Who is worse in this situation? So and So or that “dear” friend who has come back to you with the tale? Tough call.
You see, gossip survives only one way, it is repeated. It can’t live unless there is a willing ear that in its turn transmits through the mouth. If the mouth stays closed? The gossip dies. “Dear” friend is allowing the gossip to be perpetuated. Be suspicious of “Dear” friend. People are strange animals who seem to feed off the mishaps or mistakes of others. It allows them to feel better about themselves, somehow. “Dear” friend is repeating the gossip to you, you best believe that it doesn’t stop at your ear. A reaction is required from you and added to the gossip. “Dear” friend may return to the gossip with your reaction, thereby creating more gossip and so on and so on and so on…
Gossiping is an integral part or parcel of society. People love dirt. They love to see the strong brought to heel. The mighty crumble, etc. The strong do not heel to gossip. The mighty do not crumble with cruel words or suppositions. These things usually make them stronger, mightier.
The real trick to this gossip thing is to rise above it; refuse to listen to it and not give it breath by repeating it. It isn’t really that hard a thing to do but humanity tends to prefer the low road, it is the road most travelled apparently.
No one can change it. People have baggage, everyone has baggage. When confidences are broken and the baggage exposed? Communities go berserk and fall over each other trying to get the latest piece of “news”. Communities can discuss the issue until the cows come home, it won’t change a thing. You cannot change human nature; you can, however, change yourself. How many are willing to undertake this job? I’d put it at about 5% of the population. And I believe I’m being generous.
Somebody comes to you with a tale…you can simply say that you aren’t interested in hearing it, something that may be a too tough for most people. You can let it in one ear and out the other but once the words are out, the impression is made and depending on the information, it may colour your view of the subject. You can go to the person starring in the “gossip” and ask for the truth but you know? It really isn’t any of your business.
We have the responsibility for what goes on in our own lives and that should be enough to keep us all busy without sticking our nose into the business of others.
Some helpful advice? Never trust those who repeat gossip, for in repeating the gossip, they are as bad as the original gossiper themselves. Gossip has only one lifeline and that lifeline is repetition. Cut it and it dies.