Have ya’ll ever played the game “Telephone”? If you attended any form of summer camp, played any sport, or take a form of anti-depressant, I am sure you have. For those that probably never played with the amazingness that was the colored parachute either, I will explain briefly. Telephone is a game where a group of people sit in a circle and one person starts out whispering a sentence to the person sitting next to them and so on and so forth. Simplistically, the goal is to get the last person to hear the sentence after completing the circle to repeat verbatim how the original sentence was stated. Sounds easy right? How many of you that have partaken in this activity had the person at the end actually say it correctly? I am going to go ahead and say zero to five.
The very obvious undertone of this silly game was how quickly something, passing from ear to ear, can get turned into something 100% different. The lesson…gossip. Most associate gossip with their teenage years when it seemed as though the world was ending if you got in a fight with a friend or boyfriend or people had a negative perception of you; as it turns out, even in adulthood gossip exists…and is even worse.
9 times out of 10 whatever you hear via a third party about a person is false. Albeit probably stemming from some kind of truth; the more ears that try and interpret whatever may be said, the more twisted it gets.
Why, as grown men and women, do we feel the need to talk about others negatively? Let me interject my own writing and say I am guilty of this too; however nothing I say behind anyone’s back I haven’t either already said to their face or wouldn't say to their face. Let’s say I am playing Devil’s advocate here. What are the REAL reasons people feel the need to speak on people without hearing any of what they are repeating from the horse’s mouth? Is society that desperate for conversation people have to find common ground by conversing about the bad things they've heard or THOUGHT they've seen regarding another person? Are people really that malicious they would legitimately go out of their way to smear someone’s name? Have we lost sight of “if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all”? The answer is yes.
Think about your conversations with your friends; do you talk about politics, movies, current events? Probably; but compare that to how often you speak about other people. Be it friends, enemies, boyfriends, family etc. Personally, it’s shocking to actually examine the amount of time we spend talking about other people; whether good or bad. The gossip and negative statements however seem to trump the positive statements about people while around others. Why? Because “they’re great” isn't interesting. “Blah Blah slept with so and so” is interesting. Why do you think the media never tells stories about how Johnny Manziel gave his only ticket to the green room during the draft to a 5 yr old boy who is suffering from cancer he’s been visiting for years? Borrrrring. (it’s true by the way). How sad is it that good is boring? People would rather talk about him getting arrested…in which is a perfect example of believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see. People want to hear juicy gossip, not your opinion on Boehner's lawsuit on Obama.
Some people don’t understand the effects of gossip. Young people are literally killing themselves over it, As adults, a “bad reputation” could cost you friends, relationships, jobs even…so why are we putting each other through this? Yeah so and so may have made a mistake or what not; guess what…we all make a million mistakes every day. Some people think it’s just their town or city and once they move it will go away…it never goes away. People will always talk. Period.
My point is this, be yourself, that’s all you can do. If people say things about you either own it, set the record straight or turn the other cheek; it’s not worth getting upset over because there really isn’t anything you can do to change it, except be honest. The other half to this point I am carrying on way too long is limit the negative talk about people if you don’t know actual facts. I get trying to protect a brother or sister or friends from someone you “heard” wasn’t a great person. Let’s be honest, we are adults, we make our own decisions and own judgments; get to know a person before you repeat something that has gone through the telephone. You never know if whatever hearsay you are repeating could damage a person’s life in a big way; because unfortunately, people don’t take in to consideration the reverse distillation of gossip.