Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A to Z Blogging..."G is for..."

From the "Words Matter" Series
by Shelly Burke, RN, Author, and Editor of the "Nebraska Family Times" newspaper


 Gossip seems harmless, but if you’ve ever been the victim of gossip, you know how hurtful words can be. God considers it a serious enough topic that there are many Bible verses warning against it (among them Lev. 19:16, Pro. 26:20, 22, and Eph. 4:29). Despite His warnings, it’s easy to get caught up in gossip almost without realizing it. If you are with someone, or a group of someones, and gossip begins, here are a few ways to stop it.  

What to Say

  • “I would not want people talking about the private details of my life, especially if there’s no way they could know what’s really going on. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and not speculate.”
  • Try humor; “Gosh, I’d hate to hear what you say about me when I’m not here! Let’s change the subject--how do you like the weather?” 
  • “My New Year’s resolution is to only say good things about other people. Do you want to join me in that resolution?”
  • “I don’t think it’s fair to talk about her when she’s not here to give her side of what happened.” Then change the subject; “So, how was your weekend?”
  • “Oh, my, look at the time! I’ve got to get back to work on that project.” 
  • If someone tries to tantalize you by hinting that she knows the details of the latest scandal, reply, “Well, I guess we’ll all know soon enough, won’t we?” and change the subject.

Have you ever caught yourself in the center of a group of people who are waiting to hear the juicy gossip that’s about to come out of your mouth? Here’s how to rescue yourself from that situation.

  • “Wait a minute--I know better than to spread gossip. Let’s
    change the subject--what are you doing this weekend?”
  • “Oh, no, I just heard my mom’s voice saying, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,” and I better listen to her!”
  • Dramatically clap your hand over your mouth and say, “A very non-Christian thing almost came out of my mouth--good thing my conscience is attached to my hand!”

What Not to Say

  • “Oh, please, tell me all the juicy details!”  
  • “Let me tell you everything I know!”

What to Do

  • Talk in a serious tone of voice, with a solemn look on your face, when you try to stop gossip. 
  • Walk away if gossip starts, or continues after you’ve tried to change the subject.

Don’t . . . 

  • . . .  even listen to gossip; by doing so you are saying with your actions that it’s OK to gossip.
  • . . . ignore gossip if it is about a friend (see next section).

Should You Tell Someone She’s Being Gossiped About?
Immediately refute any gossip about someone else, that you know to be false. Here are a few ways to do so. 

What to Say  

  • “I am her friend and I know that is absolutely untrue.”
  • “I would not want people talking about the private details of my life, especially if there’s no way they could know what’s really going on. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and not speculate.”

What Not to Say

  • “Oh, what else did you hear? Tell me all the details!”

What to Do

  • Walk away if the gossip continues.

Don’t . . . 

  • . . . repeat the gossip. 

Before you tell someone they are the subject of gossip, ask yourself if doing so will help that person. If what is being said is harmless--”What a haircut!” or, “I wouldn’t carry around a purse like that!”--there is no reason to repeat it to her; it would just be hurtful and there’s nothing she did to cause the gossip or can do to prevent it. 

However, if your friend’s actions are fueling gossip, you might want to draw her attention to her actions and the impression they are giving. In this case, not telling her could cause harm by hurting her reputation or family or even jeopardizing her job. Tell her gently, in private, how her actions appear. Be prepared for her to be upset, but reassure her you are telling her because of your concern for her well-being. 

What to Say

  • “I know you’re friends with the boss; in the cafeteria yesterday several people were speculating that you’re having an affair with him. Of course I assured them that you are not, but I wanted you to know how your actions around him look to some people.”
  • “I don’t know why your friendship with Chris ended, but she is saying that you borrowed money and did not pay it back. That does not sound like something you would do! Do you mind telling me what really happened so I can set people straight?”

What Not to Say

  • “Tell me all the details of what happened with you and the boss, so I can pass them on.” 

What to Do

  • Pray that your friend would realize how her actions appear.  
  • Reassure your friend of your support and friendship. 

Don’t . . . 

  • . . . share the names of the people doing the gossiping. 
  • . . . repeat the gossip to anyone else!


This post is an excerpt from “What Should I Say? The Right (and Wrong!) Words and Deeds for Life’s Sticky, Tricky Uncomfortable Situations”
by Shelly Burke, RN. Coming soon!
 Download “What Should I Say” and be prepared for any of life’s sticky, tricky uncomfortable situations!
The mission of the “Nebraska Family Times” is to “inspire, encourage and motivate you on your Christian walk.” To receive local, state and national news from a Christian point of view, as well as devotions, Bible Study and articles about all aspects of Christian life, in your mailbox every month, subscribe for only $20 for 12 issues! Click “Subscribe” on the sidebar or send your address and payment to Nebraska Family Times, 209 27th St. Apt. #13, Columbus, NE 68601.
I am also taking the Blogging A to Z Challenge at Home is Where the Mom Is; A Christian Mom's Guide,
where the theme is “Lifehacks for Christian Moms.”

1 comment:

  1. Such good advice! As you said, it is so easy to get pulled into gossip. We need to actively avoid it.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier.
    Mary @ The View from my View


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