Saturday, June 22, 2013

On Guard

This picture has absolutely nothing to do with this post. I just thought you might want to see a different view of my new haircut.

OK, now on to my problem of the week... gossip! I'm talking about those sneaky little situations that pop up and catch you off guard. 

I bet that any of you who have ever worked in a place with a lot of other employees, or maybe with just one other employee, have found yourself standing in the midst of turmoil.  You know what I am talking about, don't you? One person leaves the room and the others start talking about them. It usually is not talk wrapped in kindness. I hate that! I hate it even more if I realize it came out of my own mouth!

The thing I hate most about this is that it is soooooo easy to get sucked into the conversation! I want to be ON GUARD for this. I don't want to even give the appearance of confirming the mean things people say about each other. It is hard to do, though! It is easy to forget who I want to me in such a situation. It takes almost no effort to just ride along with the conversation. It is wrong, though.

I'm trying to prepare myself for such moments. Maybe then I will remember to say helpful words. I have decided that it is usually our own low self-esteem that makes it so tempting to bring others down. That really complicates the whole situation. How do you stop a gossipy situation from progressing without making others feel reprimanded or further demeaned themselves?

I am trying to come up with some set responses, things I have in my head and can access easily in the heat of the moment. Do any of you do this? Do you have any great ideas for me? I really think it is possible to do this and to get others to follow a more positive track in a discussion!

So, give me some ideas. If someone is saying snippy things about Mary Louse (I don't really know any Mary Louises) can I just interject something positive about her, such as "Mary Louise did a nice job cleaning off the desk this morning." ? In the moment I may not come up quickly with something positive that is unique to the situation or person. How about, "We all struggle with that sometimes, don't we?" That may work for a more wide variety of conversations.

I need some help here, people! Please give me some more one-liners that I can tuck into my little head. I want to have encouraging, kind and positive ways to do this. Give me some ideas!

While I wait for your responses, I'm going to memorize the following verse. It was in my daily e-mail message from KLOVE today and it really fits into what I've been needing lately.

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.
~ 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, NLT


Michelle said...

Wise words--and hard to live up to!

The really tricky thing is to discern when something may need to be said. There are situations like that. and I can think of two just off hand. Would the ultimate messes have been avoided if more people had spoken up? Only God knows. It can feel like gossip.

EJN said...

It has seemed to me in these situations, it hard for someone(s) to deal with a frustration and have courage to speak up in kindness. I try to say softly "Have you spoken to Mary Louise to let her know your thoughts on this matter?"
I agree with you about saying kind things about others.
It is really difficult and often I have gotten the "you'er so self-righteous" look - gossip is fun, and when we take action to step out of it - it get much the same reaction as taking candy from a chocolate covered toddler. No easier solution there.

Sue said...

I like that question. It does not reprimand or belittle but gently folds down the gossipy aspect. That way the person can speak up if needed, as Michelle points out sometimes someone NEEDS to speak up, but do so with the person involved in the matter, rather than everyone else. Thanks!

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