I love tea. I love the ambience of “ooh girl uh uh” and “no he/she didn’t.” However, when those small expressions recently came my way, I really had to evaluate my communication and topics of conversation amongst my folks. My kinfolks, friend folks, allat.
Gossip (n): casual or unconstrained conversation about other people, typically involving details which are not confirmed to be true.
Gossip (n): a person who likes talking about other people’s lives.
Gossip is addicting. We knowingly enjoy some good ole juicy mess, but we often fail to realize that a mess is still a mess. Of course, nobody wants to discuss business affairs all day. Yes, everyone needs a subject change every so often. Yes, talking about people is scarily refreshing because at least it’s not us, right? Wrong.
We need to get better at coming up with table topics that engage everyone in the conversation. If gossip arises, we need to know how to swerve it. We also need to know when a conversation is over. Ending a conversation does not have to be as awkward as it seems. It is not going to hurt either party whether in person or on the phone to say “Okay, I’ll talk to you later.” And be done. Let’s stop feeling like we have to explain ourselves in order to stop talking to someone for the moment or the day.
I learned this quote in elementary school. I applied this quote in middle school. I felt this quote in high school, and in college I reflected on this quote many a nights. Sometimes, because of past situations, reactions, and scenarios, people are quick to assume that you want to gossip. You think that you have to share the tea when it’s hot; but really, you don’t have to share the tea at all. You do not have to indulge at all!
The amount of Susie’s do not have to increase.
Do y’all remember the telephone game? It was all fun until you were Susie and someone messed up what you said so badly that you barely could remember what you initially said. Well today, the telephone game still exists except, phones and social media allow us to come with receipts. #ThisIsWhatYouSaidSusie
So how do we deal with the temptation of indulgence? Head on. Whether it is your closest family member or one of the homies, you have to be willing to hold folks accountable.
Let them know when the tea does not need to be shared. Our cup is not obligated to continuously runneth over with other people’s personal matters. Ask yourself this:
“If I was in so&so’s situation, would I want people discussing me without me being present to defend myself?”
No, you wouldn’t. Then, we have to really re-evaluate the Susie’s in our lives. Does Susie have some business of her own? If she does, why is she still discussing Sally’s business? How would Sally feel if she knew Susie was telling all of her business? How would I feel if I was Sally? If all you and Susie have to talk about is Sally than you need to start reflecting on your friendship.
If Susie is your kinfolk, you need to reflect on the depths of that relationship, too. Family doesn’t give anyone a clearance to be a gossip. You can’t surround your energy with people who are only focused on someone else’s demise or come-up. If Susie don’t have any business of her own then you don’t have any business talking to her.
Yes, other people’s issues is subject for great debates an dialogues. The issue comes in when we specify the “who’s”, the “he/she’s” and the “my friend.” If you MUST gossip, practice discretion. Stop name-dropping. Also, if you are caught gossiping, accept the charges pressed against you. Do not try to justify your actions, fix them. If I say something about Sally, am I able to say it to her as well? In these situations, your self-control is a huge factor. You deciding what is worth engaging and indulging in is very important.
I know that gossip is sometimes inevitable. It will catch you off guard, you will be baited and probed into participating, and you will WANT to get that tea while it is hot. I know. I am just here to tell you that you are not obligated to follow suit. It is okay and acceptable to choose a better route, and stop conversations before they go too far. It is okay to not know details of someone else’s lives. It is okay to use tact and accountability when confronting peers about their conversational messiness. If we aren’t here to learn and grown, then what are we really doing?
Let’s stop discussing everyone’s business and be sure to get some of our own.