The Making Of A Rumor

The Making Of A Rumor

What breathes life into a rumor: jealousy, maliciousness, boredom, or a combination of these?

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Within the past three months of this Spring semester of my sophomore year at college, there have been numerous rumors about me circulating around the student body. This piece isn't to address and dismiss the rumors, since, quite frankly, the people who started and passed along these false stories are bored people who aren't worthy of my energy. Rather, I wish to dissect the making and spreading of nasty gossip, which may have a significant impact on those being slandered.

It's human nature to gossip; it's hard to find somebody, especially in a social environment such as college, who has never talked about somebody. However, speaking amongst your close friends (and family members) who are known to be trustworthy is completely different than talking about somebody in a negative, slanderous way to anyone who happens to have ears, especially if you don't know them well.

A girl is at a party with her friends. When she grows tired, she tries to find someone else who wants to leave the party to accompany her on the dangerous trek back to campus since her friends don't want to leave yet. She's seen leaving with one of her guy friends. As the two of them make their way back to their dorms, numerous people spot the two of them walking back to campus together. It's something as simple as this that can spark gossip.

A huge aspect of rumors, and probably the most painful part about them, is their lack of validity. People can't just assume that two people walking back to their dorm together means that they're hooking up. Especially when one of them is in a relationship, it's disgusting for a rumor to be made about them "cheating on her boyfriend". It's alarming that some people feel that they have the right to try staining people's reputations and relationships. The fact that rumors can spread to other countries in such a short period of time is scary, too.

The past few months have made me wonder, what is at the heart of these rumors? It's shocking to see that jealous people feel the need to try and bring down another person to make them feel better about themselves. It's just as sad and, honestly, pretty pathetic that some people are so bored with their lives that they have to rely on fake stories about other people to feel relevant. Furthermore, who does the rumor really revolve around? Of course, the person involved in the story is going to be seen in a negative light. Yet, I believe that rumors actually revolve around the people who listen to them and repeat it, spreading the invalidity and making the rumor grow.

To give a real example, I'll explain the most harmless of the recent rumors about me. I was walking down a hallway as I was speaking to my mother on my phone. I joked with her, "Listen: if they slap me, I sue them". It was such a truly insignificant conversation that I can't even remember who or what I was referring to. Yet, hours later, my friend texted me that a guy who heard me wrote about it in a group chat he has with his boys: "Teylor Veliotis was talking about suing somebody because they slapped her". My friend then heard about this infamous catfight because she knows one of the guys in that group chat.

This is how such stupid, nonsensical rumors start: the telephone game mixed with a lack of privacy. First of all, whether I'm speaking on the phone in the middle of a crowded room or in my dorm room all by myself, it's rude to listen in on a private conversation. What makes matters even worse is to repeat private information to other people. The skewing of private information takes the rumor from bad to worse. The more and more people hear and repeat the story, the more likely it'll turn into something different altogether--it's essentially the elementary school telephone game on steroids.

This is a cautionary tale--not about how an innocent act can be turned into a dirty exploit, but rather about how it degrades the person inventing and spreading the stories. If you create and repeat filthy gossip, this is what you put out into the world. You can do better than that. For some people, malicious slander can snowball and truly devastate someone. I'm blessed that my close friends and people who really matter in my life really know my true character, so I choose not to let gossip tear me down. As we are constantly reminded, life is so precious, so why would you spend your breath and energy on spreading lies and ugliness?

P.S. If you're feeling offended by this article, maybe you're one of those people spreading negativity. Just a thought.

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It Is OK To Have Guy Friends That Are Literally Just Guy Friends

Some of my best friends are guys and sometimes they are better friends than girls are.

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Lately, I have come to the realization that some of my guy friends are better then some girls I call my "friends". Ever since middle school, I have always had many guy friends that have always been just guy friends, and nothing more. Some girls had a problem with it back then and they still do now, maybe because they are jealous, or maybe because they feel left out. However, I decided a long time ago to keep those guy friends for reasons like...

1. They Don't Take Things So Seriously

You can always joke around with them, and they will joke around with you right back. You can be as nice as you want or as mean as you want to them, and they will always take it as joke. I think that sometimes girls have a difficult time deciphering between when you are being serious or when you are joking. Most of my guys friends tend to not things too seriously at least 75% of the time.

2. They Are Always Honest

When I need a blatantly honest opinion I always ask my guy friends (and my mom). I do this because guys do not really care about whether or not their response will make you mad. Also, guys do not think about if their answer will benefit them personally or not before they answer.

3. They Genuinely Listen To You

Not all the time. But when I am upset, they are always the ones most concerned. Some of my guy friends take over the "big brother" role when it comes to some situations. My guy friends always listen to my problems or just the same old rants I give all the time because if something is wrong, or something has hurt me, they want to know, in order for them to try and fix it.

I am not trying to say that my girl friends are not my best friends either, and I really do have the best best friend. But sometimes, it just feels good to hangout with my guy friends. Guy friends, that I have never had a romantic relationship or feelings for and they have not had for me. These guys have always been there, and for that I am grateful.

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Finding Your Niche In College Starts With Finding You

Attempting to be someone you are not for the sake of having company only hurts you in the long run.

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Transitioning to college is hard enough, but trying to find a place where you feel "at home" can make this time even more stressful. Here are some tips on how to find that place/group of people that make you feel like sunshine.

I have always felt a little out of place wherever I went, but it wasn't until college that I realized that this feeling was so special and more people should capitalize on their differences rather than conforming to a certain mold. Transitioning to college and finding your place among so many people can be very overwhelming. The added stress of attempting to be someone you aren't for the sake of having company adds a whole other layer to this problem. The easiest thing for me to do in any situation like this is trying to make the setting a little smaller. One of the most obvious ways to do this on a college campus is by getting involved!

It is inevitable that within the first few weeks of the semester at any college, there will be an organization fair. This is a chance to scope out all that your school has to offer! Chances are there will be some type of group or club that lines up with your interests. Most college campuses have extracurricular opportunities ranging from social sororities and fraternities, professional ones, intermural sports, vocal groups, and so many more. You are more than likely going to find some type of organization that you can call home if you seek them out. Joining an organization is such an easy way to interact with people with similar interests. An interest can bring two completely different people together and create some beautiful friendships. It is situations like this where it is important to be your authentic self and mingle with those you share something with.

That being said, finding your place in college isn't always about being involved. Getting involved on campus is just one of the simplest ways to start. There are so many other opportunities on campus to meet people whether it be among others in your residence hall, people in your classes, or just people you find yourself stumbling upon! Finding people to spend your time with is easy; however, you should make it a point to surround yourself with people who bring you up.

Once you have a set group of people that you find yourself spending time with, it is important to pay attention to the way you feel when you're around them. If you find yourself feeling bad about yourself or get the impression that you need to change something in order to "fit in," chances are the people you're around are not the best for you or your self-esteem. It is important to surround yourself with people who allow you to feel comfortable in your own skin. That being said, you also want people who encourage you to make good decisions and help you reach your goals. People who encourage toxic behavior in your life might be fun in the short term, but in the grand scheme of things, you need to be surrounded by people with your best interest in mind. Essentially, surrounding yourself with people who influence you to be your best self is one of the best decisions you can make short and long term.

The key to all of this is being conscious of your own feelings and needs. Pay attention to who reaches out to you to hang out. Notice the ones who pay attention to you as you speak when it feels like no one is listening. More than anything, be conscious of who you're with and where you're at when you experience moments of pure happiness. Life is too short to waste your precious time on people who don't build you up. Wouldn't you rather spend your time with more moments of pure joy than self-hate? Start living for you!

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