Recently, I’ve been a part of more than one chat session in which I found myself talking about people I know. I talked about their lives, some decisions they’ve made and the like. I’ve also listened to others share about people I know and have lost touch with—what’s new in their lives, their latest relationships, etc.
In retrospect, the “sharing sessions” took on more than just an informational update. In fact, looking back, many of the “informational” statements were laced with bias, both for and against the person being discussed.
Being for someone and sharing it out loud isn’t quite the same as being against someone or someone’s actions and voicing that opinion. That’s when informational sharing turns to idle chit-chat turns to gossip.
So that got me thinking about the conversations I have on a daily basis—in passing with my co-workers, via e-mail with friends and on the phone with family members. Are the words coming out of my mouth supplying healthy conversation or mere talking points? Are those talking points constructive? Idle? And not only that, but, if I’m talking about someone else, is what I’m saying really helping that individual out? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe that’s something I should definitely think more about before I say what’s on my mind.
All in all, I’m not sure where the line between sharing and gossiping lies, but I’m pretty certain if I’m not bettering the person I’m talking about, there’s a good chance I shouldn’t be talking about him. Or her. Because I don’t think my negativity is going to be all that constructive for that individual. Especially when he or she isn’t present. And, as you well know, one really shouldn’t get in the habit of talking about people behind their backs.