Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Gossip Extinguishers - Tips on Facing Gossip in a Godly Way

Hi Friends,

I've been talking to Bethany about girl-gossip among her friends and how to keep from joining in when the gossip starts. As we were talking, I was reminded of some tips that I've learned on how to deal with gossip well. They were helpful to us, so I thought I'd share them with you all too because gossip-y stuff happens all too often.

"Do you know what Becky did now?" someone starts. "I can't stand the way Rachel comes in here acting like that," another says. "Mark is really starting to get on my nerves. Did you hear what he said to me last week?" The fire of gossip. It starts with a little spark, but it can turn into a destructive blaze.
Someone has said that we all go around with two hypothetical buckets. The first is filled with gasoline, and the other with water. When gossip starts, which bucket will we throw at the fire? Will we overturn our bucket of gasoline, making the situation worse? Or will we squelch the fire with our bucket of water?

These are the tips I suggest for dousing the fire with the water of wisdom:

1) Respond with a positive comment. Point out a good trait about the person. Say, "That could be true, but what I really like about Becky is..."

2) Show sincere concern for the person being talked about. Demonstrate that the proper response to someone who may be stumbling is to love and support them. Say something like, "Rachel must be struggling with something right now. I need to be praying for her."

3) Point toward resolution by saying something like, "Have you talked to Mark about that? I'm sure he wouldn't want you feeling that way."

4) If none of those responses work, try to disagree politely and turn away. For example, "Hmm, I guess I've never noticed that about him. I've always found him rather considerate."

5) Lastly, gently guide the gossiper away from complaining and toward helping. You can say something like, "How nice that you're concerned about Becky. Perhaps she has a need that you and I can meet. How do you think we can help her?"

Bethany and I decided that by keeping an attitude of love and servanthood, we can throw water onto the complaints of others, and so save one another from being burned up by the fire of gossip. Now, we'll see how well it works in the everyday world of 4th grade girlhood!