Not That Nice

Is any gossip harmless?

And Who Wouldn't Want to Hear It small

And Who Wouldn’t Want to Hear It

It’s been a long time,
but everybody in this town knows
It was
you’ll find out why
That’s where I come in.
what harm does it do
who wouldn’t want to
Tell a good story


4 thoughts on “Not That Nice

  1. A couple of years ago, in response to an article I read in the paper, I made a New Year’s resolution about gossip. A professor at UPenn had a website and the idea was to make a resolution that benefited others, not just yourself (such as the many resolutions to lose weight, stop smoking, etc.) One year I had pledged to donate art to charitable causes. That was too easy, I thought. This particular year I pledged to avoid gossip. I had to define gossip, first, and I decided that it would include talking about any person not present in the conversation and in a way that was hurtful, shaming, gloating, etc. So it was ok to mention someone’s new boyfriend but not to do a character analysis of that boyfriend to others. And only mention it if I could be positive and pass on good news in a good way. Surprisingly hard at first. The inclination is to criticize even tiny flaws and laugh at everyone. I really tried, though, and I could see a change in my thinking as time passed (although I was not perfect at this and still am not). Also hard not to follow others down the gossip path. I have gotten pretty good at deflecting conversations into better channels as time has gone on (and people who know me have learned I don’t participate, so I actually don’t hear these conversations so much to start with!) All in all, when I worked on this collage poem, it just seemed to fall into place. We forget that gossip can harm not only the objects of the talk, but it also causes your own thoughts to go in directions that are really not that nice.

    Thanks for listening to my poem and also allowing me to discuss this!

  2. That’s a really amazing commitment. It’s something that I would certainly like to make as well, knowing how hard it will likely be and how much work and thought and patience it will require. I’ve been thinking a lot about my own tendency to be judgmental lately, and wanting to find alternatives. I think of compassion as being a good place to channel thought that would be otherwise judgmental and it’s really impossible to engage is gossip while also committing to being compassionate.

  3. It’s hard to change your thoughts but it is not as hard to refrain from speaking, I think. But it seemed to me that when I tried to discipline my conversation, eventually I didn’t think the same way, either. It was a habit.

    I’ve had some interesting conversations in my attempts to avoid gossip and therefore trying to find another topic! And it’s also interesting to watch people’s reactions when you don’t follow them down the path of talking about someone else!

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