You can find gossip anywhere.
The office, church, friends, even your own family…no one is immune.
We often associate gossip as negative. If we are going to be politically correct, we would say that gossip is frowned upon. However, even social scientists are finding that it has some benefits to society. A Stanford study determined that gossip can actually deter selfishness and encourage cooperation. Who knew?
While these benefits are interesting news no one wants to be the topic of such gossip. Gossip has bad connotations. Gossip gone too far can turn into bullying and become a detriment to any environment. Gossip has a huge ICK factor.
However, there is a way to turn gossip upside down.
You can start speaking nicely behind people’s back.
Let that sink in for a minute….You can start speaking nicely behind someone’s back.
And you can pass the positive gossip you hear back to the person who was being gossiped about.
Afterall, whether the gossip is good or bad, it gets back to everyone eventually. If it didn’t they would be called secrets.
It Can Change Group Dynamics
By saying nice things about other people when they aren’t around, it can change the group dynamics almost immediately and when sustained it can be a game changer.
When you compliment people when they are not around, it reads to the rest of the group that you are more sincere. You are not there to suck up. It makes your words more believable.Kindness is contagious. It is the positive side of peer pressure. Click To Tweet
Kindness is contagious. It’s the positive side of peer pressure. No one wants to be the Debbie Downer of the group. When this kindness is perpetual the group, whether it is family, friends, or colleagues, becomes a positive haven for everyone. The group culture shifts and becomes more pleasant and easy to deal with and even more engaging.
It Can Change Personal Dynamics
Do you remember a moment when word got back to you that someone you loved or respected said something nice about you? Maybe it was a parent or a teacher? Remember that incredibly proud feeling you had? The fact that someone noticed something positive about you just made you smile from ear to ear. How could you not love and respect them more in return? After all, it is quite obvious that they have a capacity for discernment and are able to recognize greatness when they see it (admit it…those were the exact thoughts you had!).
It is good to hear feedback directly from the horse’s mouth but there is a secret joy in knowing that you are being seen in such a way that someone will actually take time out of their day to tell someone else.
If you already have a good relationship with the person, it is going to strengthen that relationship. If the relationship could use a little work then it can soften it up a little to work on whatever the issue is.
And if worse comes to worst, it can’t hurt anyone. You can do no harm.
It Can Help Your Personal Reputation
Do you want to be the person known as the whiny, negative, glass-half-full gossip?
Or would you rather be known as the positive, generous, edifier of people?
It seems pretty clear-cut. Yet, it can be hard when there is so much fodder out there for the negative stuff. At the very least, it is possible to dilute the negative with the positive.
It all comes down to what you want people saying about you behind your back.
What Doesn’t Work
Saying positive things only works if it is sincere and genuine.
If you start over inflating someone’s talent or worth it just cheapens the rest of what you have to say. If you are spouting empty flattery it makes you look like a brown-noser. Neither of those options reflects well on you.
So are you going to be a revolutionary in the world of gossip? Will you at least test the waters and see how well it works? Or are you staying on the dark side of the water cooler?
I want to hear from you- answer the questions in the comment section.
Photo Credit: Jamin Gray