Hatching Free Range Ideas


In Uncategorized on August 29, 2013 at 7:09 pm

Last week a friend of mine and I talked about another friend. She later felt that she had engaged in gossip, which of course, pulled me into the question, “Did I engage in gossip?”

Here’s what I came up with. I shared a personal experience about an interaction between me and that friend. It seems to me that if you are sharing your own stories, that’s not gossip, it’s personal perspective. It’s when you share the stories of other people that it becomes something else.

What do you think? Are stories of personal experience gossip? What is gossip anyway? I don’t mean what is the definition that you find in text books and business books and on the web. What does the word mean to you? Is it always negative?

  1. It is a fine line. If you really share only your own experience, without speculating on the other person’s experience, intent, motives, etc., then it probably isn’t gossip. Did you betray a confidence? Was there even the reasonable expectation of a confidence, though it might not have been spoken aloud? Do you feel comfortable telling the friend that you shared her story in the context of sharing your own? Did the might-have-been-gossip situation create distance between people? Usually sharing our stories helps create bonds, so if it caused distance between the story teller, the recipient, and/or the absent third party – that probably isn’t good. If we try to not tell stories that are not ours to share, we’re probably OK. Even if that means keeping some stories private when they reveal too much about another person. It really is hard to do when our friendships are all interwoven. And sometimes it is impossible to recognize in the moment. Good question to pose!

  2. Yep. Boundaries are good until they become barriers. Most of my friends know each other, so the question is salient.

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