St. James Park

Mind your own business

Canadians have a problem with minding their own business. I am aware that gossipers tend to be unhappy, even unhealthy individuals. They may be bored.

Gossip is a necessary human behaviour. It will never go away, I understand that. Not all of it is negative. It’s natural to be curious about friends and how they are doing and getting on with life.

When I say I don’t like gossip I’m referring to the spreading of mean-spirited conjecture about an individual. I hate to be a person who defines words, but conjecture means forming an opinion or conclusion on the basis of incomplete information.

So you may hear something about someone and then you get together with your friends and attempt to create a fully formed narrative about what you think you’ve learned. And I say ‘think’ for a reason, because what you think isn’t necessarily correct, in fact, it rarely is.

That’s not only dangerous, irresponsible and mean, it’s simply none of your business.

I don’t like when people involve themselves in other people’s private lives, when they’re irresponsible with those lives. I don’t like watching people take the small snippets of what they think they know about someone and blow those details out of proportion.

I don’t enjoy watching as someone attempts to change the perception others have about another individual. It’s manipulative, careless and mean.

What’s worse is the individual they are callously talking about has no idea it’s happening, or they may suspect it is, and that leads to a fracture in their interpersonal interactions. Because gossip leads to distrust.

Gossip is cowardly. Provide the person with the information so that if they choose to or not, they can set the record straight. But then why would they ever be put into a situation where they would be required to do such a thing?

I’ve always stated that no one is entitled to know anything about the intimate personal and private lives of their friends and/or acquaintances.

To gossip about these things is a direct violation. But in my life I have been the target of and have witnessed the most toxic gossip imagineable.

By the way, there is a difference between sharing anecdotes and gossiping, but as our society becomes less literate about such things, they blur together, and people are unable to differentiate the two.

I will always speak out about gossip, because it is prevalent in our society and it is usually toxic.

But most of all, I have to say, it is irresponsible to be so careless about the private life of someone, and to change opinions that others have of them. It’s not nice.

It’s also reflective of an unhealthy, and unhappy person.

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