How Gossip Hurts a Friendship

Teenage girls telling secrets
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Most of us would agree that gossip is nasty. It hurts to be talked about by people you consider friends. Yet, how many of us shut down gossip the minute we hear it? If we're really honest with ourselves, I'll bet many of us would agree that sometimes gossip makes us feel good, at least temporarily.

Once our friends find out we blabbed out of school, we won't feel so great about it. Or imagine when we have to tell them about a mutual friend who is disrespecting them by gossiping. Not a fun conversation to have.

Gossip is something that can forever change a friendship, and even prevent you from making new friends in the future.

Gossip Makes You Look Bad

If you’re the one gossiping, other people who don’t know you will shy away from being your friend. If you talk behind one friend’s back, the perception is that you will do that to anyone. Plus, you never know if the person you're gossiping to is pals with the one you're trashing.

Friendship is about likability and trust, and if you show that one of those components is missing, you’ll have a harder time making friends. The next time you feel the need to talk about a friend, take a moment to understand why. Do you think spreading gossip will help make you stand out? Do you believe it will give the perception that you're "in the know"?

Make you have a friend who is always trying to get you to gossip. It can be hard (and awkward) to say no and move on to something else. When you have the urge to blurt something out, give yourself a timeout. Pause. Take a breath, and then re-think what you were about to say.

Confronting a Friend Who Has Gossiped About You

If you confide in a friend and then realize your trust was misplaced, this will forever change your relationship. Once trust is gone, it has to be rebuilt over time. You may decide that you do not want to give your friend another chance, and this will end your relationship. Perhaps the person that gossiped was not your friend to begin with.

If you do go forward with your friendship, you'll need to make sure your friend knows that talking out of turn won't be tolerated. Perhaps your friend believed that what she shared was common knowledge. If you choose to give her another chance, do it with a clear indication that you don't talk about people behind their backs, and you expect the same from your friend. You might need to hold your pal at arm’s length for a bit until trust is restored.

How to Stop Gossiping

If you hear someone gossiping, set an example of how to behave. Even you don’t know the person being talked about, change the subject or walk away. Don’t let the poor behavior of someone else ruin your reputation as a good friend.

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