Gossip was something we all loved to do in high school. Ohhhh, Sally’s going out with Harry. Did you hear about Elizabeth and Tommy breaking up? Steve and Matt got in a fight after first period! Did you see what Charlene was wearing? Johnny said that if Zack gave him one more wedgie…
Something happened after I graduated high school…I stopped giving a shit about all that noise. I outgrew it. I don’t care about what people whom I don’t know or like are doing. I could care less who’s banging who, who got fired, who got written up, how someone got that promotion, or who said what about who. If it doesn’t affect me I…don’t…care.
Surprisingly, gossip didn’t outgrow me once I left high school. It happens at work. It happens among friends. It happens at church (not that I go anymore). It happens fucking everywhere. When I left the twins’ mother I was inundated with questions from coworkers about my sexual habits because, according to rumor, I was suddenly sleeping with 6 different women at work. I only wish I had been having that much sex, but it was all untrue. In fact, a month after I left my first wife is when I started dating my second, so I certainly wasn’t sleeping around.
Frankly, I was astounded and completely perplexed people were talking about me. Why? I mean, I’m a cool guy and all, but why did so many people care who I was allegedly sleeping with? None ya bidness, bitches.
Since I left that job I’ve worked a handful of IT jobs, mostly jobs with only a handful of coworkers. There are very few women in the IT industry, so if I was allegedly sleeping with any of those few I didn’t hear about it. Less coworkers means less gossip, and that’s one part of my current job I appreciate.
When I began blogging on WordPress, I was amazed by the supportive community. When I finally began revealing bits and pieces of myself, most notably after Superbitch (I’d like to remind everyone again that she picked out that moniker, not me) left me. I began to speak about my separation, my depression, and finding out how shitty a husband I had been. The support and encouragement I received from fellow WordPress bloggers floored me. Random people, and the couple of regular readers I had at the time, showed me love and congratulated me on my self-discoveries and for seeking help. It…was…amazing.
From that point forward I began accumulating blogging buddies. I connected with many fellow bloggers on Facebook and Twitter. Some of those connections went even further, but that’s a blog post I’ll never write, and you can’t make me. Unfortunately, some of the friendships I had cultivated have flamed out for some reason or another. It sucks, but it’s part of life.
Another part of life, I’m still finding out, is gossip. And rumors. I am continually amazed by the sheer amount of misinformation floating around cyberspace in the wake of some of these failed friendships. I get that there’s sometimes hard feelings, whether justified or not, but honestly it makes the person running their mouth look extremely petty. Don’t people have anything better to do with their time than create rumors? Wouldn’t, you know, moving on and living your life be a more productive use of time? I mean, if you’re talking about me then you’re wasting your time, especially if you’ve decided I’m someone you no longer want in your life.
Frankly, I don’t understand the inherent need some folks have to gossip. When I have an issue with somebody I don’t normally talk about it with others because I don’t like to make someone else look bad, even with the truth. For instance, I didn’t tell my mother about the abuse I’d endured at the hands of my first wife until after I had left. She didn’t come out and say she thought I was lying, but the look on her face was pretty much screaming it. “Well, you’re the one that’s there, so you’d know,” she told me at the time. Weeks later when my ex practically beat down her door and commanded my mother to make me come home my mom realized I hadn’t been lying and saw for herself how unstable my ex really was.
It saddens me when people feel the need to concoct untrue stories about someone to turn others against them. Does it really make one feel better to destroy someone’s character under false pretense? Do people derive some perverse joy out of turning one person against another with a twisted version of reality? Or are rumor mongers just assholes?
This morning another blogger told me that she had heard I’d done something rather unpleasant with a blog post a couple of years ago. I assured her that I did not, in fact, commit this act which had been described to her. Hours later, she apologized to me for even entertaining the idea that I had and told me she now knew I was telling the truth. I’m guessing the blogger either confronted the source or found another source. I really don’t know. I’m just glad the truth came out.
This is the sort of thing gossip can do. It can damage relationships. Friends turn on each other. Spouses separate. Bridges are burned. Bitterness. Hatred. Anger. (The dark side are they.) Distrust. It’s all so pointless and preventable. There is absolutely no justifiable reason to make shit up about someone else and spread that lie. You’re not just hurting your intended target, but you’re also hurting all the people who hear, and believe, the lie you’ve concocted.
So the next time you get pissed at somebody and feel the need to hurt them by perpetuating lies about that person, don’t. I nearly lost another friend (or at least her trust) because of that bullshit today, and it’s fucking reprehensible. And the worst part is, I have no idea who is doing it, so I have no one to get in touch with to resolve whatever the issue is this person has with me.
How would you like it if someone were gossiping or spreading rumors about you?