Military Life: Politicians, Military Spouses and the Gossip Monger

October 15, 2012

Direction Moment: There is no good that comes from listening to or fueling gossip, stop it and show the world your true character.

I love this Spanish proverb. It really says it all doesn’t it?

Sadly we live in a society that thrives on reality T.V., Honey BooBoo, gossip and rumors.  People love to stir things up and focus on all that is going wrong.  Just look at the political arena right now, the candidates are highlighting all the gossip, mistakes and short comings of their opponents rather than standing on their own strengths.

But the place that I have been seeing the “gossip monger” rearing it’s ugly head the most is right here in my own back yard.  Right here on my post. Right here in my military community. It seems that so many people are focused on sharing other people’s dirty laundry that I sometimes wonder if there really is a need reality T.V. I mean don’t we have enough stress to deal with?

One of the things my granny and mom used to say was “If you don’t have something nice to say don’t say it at all“.  So why is it that the moment politicians and military spouses (yes I know that others do it too, but if I went THERE this post would become a novel :) ) learn something negative, they rush to put it out there? Why instead of squelching the gossip and rumors do they fuel them? Why must people stir things up and shed an unflattering light on those around them?

Wouldn’t it be better if the moment someone started a conversation with “hey did you know….” we excused ourselves and refused to listen? With gossip and rumors it takes 2 to tango. So if you decide that you won’t be an active listener, you essentially squelch the gossip before it starts.

Imagine what the elections would be like if gossip and rumors were squelched the moment someone tried to start them.  Imagine how much more supportive our military community could be to one another if we didn’t worry about the rumors that would start when we sought help with the challenges we face?

Gossip and rumors prevent us from the truth, they prevent us from getting the support and encouragement that we need to thrive. And you have the power to change that, YOU can make a difference.  Each of us has the ability to stop gossip and rumors dead in their tracks, we just have to start by first refusing to listen and then by asking ourselves the following questions:

  1. Do I need to tell this or do I just want to?
  2. Will this information put the person in an unflattering light or will it hurt them to hear?

If you answer these questions, and you see that listening or sharing the information isn’t flattering, will hurt someone’s feelings or is just something to talk about, choose to walk away.  Choose not to participate. And choose to put out the fire rather than stoke it. It will make a difference.

You see I have learned if you listen to gossip, you become a gossip. If you hang out with people who put others down, you will do the same. And if your friends are judgemental, you will become judgemental. So the next time the pot begins to stir, politely excuse yourself, or defuse the gossip by highlighting the victims good and defending them.  It doesn’t matter if you agree , what matters is that gossip spreads hate, and you are choosing to stop it.

Always speak the highest of others. Always find the good. Always stand up for the people weaker than yourself.   And like I’ve talked about in the blog post “Who are you surrounded by…it matters” , always surround yourself with people who lift others up. We can make a difference. We can stop the gossip, we just have to choose to do so.

It’s important for others, and it’s important for you, because we both know that the gossip mongers and rumor mills are one chat away from throwing someone else under the bus, and it just may be you. I mean do you really think if they are talking about others and spreading hate, that for one minute they aren’t talking about you as well?

Think about it, and then choose how you react the next time someone says “Did you know…”!

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