Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sweet Secrets

Gossip is like sugar: it can be really bad for us but we just love the stuff. Why is that?

I think the popularity of gossip comes from two basic elements: the first is summed up in the old saying that "knowledge is power." Everyone wants to be in the know, right? Everyone wants to be the first one to tell the news. The second element is the sense of belonging. If you have a secret to tell about someone else, or if someone shares a secret with you, there's a bond between the two of you. Kind of an instant "us" situation, as in shared secret knowledge between "us." No wonder the people sharing the gossip can get such a warm fuzzy from it! Unfortunately, the person being gossiped about is frequently in a position to get hurt, which is what makes gossip a twisty, slippery, and very often nasty thing to handle.

Is all gossip bad? Maybe not. It's pretty harmless to share the news that Jenny's hot cousin is coming to stay at her house for the summer again this year, or that Wyatt was the first to get a job at the new clothing store at the mall. Once we cross into the territory of spreading tales about someone's really personal stuff, though, that's when the change comes in. Like with sugar, that's when the line is crossed from nibbling a couple of cookies to chowing down an entire cake with ice cream on the side and a candy bar chaser.

So maybe think of gossip as a very sweet dessert. It's okay to have a little serving of it, but if you have too much, well, remember that the initial rush feels super, but the subsequent crash can feel really bad for a long time after.

Ophelia Julien, author of Hunting Spirits coming May 2009 from Quake


Norm Cowie said...

(psst... did you hear ... , um, what's that in your ear? Is it sugar? why do you have sugar in your ear?)



Martin Bartloff said...

All I hear sugar, cake and desert, I'm hooked Gal! I didn't know Jenny had a hot cousin either :-)


Ophelia Julien said...

Sugar in my ear? Are you spreading stories about me, Norm???

Alyssa Montgomery said...

That is so true, Ophelia! Gossip really does become pretty bad when too many people 'eat it as dessert'.


Pam Ripling said...

Great analogy. I think a lot of people "partake" of gossip without even realizing they do it.

I have a friend named Joni. Joni is one of the nicest people you'd every want to meet. One of the first things I noticed about her when we first met was that she never gets involved in gossip or hearsay. In fact, if someone says something bad about someone else, she'll likely make a contrasting statement, bringing up possible reasons why this person may be the subject of negativity.

My friend has unknowingly helped me to become less tolerant of gossip.