Have you heard any gossip lately? Do you know the latest rumor?
Come on, don’t lie.
As humans we partake in it in some form, despite the age old adage, “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Whether it is a workplace or college or school chatter, the sharing of family news or texts or calls between friends, it is inevitable that everyone who talks, well, talks about other people.
Did it ring a bell?
Still, a NO!
Let me give you some examples to spark something.
“Did you hear that…?”
“You’ll never guess what I heard today….”
“I have got some juicy news to tell you…..”
“Do you know what happened that day…?”
So yeah, all of us, are basically engaged in such talks everyday and to be frank, no one is a saint in today’s time, to say; what happens in other people lives, is none of his concern. What happens, even in space, is the concern of human race!
So why do we gossip and spread rumors?
Before moving on to that, let’s understand the difference between a rumor and gossip.
Rumor is a special kind of suggestion or story about real or fictitious person or event, which grows as its spreads. We have taken the Chinese Whisper we played as kids too seriously, I guess.The message in the rumor is an unverified account and may be neither true nor false. It is only a claim to truth. Often a mountain is made out of a mole hill in rumor.
Gossip is essentially talking about others and their personal affairs. Perhaps, it is not the nicest thing to do but, we are guilty as charged. Gossip could be true or just an exaggeration.
We engage ourselves in this guilty pleasure for many reasons. Sometimes, to feel better by inflicting pain on others, to deflect attention from ourselves. To feel accepted and seem cool, may be. For example, if you want to be in the group of QUEEN BEE, to get her attention, you start spreading some rumors and share some gossips with her about your old friends, teachers etc.
We tend to use this as means to climb social ladders or gain power by diminishing the status of another person. I remember an instance, where a builder wanted to buy a building in a posh area, to rebuild it. He offered enormous price for the building but, the owner refused. He paid people to spread rumors that the building was haunted and inauspicious. Gradually, the bidding for the land decreased and the owner had no more buyers and at the end, he had to sell it to that builder, in a far lesser price than the original.
It can also be used to get revenge. It happens mostly in schools, colleges and workplace where students and colleagues are envious of others looks, popularity, grades or for that matter money. Statements like, “She is a slut” or “She slept with the professor to gain marks or with boss to get promotion” or “He used his charms to get the job” are quite popular.
The last and the best reason, according to me, “Boredom.” We all love some drama in our lives. We resort to rumors and gossip to spice things up, to make life more exciting. Four girls, no, I’ll not be gender biased, four people in one room, doing nothing important, will be, cent percent, engrossed in a conversation not about themselves but definitely, others, probably bitching.
But, in all this, we forget that even what may seem as harmless talks, can affect someone drastically. It could lead to anxiety, excessive stress, depression, panic attacks, post traumatic stress disorder and even suicidal thoughts. We tend to forget or feel the impact of our words on someone’s mental health. People have committed suicides to be relieved from this regular infliction of false rumors and gossips and that’s a very serious repercussion.
To avoid this, I think we should not take any rumor we hear, seriously and also, not spread it. But, it is easier said than done. We all fall prey to it sometimes. We should remember, they are spread to promote something or to extol somebody, all for personal benefits.
Reason should be applied in judging any information and we should not depend on hearsay. Often, we tend to share any news in social media without trying to find it’s TRUE nature. We just can’t keep anything within ourselves. If the thing is juicy, it is meant to be publicised. Sentences like, “I’ll carry this to my grave” or “Cross my heart, if I speak of this to anyone” are false. We are like ATM machines, if the card is inserted, we have to give out money. Sometimes, it shows no money too, but we have an unending collection of rumors and gossips that never runs dry. Even it processes the information, before delivering money, but we don’t. Nowadays, WhatsApp is like a neighborhood aunty, who knows what’s in everyones’ tea and we as idiots, blind fools keep sharing it forward, like a blazing forest fire. It is self confidence and hard reasoning that can combat any unfounded rumor or gossip. Hence, sometimes it may be wiser for us to let head rule the heart.