How to Get Along With Anyone: Step 7

This is number seven in a series of ten posts How to Get Along With Anyone. Here are Steps 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 in case you missed them!

Do not gossip. Change the subject. Insert a jaw dropping statistic to throw off the first suspicious question, “Did you hear about…?”

Conversations full of colorful stories are the best kind…until they turn into gossip.

Woman crying.

Be aware! Stay alert! Fight the urge to repeat unkind hear-say! I PROMISE this will insure you get along with more people this year!

The “G” word begins as early as elementary school and can spiral downward faster than an inner tube on a snow covered slope.

Ann (not her real name) was a 3rd grader when I was ahead of her one year in school. I was told she lived in a barn (true story). I found it fascinating and told everyone who knew her at school.

In my defense, it sounded far more exciting than the boring tract house where we lived.  Truly, I had not spread the word to belittle her.

Looking back, I remember her clothes were not as nice, or clean, as mine. However, I knew farm families spent more time with animals, too. Within a week, I was in the principal’s office, sitting across from a hysterically sobbing little girl, who felt so ashamed and embarrassed she never wanted to return to her school classroom.

That was my first introduction to gossip and the damage it can afford.

Ann’s family had been staying with relatives, who had a barn and were active in their 4-H club. However, she was there because her parents were splitting up. They were just bunking in the barn. So, that part of the story had been accurate but, not something I had needed to repeat.  Worse yet, was my thoughtless assumption Ann was happy in her situation at the time.

To this day I remember wishing I could take back my words.

I also wish I could say I learned my “never gossip again” lesson that year. I’m certain gossip is one of the most horrific means of destroying a person’s reputation, and/or friendships, known to human kind.  Yet, it still creeps up in my life.

Not only should this be a WARNING on the “How to Get Along With Anyone This Year” list; but, we should be teaching our children to squelch gossip as well.

Two of my granddaughters find it difficult to understand the danger in this topic. They could not grasp why I would want to explain this topic as one of my top 10 important suggestions for getting along with people. You see, everyone does it!

Yes, there are “gossip” shows on TV and gossip magazines aplenty. It is a popular topic even in elementary school. However this does not make it right. The definition has been distorted by our modern media. Gossip is still re-telling something about another person when it is not your right to do so. It can cause incredible pain – and age is not a factor.

Do yourself a favor.  Avoid this temptation.

God says it best and simply: “[Wise People Take Advice ] The gossip of bad people gets them in trouble; the conversation of good people keeps them out of it.” Proverbs 12:13 (The Message)

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