The Harmful Effects of Gossiping
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Health and Wellness

The Harmful Effects of Gossiping

If you don't have something nice to say, don't say it at all!

The Harmful Effects of Gossiping
Lexx In The City

“Ew, why is she wearing that?” “Why would she ever dye her hair that color?” “Ugh, he is the most annoying person on the planet!”

Chances are, these words or a comment similar to them have come out of your mouth before. Don’t worry, you are not the only one. Gossiping is a common habit, and unfortunately, many more people do it than you would expect. Simply put, gossiping - whether it is a short comment or an hour long vent session about how annoying somebody is - is hurtful. In fact, it is detrimental to both you, the people around you, and the topic of conversation. If you are wondering how this can be, here are a few factors to keep in mind next time you have the urge to badmouth.

It doesn’t help the situation.

Think about it. If somebody is really bothering you – whether they are rude to you or just flat out irritating – complaining about it will not make them more tolerable. If this person is really getting under your skin, try your absolute best not to be around them. If this is unavoidable because they are in your group of friends, or in many of your classes, then you may just have to learn to deal with them. Perhaps if you approach them in a gentle and non-aggressive way, you can even talk to them about the habits that bother you. This is a very delicate situation though, and I only advise you to do it if you know the person well!

It causes you stress.

If you are constantly fixating on the irritating habits of other people, you will most likely be in a bad mood quite often. Think about it: When you are in a bad mood, do you feel relaxed and calm? The answer is probably no. So, why focus on the negative, which causes you anxiety, when you can look on the bright side? Perhaps instead of thinking, “Ugh, here comes that kid in my political science class who has a ton of ignorant opinions,” think about how the same boy offered you his notes when you missed class, or held the door open for you one morning. There is good in everybody, and when you train yourself to see it, life becomes much easier.

It makes you less fun to be around.

Do you know a constant gossiper? If you do, do you ever leave his or her presence feeling down or exasperated, or maybe even irritated? If you are a relentless-rumor-spreader, you may actually be annoying your listeners. After a while, people begin to get tired of judgmental attitudes and negative energy, so be wary of how your habit may be affecting your friends!

It reflects badly on you.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “What Sally says about Susie says more about Sally than Susie?” This phrase basically means that what you say about others reveals more about you than your topic of gossip. For example, if you are constantly critiquing other girls’ bodies, this can signify a lack of confidence about your own body image. So, what you say in a gossip session ends up hurting your reputation more than the reputation of those you are discussing. Simply put, if you want your confidence to shine through (and why wouldn’t you?), think twice before talking negatively about somebody else!

Even with these consequences of gossiping apparent, it is inevitable that people will still partake in the activity. Yes, it is true that a gossip session can make you feel better by relieving stress and negative thoughts, but it is important to be cognizant of the frequency with which you are doing it. If you are wanting to decrease your negative-talk, perhaps you can start journaling or blogging about your feelings. (Warning: if you choose to go the blogging route, be sure to use pseudonyms so you do not hurt people’s feelings!) Writing your feelings out not only relieves stress, but also aids in the process of self-reflection, which is an important component to self-improvement! Additionally, if you are around a group of people who are gossiping, instead of joining in a feeding the negativity, perhaps you could simply try to change the subject, or add something nice about the person you are discussing. Say something like, “Oh, her clothes are always so nice!” or “He always has a smile on his face.” If you do this often enough, your friends may begin to notice the positive qualities of other people as well!

All in all, if you want to eliminate negativity from your life, cutting back on badmouthing others is a great and feasible way to start. After a while, you may no longer feel the need to do it at all, and you will be contributing to transforming the world into a kinder place!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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