The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Gossip only reflects the character of the gossiper

If you pay attention to conversations, you will notice we often talk about external problems. It’s always about “those” corrupt politicians or “those” religious zealots or “that” depressed friend or “that” alcoholic uncle. 

We talk and judge all these people as if our opinions are important and vital to making positive change in the world. However, this kind of talk is actually an enormous waste of time. 

According to Live Science, 80 percent of conversation is gossip. This does not mean that 80 percent has to be gossip. It just shows that people love to criticize. 

Sure, there are a few positive aspects of gossip—it can reinforce moral standards—but these apply only in little tiny doses. 

You can bash Donald Trump for 10 seconds, but after that? Shut up and get back to your own life. Any more time spent talking about how “those people” are stupid and making life so difficult is just wasting your own valuable life energy. It feels good in the moment, but it is a deadly trap.

According to an article from Small Business Insider, the central issue with gossip is that it fosters the avoidance of personal responsibility. 

Any topic or person, or situation that you repeatedly gossip about points you to your own problems that you’re trying to avoid facing. 

If you constantly criticizing politicians, you are avoiding doing the hard work of actual social change.  If you are always trying to fix your partner’s emotional issues, you’re just trying to avoid facing the issues that you yourself need to work on.

One particular form of gossip that really is destructive is the constant moralizing about the other people in your life. 

When you keep repeating “It’s a good thing someone got Uncle Jared in AA, or he’d be a dead man!” or “Brad needs to stop doing so many drugs, or he’s going to lose his hold on reality,” and everyone gives you those somber nods of assent, it feels like you’re being a moral champion. 

However, if this kind of talk is a regular occurrence in your life, it is a big fat warning sign that you have some serious issues and frustrations in your life that you are trying to avoid.

According to Psychology Today, psychologists study a concept called projection. Basically, projection is when you take all the nasty parts of yourself—the greed, the lust, the cruelty—and, instead of acknowledging them in yourself, push them out onto other people. 

When you say everyone seems like a total insensitive jerk, you are denying the part of yourself that’s an insensitive jerk. 

This also means that when discussing how politicians seems corrupt, you are denying the corrupt aspects of yourself. When you are constantly mocking people for being TV addicts, you are trying to avoid realizing how much time you waste on YouTube.

A good chunk of your conversations probably center around these themes. Realize that they need to stop.  

Become mindful of all the finger-pointing and criticism you give to other people and realize how you are trying to avoid seeing how you are guilty of the same things. 

Pry your floorboards up and take a look at your own mess.  If you want to clean up other people’s acts, you have to start with your own. 



Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Reflector Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Gossip only reflects the character of the gossiper