can anybody teach me how to French braid hair?” or draw a frog or keep a journal away from nosy little brothers. We can’t just stop gossiping unless we have something better to put in its place.
(4) If something somebody is doing is really troubling you, go to an adult you trust, a person who can actually help you find a solution. As much as your friends want to help, most of the time they have no more idea how to deal with a “terrible person” than you do. If everybody is struggling, go to the counselor or the teacher or the parent or the youth pastor together. Just remember that you’re seeking a solution — you’re not just looking for a place to vent. There is no legal gossiping!
I sure hope that helps. If it does, let us know in your comment. If you still have questions, ask away! For fun, tell us what change-the-topic you would use for (3).
Next week we’ll talk about this question from your list: What do you do if YOU are the subject of gossip? If people are saying mean things about YOU? If you’ve had that experience, please tell us about it. We’ll see if we can help you.
Until then, blessings, mini-women!