Sasha Answers: I gossip about my friends
Hi Sasha. I am not a *great* friend. I sometimes gossip about my friends behind their back(s). I guess I feel the need to constantly discuss people and their idiosyncrasies and how we relate...it just always comes out as sh-t-talking, when in fact I do really love these people. My husband called me out on it a few times, He thinks it's an ugly thing and he's right.
I mean, to what extent am I "allowed" to talk about my friends behind their backs? Doesn't everybody do this? I want to say it's never ultra-personal information but sometimes, it is. I feel like this is my biggest "demon" and really stands in the way of my growth as a person. I just don't know what to do about it. :/
Raise your hand if you’ve talked smack behind someone’s back. Okay, everyone’s hands better be up because if they aren’t you’re a lying sack ‘o sh-t.
Everyone does it and it’s time to stop with that fake-indignation of "don't talk about me behind my back" when that’s just not possible. Sh-t, if we couldn't psychoanalyze our friends and family all the time…..BORRINNNGGGGG. Seriously, what else would we have to talk about?
Having said that though, there are things that are and aren’t acceptable and I think it all comes down to motivation and what the hell you’re actually talking about. My general rule is that I won’t say anything about someone that I wouldn’t say to their face. That’s not to say I would willingly tell them that I indeed think they’re a selfish, narcissistic prick, but if push came to shove and they challenged me on what I was saying while not in their presence, I would be able to back up my smack talk.
Here’s the thing though J, I don’t think that’s what’s happening in your case. I think when you open your mouth it’s less about let’s call it, venting, and more about using your words to tear others down. And if that’s the case, which I’m guessing it is, then you’re right to look critically at this habit and want to change it.
A good test to put a pause on your pie-hole is exactly what I referred to in the paragraph above, which is: would I say this if the person was listening? Get in the habit of asking yourself that question when you feel the impulse to dish the dirt.
The next thing you need to do is to turn the attention on yourself rather than on others. You gotta figure out what you’re getting out of cutting someone else down. Are you bored with your own life? Does it make you feel superior? Are you actually jealous of the people you’re talking about? Are you doing it for attention? Are you unhappy with your own life?
Maybe it’s one or maybe it’s all of the above – either way, if you want to stop spewing all this garbage you’re gonna have to dig deep and get to the root of it all.
It seems apropos to leave you with you Lainey’s Ted Talk on the Sociology of Gossip. Enjoy!