Gossip is saying something behind a person’s back, and what you would never say to his or her face. Flattery, on the other hand is saying to his or her face what you would never say behind their back.
There is nothing that causes more harm than thoughtless, inappropriate words. The wrong words can destroy relationships you have with your coworkers and could even destroy the business you have with your customers.
Some people THINK (Yours truly, at once upon a time, and occasionally even now!) think that there is no need to worry about such things.
All you have to do is tell the truth. After all, honesty is the best policy.
Well Yes and No! I would never advocate telling a lie, and I would never endorse gossip or flattery.
HOWEVER, PLAIN OLD HONESTY CAN SOMETIMES BE HARSH, BRUTAL, OR PURPOSELY USED TO HURT SOMEONE ELSE.
People just do not like it when they express themselves directly – Believe me, it is a fact!
I think it would be safe to go with “INTELLIGENT HONESTY.”
In other words, before you give feedback to someone…THINK.
To put it specifically, before you talk about someone, ask yourself these FIVE questions.
The first question to ask yourself is, “Is It TRUE?” That is to say, whether, what you are about to relay is not hunch, rumor, guess, or gossip. Whether, you have the evidence, and you know that your comment is absolutely true. (Naturally, this absolves all lawyers, or they would be without a job!) (But sometimes, gossip may help a lawyer!)
The next question to ask yourself would be “Whether It Would Be HELPFUL?” Extrapolating, whether what you are about to relay is Useful or Helpful to anyone or someone. (Naturally, this absolves all consultants, or they too would be without a job!) (Gossip is different).
Your next question should be “Is It INSPIRING?” inferring that, whether this is something that a leader would say or do, and which would have an Inspirational effect on someone. (Preachers make a killing here!) (Again, Gossip is different).
Then ask yourself, “Whether Is It NECESSARY?” Sometimes people need to know that their behavior is ineffective or inappropriate. So talk to them, not about them. At other times, your comment would not serve any useful purpose… so let it pass!
Finally, ask yourself, “Is It KIND?” You may be upset with someone else, but you do not have to make your comment in a disrespectful manner. You may want additional business with a particular customer, but you shouldn’t deceitfully flatter the customer to make the sale. It just is not Kind (Unfortunately, I have done this many a time, at a time when it was my line of work – there are times you have to bull-shit to make a sale, so I am not referring to salespeople or marketers here, because that is their job!). (But this does apply, when your intent is to sell gossip).
If you can answer “yes” to all the above questions, then, it would be safe to go ahead, and make your comments. However, if you answer is in the negative or “no” to any of the questions, then PLEASE SHUT UP!
Don’t say anything.
So why do most of us continually violate these rules?
Psychologically, there are three common reasons why we inappropriately share information.
The first one is because I or we want to feel important. Being the first to know the news meant enough to justify that I or we were willing to take the chance that it might be false.
For example, any cut and paste from the Social Media!
The second reason is that we love to get a laugh. If the information we possess is just too funny to keep to ourselves, we often share it, even when it’s at someone else’s expense.
And the third reason is the most disturbing one, in that it involves our wanting to HURT someone. In this case, we knowingly pass on information, not because it’s true or necessary or kind, but simply because WE ARE AWARE THAT IT WILL DO HARM!
Please do not do this, it could be your turn tomorrow!
Ask yourself these questions before you speak, and you will get in to a lot less trouble, and get a lot better results.
Quite honestly, I have never met anyone who did not occasionally succumb to the temptation, to pass on some gossip that failed at least one of the above ACID tests.
To speak the truth, I/ we love to gossip and gossip behind someone’s back and making fun of them, but at safe limits (with no intention to harm them…and as long as Pups and me have a good laugh). We make fun of celebrities, friends, ourselves and just about anything as long as it would give us a laugh and de-stress us. There are things you wouldn’t believe that we make fun of and gossip and I am certain that we are in privileged company… as everyone loves to do it.
In short, we are the bitchmedia.com!
But, if she goes and gossips this to her group of friends or vice-versa, then it is trouble for both of us, and predictably, either of us may end up facing the consequences, depending on whose friend did the social broadcast.
So, let us THINK before we cut and paste, and remind ourselves of these FIVE questions.
THINK – True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, And Kind.
These FIVE can make a big difference in how we are — or aren’t — the kind of people we want to be.
(This is not a Sunday School, but it would help if we followed this a bit!)
So make certain that you at least give a cursory glance at that those Acid Tests, the next time you’re about to reveal some information. You’ll be glad you did.
As a closing line…
Do you want to know, who, Pups friend was seen with last week… Tee hee !
Call me and I’ll spill the beans!
Tell me more!