Could this be true? Extroverts often perceive the introvert in their midst very negatively: solitary, antisocial, perhaps mentally ill, off in our own little world, passive, loner, nonverbal – the list could go on and on. Our natural inclination to be quiet, preferring solitude to the idle chitchat that goes on around us and requiring quiet to think sets us apart from the office social butterflies. That we are different and don’t socialize is immediately a hot topic around the water cooler at work or in a social situation: have personal experience with this. Gossip can and does escalate and it is never positive.
What is gossip, and how does the dictionary define it? Oxford defines it as “casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people typically involving details which are not confirmed as true.” Dictionary.com’s definition: “idle talk or rumour, especially about the personal or private affairs of others.” Another definition found described it as malicious talk, based on assumptions, innuendoes, erroneous beliefs and perceptions…basically ignorance. Occasionally, someone may actually try getting information from someone who isn’t providing what they want to know. I’ve actually had someone say to someone else standing nearby but clearly referring to me (the clue being they were looking in my direction LOL) ‘we’ll have to pump her for information!’ Apparently, the two co-workers believed I really wouldn’t have two clues what they intending. Somehow, people equate quiet people as being naïve or deaf, or stupid: perhaps all three?? Ummm, none of these in my case.
So why do people gossip and what motivates gossipers? The research on this topic was fascinating!
People gossip for various reasons:
- to humiliate and put others down
- out of spite, just because they can
- because they will benefit in the end result, such as looking better in the boss’s eye (employment setting
- a deep rooted reason – the gossiper feels as if he/she is a much better person than the subject of the gossip
- feel superior
- out of boredom – these people need another hobby!
- out of envy – people gossip to hurt those whose popularity, talents or lifestyle they envy
- to feel like part of the group – when acceptance is based on being ‘in on a secret’, it is not based on a person’s identity but rather on exclusion or maliciousness
- for attention – person may be the centre of attention while divulging a juice bit of gossip but this is a temporary situation and has little foundation
- out of anger and unhappiness – sense of retribution with disparaging remarks
According to Eckhart Tolle, ego has much to do with gossiping. Some people suffer from a sense of inferiority than do others and they will do whatever it takes, including passing gossip around, to make themselves look better than others no matter what the cost.
People will gossip about things that happen and stretch them, causing more of an impact when disclosed. They will gossip about something that is completely untrue, making up the story causes such a rush on the gossiper – they get a power surge from this experience – that they can’t contain themselves and just spit out this story they’ve concocted in their own minds (probably have convinced themselves it’s true too lol)
The person who gossips about you is someone who carries some (or a lot) of resentment towards you and who doesn’t face the courage to face you directly. The person has no option other than dissing and discussing you in your absence. People will gossip about you if they’re jealous of you, if they aren’t strong enough to face you or if they feel worthless. They will attempt to make themselves more worthy by saying that or implying that they are better than someone else.
Is there a way to counteract gossip? Maybe.
If gossip is heard, you (yes you the introvert! lol) could try:
You seem to talk about _____ a lot. Why the interest? That this question would be posed by an introvert would blow the mind of a gossip.
Let’s take a look at things from ______’s side.
I’m more interested in what you’re up to. This statement might just have the gossip run for cover. It’s been an observation that gossips don’t generally want to reveal a whole lot about themselves but they love to dig dirt on others. Since gossips love to dig dirt so much, why don’t they take up gardening? It would give them a new hobby. LOL