“Only the spoon knows what is in the pot.”
This morning it is a very delicate thing that weighs on my mind. I owe a friend an apology and she doesn’t even know it. And if I do apologize it will open her up to a hurt she does not need to feel right now. I will blog about it in the abstract and maybe one day, when the betrayals all come to light, I will be there to help her.
We are not very long acquainted and not yet close. Yet I have wronged her. I have wronged her by listening to idle gossip.
There is the argument we absorb growing up and growing wise that gossip is harmful, hurtful and should be avoided. We understand in theory the importance of honesty and minding ones own business. But driving to a social event with friends and having them say “Oh Bushlings you are going to meet my friend X. Be careful with her and don’t believe a word she says” or to each other “I saw her yesterday you know, with another man. Do you think Y knows?” or worse yet “Poor Y, have no idea what he’s doing with that X”. It can even be as indirect as saying “Boy oh boy that X, she is something else.” The tones are advisory, disapproving, warning, and downright self-righteous. But it leaves the most discerning listener questioning is this a fair warning? Are they doing me a favour?
No. It is gossip. It is taking a bucket of proverbial red paint and throwing it all over someone’s first impression not yet made. They don’t stand a chance.
In this case I met the victim and was wary. Her honest overtures of friendship were dissected and examined before I took the step of opening my heart. When I did it was after a long reprimanding conversation with myself and a long exploratory one with her. I learned a few of the untruths of the stories for myself but got to the question of “why is it any of my business anyway?” Only the spoon knows what is in the pot.
It made me mindful of the dangers of influence and the responsibility we have to think for ourselves. She may have needed a friend in the time it took me to flush the gossip out of my system and I would have been distant and inaccessible by my judgments. I would never have known, so caught up was I in the manufactured poor impression maliciously made. Only when I made the conscious decision to be gracious and allow the friend the chance to make her own way into my impression did I learn what a giving, open, caring, honest and lonely person she was. Isolated more still by malicious gossip.
It made me wonder how many others had heard the snide comments, loose-lipped remarks. It made me question how many of these remarks have been made about me? Has there been a preamble to every introduction these ‘friends’ have made? Who gives them the right to decide how the world should see me? Her? Anyone?
Rather than send myself crazy and dwell on the gossipers I have decided to examine myself. Should I tell her? Do I reach out enough? Do I keep my mind open enough? How should I be dealing with the conversations like these that happen around me? How do I not only protect myself from their influence but stop them from happening – at least in my presence -in the first place?
Do you have stories about gossip? How do you recognize it? How do you deal with it? What would you do in my position?