Monday, March 24, 2014

Difference between Gossip and Sharing

How does one know when he/she is gossiping or sharing information? I could say that if sharing a piece of information about someone to someone else leaves you with a sense of guilt, then it's probably gossip. But, it's not as easy as that because some people don't feel guilt. Of course one can look at gossip as negative in content; whereas, sharing information can actually be positive. For example, "Did you hear that Bob lost his job?" This is information unless one adds, "he's such a loser I knew he was going to lose his job." Then, the innocent remark becomes gossip because it includes opinion, perception, bias, etc.
Proverbs 16:28 states, "A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip seperates the best of friends."
Benjamin Franklin (one of my favorite people from the past) says in Poor Richard's Almanac, "Hear no ill of a friend, nor speak any of an enemy," and "He that speaks much is much mistaken."
Sometimes one can create more problems by talking way too much and to too many people. I've learned that one missing word or one word misunderstood can cause dissention.
Remember the game Telephone we used to play when we were young? Remember, how the story changed from one person to the other? That's what happens in gossip. Stories change to such an extent that the truth is hidden under a pile of linguistic manure. The best venue is to keep mouth shut and ears closed to gossip.

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