a how to guide
You’ve been there.
Incensed by what someone else has done, you’ve gone to another person to discuss it.
Some suggest that this is a way of finding support from the environment.
I think it’s gossip.
You’ve at one point in time, participated in gossip.
Me? No… I’d never do that!
I can hear your brain protesting from here.
I’m also giggling at how we all have stories in our head that we are not the kind of people who could do ________.
You are people. People have the power to be glorious.
We also have the power to be crap.
Those who think they could never participate in _______?
They’re the most dangerous because they likely do _______ without being aware of the fact that they have the capacity to be shitty.
Get over yourself. You have been a human turd in the past. You will again in the future.
We’re people. It happens. It’s ok. In order to forgive yourself, you need to accept yourself.
Gossip, like anger gets a bad rap.
Some suggest that language evolved so that we could partake in gossip.
Gossip exists because gossip works.
Gossip is a way that groups self regulate.
Gossip is how people find out who violates the rules of the group.
We gossip about people so others can know who the arseholes are.
There’s a big problem with gossip though.
Through the process of talking about others when they are not there the person gossiped about can become the scapegoat who takes on all of the sins and aggression of a group.
Gossip is one way that we happily avoid the more turdish parts of our humanity. When we spread manure and everything stinks, we can point lots of fingers away from ourself.
And as a group? We can decided who we want to take responsibility, who we sacrifice for our shit.
And frankly? That’s shit. When we do this we end up excluding others while at the same time missing an opportunity to integrate some aspects of ourself that we don’t like. When you dump on others, or spread shit around, you have less time to compost the less palatable aspects of yourself. The soil you grow in becomes less vigorous because of it.
When someone offends you, crosses you, pisses you off or otherwise makes a big farty fart in your mouth, do what you would normally do. Go find allies, argue your case. Better yet, find an authority person. Tell them about the offense. Call for help. Say things like: Can you imagine?
Play a game of ‘I’d never…”
Pretend that your farts don’t stink.
Act like your house isn’t made of glass.
Catch yourself and say:
Oh dang. I just went through something tough. Thanks for listening. I need to do something about this.
Stop talking to the person who didn’t piss you off.
Go find someone who can actually make a difference. Find the offender.
Before you do. Spend some time with what happened and HOW the other person treated you.
Don’t worry about why.
Why did they treat you badly?
Because they did. That part’s not super important.
Imagine a time when you did something similar to someone else - even if it’s a stretch. You have a similar cruelty within you. What kind of things were happening with you when you were an arsehole?
Great. Now you know why they were an arsehole.
Now go to them. Tell them about what went wrong. Start with questions like: What was going on with you when _____?
Tell them how their bullshit made your life stinky.
See if they can make a difference.
And in doing so?
You’ve stopped the motors of gossip.
This was a very long blog post to say, if you want to complain about someone else’s behaviour, complain to them. They’re the only one who can do anything about it.
When have you shared gossip?
How have you been hurt by gossip?
What would life be like if you chose to participate less in gossip games?
Post card club update:
I sent addresses around today. Soon, literally dozens of postcards will be swirling around the world to the delight of many strangers.
For those of you who participated? Thank you, you remarkable fools! Now get writing.
The podcast is going to continue on Mondays. I have episodes recorded and guests lined up. You are all wonderful fools and I’m delighted to have the chance to share your voice with the world.
Show up and win!
It’s the world’s first personal growth game show. It also happens to be the least rational and most absurd approach to self help so far.
Tickets are going very quickly!
This is a free, local preview event for readers of the Foolsletter.
If you’re away and reading this and are curious about what this beast looks like, drop me a line. I plan on touring. We can meet. People will laugh. The universe will get bigger.
For people in the Greater Dartmouth area, things are happening on April 1 at 7:30 at the Happy Soul Dance studio on the peninsula across the harbour from Dartmouth.
Finally, I’m just getting the hang of having paid / unpaid subscribers. There are more boxes to tick. I’m not much of a ticker of boxes. Thank you for your patience as we embrace this new reality.
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When you do, I’ll send you a Certificate of Remarkable Foolishess as a token of my appreciation for your outrageous support.
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I think the word gossip is frequently misused in an effort to gaslight people. The corporate trainers tell you to refrain from gossip. But whose interests are they serving? I don't trust organizations that overtly tell you to not gossip. What I hear in my head, "We talk about transparency, but we don't trust you. If you all talked to each other, you would know we've lied to you. Don't talk among yourselves." I think most survivors of the holocaust did so through the strategic use of gossip, by themselves or others, and thank God they did. You don't need your life on the line to benefit from information. True gossip, whether in intention or spirit, is malicious. "Did you hear about Mary? She did this awful thing. Glad I am not Mary." There is nothing constructive here; just spreading words about someone that may or may not be true. I am being a bit judgy here because I love ideas. People who talk about people or TV or celebrity's activities bore me. Yup, no f's to give. Talk to me about something that matters: gossip to me about creating peace, preserving the health of the planet, making great food, creating a world of respect for all people and your hopes and dreams. I may be able to contribute. If I know someone who can help you move ahead with a project, I'll likely tell them, "I have a friend..." because sharing (gossiping) (networking) is how we help people. It's how we protect ourselves. I gossiped the other day at lunch. A friend I do business with is not loved by all. Psst..none of us are. I know someone who has reason to hope for them to not be successful, has used information negatively. I didn't tell them what happened. I reminded them that there are eyes and ears everywhere and to be cautious. Duh, pretty obvious advice. I think of it as a timely reminder. The best useful information (gossip) is information (gossip) that keeps us and others safe and happy. Today, I am having a coffee with a friend I met at work over 25 years ago. I will be gossiping about a worker who has decided to pursue other work next year. We're going to talk about her with an eye to helping her and those she may leave behind on the job. There will be no malice. Two women supporting a woman without her being present. Well, actually she will be. It's me. Feel free to gossip about it, unmaliciously, of course. And if it is malicious, I can't stop you. You do you. In advertising, they say there is no such thing as bad press. I think Kevin Spacey might disagree. Not sure if that is an observation or gossip. Hmmm...since the whole world knows, I'm calling it an observation. Off for now, there's gossiping to do. You don't say.