rebelling against low expectations

How do you avoid gossip?


EMILY WRITES: Last night I was a party with my friends. Note that it wasn’t a stereotypical party — it was a pizza party for my soccer team. The parents were home and everything.

The girls had finished eating and sat around to talk. Pretty soon, everyone was talking about their friends behind their backs and saying things that shouldn’t have been said. I tried to change the subject multiple times, but it didn’t work.

I hate gossip. What should I do in these situations?

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  • I know everyone hates to be the wet blanket, but if changing the subject doesn’t work you may need to just speak up and ask them if they would enjoy their friends talking about them that way. If they ignore you, don’t just sit in silence; leave the situation. If this is a recurring thing, talk to an adult. Gossip is not harmless and if someone gets wind of what has been said about them, at the least they will be hurt and at the worst they could think of ending their own life. It happens. I haven’t had a lot of experience with stuff like this (if a rumor’s going around or something happened I’m usually the last person to hear it) so please look at other people’s comments (please comment, guys!) too. And try talking to your parents. They probably know a whole lot more than we do and they probably know more about the situation and the people in it. ~AnnaGrace

    • So true!
      It’s incredibly hard and may depend on the situation, but
      gossip is so poisonous. It can rip a community so easily. There are
      several ways people have suggested to shut gossip down. I’d go with a
      subtle turning of the conversation before resorting to telling people
      outright that it’s wrong. But it will probably be worth it speaking up if that’s the only option.

  • Hmmm, three different things you could/should try, Emily.

    1. Tell them to stop (basically what @disqus_MZjnX3x57n:disqus said).
    2. If that doesn’t work, leave.
    3. Hang out with guys (I’ve literally never had a problem with gossip before). XD

  • Basically what Josh said. Respectfully ask them to stop, and that usually goes better if you voice that as a conscientious objection rather than simply a “I don’t wanna do dat.”

  • Tough question! I have been in similar situations. For me, I either try to change the subject, ignore everyone-which involves sitting alone in a corner and snack on pizza or cookies, or simply walk away. I haven’t found a perfect solution yet, still trying 🙂

  • i guess you should show a good example and don’t do it, then your friends will follow after you, say a few good things for every mean thing someone says.

  • I agree with what everyone else has already said. 😉
    I tend to try to change the subject, but that can be difficult sometimes. One tactic which has been helpful to me for shutting down gossip is just to say something nice about the person being discussed. And also asking the main gossip questions, since if the main perpetrator is distracted, the discussion probably won’t continue. And like others have already said, address the problem, and leave the discussion. I really appreciate the question and everyone’s comments, as I’ve been trying to figure out how to deal with this issue lately!

  • Yes… I try to change the subject (sometimes… guilty some other times) and other times just walk away from the conversation with some remark like “I don’t think I would like people spreading that about me, so I have no part in this.” That usually makes people think twice before they say anything else.

  • I don’t know if you can necessarily *avoid* hearing gossip, but you can certainly set an example by not taking part in gossip sessions. My softball team gossips 24/7, but I never listen or gossip with them. They’ve noticed this and they know that I don’t like it.
    Honestly we cant change a person or their habits, but we can be a godly influence.

  • Well, first of all, good for you! It’s great that you hate gossip enough to take action; part of my problem is that I hate the *idea* of gossip versus the temptation of the actual thing applied to real life.

    However, I think there is a point where you’ve basically done the best you can and can’t really do anything else to combat it. You aren’t responsible for others’ actions; they are accountable for themselves to God.

    One way that might help, though, is saying something good about the person/people, even if the gossip might be true. Add something more God-honoring to the conversation, and maybe that might help.

    Or you can walk away from the conversation. That might have to be the end result.

  • One time I was going on about how annoying so-and-so was and my friend just said “But he tells the best puns…” It wasn’t meant to be some grand lesson, but it yanked my thoughts away from his faults and to my own offended pride. I’ve really had to train myself to focus on the good in people when I’d rather be all high and mighty. (As if I’m not just as bad.)

    So, all that to say try to keep the peace, even if it means dropping an awkward bomb. And find a way to (graciously) confront any sin behind the immediate problem.Anyway, hope this helps! 🙂

  • Let your words be few. Walk quietly away. Avoid people who you know are gossips.
    Use only uplifting speech when in groups. Pursue righteousness in your life.

    Ecclesiastes 5:2-3 Do not be quick with your mouth,do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. A dream comes when there are many cares, and many words mark the speech of a fool.

    • Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

      There is a time for everything,
      and a season for every activity under the heavens:

      2 a time to be born and a time to die,
      a time to plant and a time to uproot,
      3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
      a time to tear down and a time to build,
      4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
      a time to mourn and a time to dance,
      5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
      a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
      6 a time to search and a time to give up,
      a time to keep and a time to throw away,
      7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
      a time to be silent and a time to speak,
      8 a time to love and a time to hate,
      a time for war and a time for peace

      Note that there are times to speak. Confronting your friends when they do wrong is part of friendship.

  • I would definitely agree with @brooklynmm:disqus in saying that you can’t avoid hearing gossip entirely. The best thing to do is to not participate in the gossip going around, and if directly asked, though easier said than done, say that you’d rather not talk about people behind their backs. This will make them think, and if nothing else, realize that trying to get you to gossip isn’t going to work.

    Another thing that you may or may not want to do, is hang out with different people. I have one or two really good friends who are girls that don’t gossip, and that took a very long time to obtain. The easiest way to avoid the most gossip is to hang out with guys. Hate to say it, but they’re typically much better about that than our gender. The last word of advice I would give you is to pray about it. You have to handle different people in different ways, and some things that work for shutting down gossip in my friends may not work for yours.

  • I know people have already mentioned this, but I just want to tell you: The sin is not in accidentally hearing the gossip. It is in purposefully listening to it and/or participating in it. As girls, I think we have a tendency to gossip a lot more than guys. I have no idea why…that’s just the way we are wired. Sometimes, I think it’s even easy to gossip and not realize it! I know there have been times where in my wonderful christian circle of friends, (there are girls and guys..I have 4 brothers, so I tend to hang out and get along with the guys a lot! haha) one of us will bring up something, and before you know it, we’re a full-blown circle of gossiping friends and truly don’t realize for a while! Someone usually finally does and says, “Hey guys…maybe we should change the subject, because what we’re talking about isn’t very nice.” We’ve even apologized to each other before for having included them in something we shouldn’t have started because we know that our actions weren’t appropraite or God-honoring! So I commend you for being able to notice gossip right away! I even struggle with that oftentimes! I’m often one of the ones my friends are reminding not to gossip…

    So, my point, I don’t know if the girls on your soccer team are Christians or not, but either way, there is NOTHING wrong with speaking up and saying, “Hey guys, there’s a problem here!” (maybe not in those exact words..but ya know…). Maybe the girls didn’t realize what they were doing was gossiping!! And if they don’t stop, then ( I KNOW it’s tough) just walk away. Maybe they weren’t noticing your hint at a subject change….( i know I haven’t before..) But if you mention it, then they might realize!

    Also, if your friends aren’t Chrisitans, then this is possibly a good opportunity to share about Christ with them! If they look at you funny when you mention that they shouldn’t be doing this, then it’s your chance to say, “My desire is be like my Savior who died for me. And I know he doesn’t like it when I participate in saying things that are hurtful to others, so I don’t want to talk about this anymore!” And then if they still don’t listen, then just stand firm and walk away…even though it’s tough! Because either way, even if it doesn’t feel like it, they will respect your integrity! Even if it’s deep down inside them… And you may even have a few followers that join you in leaving becasue you at least made them question what they were doing! Some may ignore your example, but you might be surprised at how many actually respect or follow it! =) I hope I have been able to help! I haven’t read all of the comments, so I apologize if some of what I said was repetition!

    • Oh this is perfect, now I don’t even need to comment! Truer words are seldom spoken. Okay that might just be flattery, 😀 Haha The last comment any way. 🙂

      • You guys are super nice! =) Although, I only have that advice because
        I’ve been in the middle of it before…So I’m unfortunately speaking
        from experience… =P But thank you Because your comments are so
        uplifting and encouraging to me!!!!

        • Well shucks! I suppose that IS true isn’t it!? Look how bashful I am! Haha And yes, gossip is an extremely easy trap to find ourselves in. And I am glad that we are uplifting! 😀 It’s what we Christians like to do on occasion! 😉

      • Ha! yeah. I almost wish I hadn’t posted before this came out, had I waited, I wouldn’t have needed to say anything. So for now, ’nuff said.

  • The timing for this question I find really amusing because I was just at camp and one night some of the girls in my cabin were gossiping about a girl in a different cabin because she was wearing immodest clothing, and I don’t like gossip either so I spoke up and said (exact words) “I respect that you all have your own opinions and are comfortable enough to voice them but this person you’re talking about is a person and has feelings and would probably be hurt if they knew what you’re saying about them.” Which in turn led to most of the people who were talking about her to stop. And effected me later on in the week in ways I never even thought about such as people trusting me(who I had just met that week) wanting to talk to me about things and asking me for advice (I was asked for advice by 4 different girls over a period of about 15 minutes) because they knew I was real and actually cared/wanted to help. So I recommend stating that you’re not comfortable with gossip and trying to change the subject to something that’s not harmful and if that doesn’t work than distance yourself from the gossip. Of course that is just my experience and advice there are a lot of other comments with wonderful advice:) I hope it helps:)

    • That’s a super good point!!! I also find that if people are gossiping then I am less likely to trust them then the people who aren’t!! YES! Standing up for that proves very much that you are trustworthy!! Thanks for sharing!!!! VERY GOOD!!!

  • @lianaseager:disqus says that Gossip is why you go places. I have problems with Gossip. After my Dad got let go I was really bitter I had no trouble slandering the church. I’m not bitter any more and my Dad actually has found a new job about an hour away from us!

  • I have a question: What is gossip? I mean, what subjects and topics should be avoided? I have noticed that in my group of friends we do like to talk about things like who likes who and all that – would that be considered gossip?

    • Hi Selah!

      To answer your question. The dictionary says this:

      1. casual or unconstrained
      conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details
      that are not confirmed as being true

      2. a person who likes talking about other people’s private lives

      So topics that could offend and hurt the person that you are talking about is considered gossip. I did not even know what gossiping was until I said something to my mother and she told me that I was participating in gossip. So I will share what I gossiped about in order to give you an idea of what gossip is.
      We were all talking (me and my friends) and we stumbled upon the subject of a girl that had joined our school in the past for a little bit. She ended up leaving for an unknown reason. But I said to my best friend, “Honestly, I think that she was really snippy!” I didn’t know that my best friend was friends with this girl. So when she said, “Oh, I’m friends with her.” I felt SUPER bad about what I had said. After that incident I realized that talking behind a person’s back was gossip. And I realized how many of my schoolmates gossiped too. So I swore that I would never participate in any gossip anymore.

      I hope that answered your question! Let me know if you have any other questions about what I just said.


  • People have said some great things on this thread. attempting to change the topic, expressing that you think gossip is wrong, and simply walking away are options that can be tailored to unique situations. I hate gossip. I wish it didn’t exist. But thank you for not ignoring the issue, and asking this DQ! Keep your head up, and keep looking to Jesus, Emily!

  • Even though a group of girls are gossiping, they may not realize it.

    I was with my friends one time, and they started to gossip. I got a bit annoyed with how disrespectful they became and told them to stop. Then THEY got very annoyed with me, thinking that it was just their opinion and what they were saying was true.

    People don’t like being told what they are doing is wrong, that is what is so hard about saying no to gossip. But, even if they are “only expressing their opinion” that is no excuse to be rude. You may express your feelings and thoughts, but please remain kind and mindful of others.

  • I like everyone’s contributions they’re all great ideas 🙂
    But my favorite thing to do is always talk with kindness. When people realize how nice it feels to be complemented and to complement others, they will probably be less likely to gossip. Many of my friends aren’t Christian, and sometimes even the ones who are drift into a gossip session sometimes. I just try to do what a lot of you mentioned and say “hey, this person isn’t so bad! They’re super nice/good at _____/etc.” I think it’s definitely one way to shine our lights to the world. While walking away is sometimes necessary, I feel that you should try to talk nicely about everyone your group is gossiping about first. It’s kind of like the difference between being a bystander and being a helper to the person who’s being gossiped about. If they were there, wouldn’t you be ashamed to walk away and not stand up for them? The same goes for just sitting there and not saying anything. But as always, it depends on the situation of course. And if it becomes a big issue, I’d pray for the girls involved for sure.

  • my opinion would be to say something like “have you ever tried turning the other cheek and just being nice to them” sometimes kind advice works

rebelling against low expectations

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