Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Gossip - It's Corrosive.

I'm just getting to this now, at almost 10pm, because I went off for lunch with a group of friends. We went on a day trip, to the small fishing village in which I lived for 7 years. It was a gloriously sunny day, the food was incredible, the scenery stunning, and the laughter non-stop. We had a wonderful time.

The only part of the day which I didn't enjoy, was a short interlude in which one of the newer members of our group was gossiping about one of us who'd had to leave early - making a value judgement. No-one made any reply, the comments fell into one of those silences which naturally occur in conversation, and then we all sat there uncomfortably, until someone started up with rather strained small-talk, and the day continued.

Gossip is relentlessly negative. It's condemning, insulting, judgemental, and a waste of time and energy. I feel strongly enough about this, that I've been in the position of holding up a hand to stop someone mid-flow, and said, as kindly as I'm able, "I don't want to hear it, please."

It wasn't appropriate to make that statement today, for various reasons, and I didn't want to embarass the speaker, but I found it painful to listen to even a few sentences of gossip. It felt so mean. For me, it cast a pall upon the next few minutes of the day, and it brought me up short - I've gotten spoiled in 12-Step, not having to be exposed to gossip on a regular basis.

I also realised that it was startling because it was so unusual in this group of friends. Even though I'm the only one in 12-Step, these folks don't indulge in that sort of speculation and intrigue, and it was a jarring note on an otherwise lovely day.

I pondered it for a few moments, then made a decision to let it go, and accept, and dive back into the intense enjoyment of a marvellous lunch, and otherwise excellent conversation. I felt blessed. I still do.

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