The nasty truth about gossip

I was young when my best friend attended the concert of a famous musician and was chosen out of a sea of gorgeous faces to join the group backstage. She instantly sparked a whirlwind affair with this legend, an experience that would make anyone turn green with envy.

It was sudden and spontaneous and she made the decision to engage with him despite the fact that she had a boyfriend back home. I did not judge her choices and she was kind enough to invite me to join her at his next concert where I enjoyed a spectacular fifteen minutes of fame. I owe her so much for that.

Unfortunately, in the subsequent weeks, the vibrant memory of a few golden hours was not enough to commit me to my pledge of silence. I sneakily disclosed the tale to few close friends, thinking it would do no harm. None of the people I spoke with knew her very well. But sure enough-word got back to the boyfriend and their relationship ended immediately.

I will always regret my failure to abstain from gossiping that day. The stakes were so high for her and it was a cruel betrayal. It was not my business to disclose her affair to anyone, no matter how great of a story it was. I will always regret it. She is an amazing person and she never spoke to me again.

The American Psychology Association performed a study that shows that at least 65 percent of people’s conversations could be defined as gossip. Sometimes it’s totally harmless and other times, it can destroy peoples lives, devastate confidence, and tear apart longstanding relationships.

The worst part of all is that the negative outcome is never obvious. Sharing news feels anonymous, safe, and completely harmless. How could it ever go wrong? But sadly, that’s the way gossip works. Once it’s out of your mouth, you don’t have any control over where it spreads or how it evolves.

If I could go back in time and change the past, I would trade the entire experience to still be her friend. The momentary kick I got out of sharing her illustrious deception was not worth it. Next time you are confronted with the opportunity to spawn or spread gossip, ask yourself if it’s really worth the risk.

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