Gossip, or idle rumor, is rampant in today's society. Gossip is one of the oldest and most common means of sharing facts, but also has a reputation for introducing errors and misinformation. Some newspapers carry "gossip columns" which detail the social and personal lives of celebrities or of élite members of certain communities, and with the advent of the Internet, gossip is now widespread instantly, from one place in the world to another. What used to take a long time to circulate is now far-reaching in a second.
I recently read about a business place that has a zero-tolerance policy for gossip. If employees are caught gossiping, they are reprimanded, and if they continue, they’re fired. They’re encouraged to confront each other with any problems they have instead of gossiping behind each others’ backs. Idle talk that spreads malicious rumors about another person is strictly forbidden!
Speaking badly of others betrays confidence, separates close friends, and causes shame or a bad reputation. People rarely can undo the damage their untrue words have done to a neighbor.
Many things that others say aren’t meant to be repeated. But there are times when some of us just can’t resist being the first to share a bit of juicy gossip. Wouldn’t it be nice if we always followed the rule our mothers taught us: “If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all?”
I know someone who actually lives that way. Whenever you say even the slightest negative thing about someone, this friend always comes back with something good. It never fails! He absolutely will not listen to anything unflattering about another person. According to him, "The best way to deal with gossip is to ignore it. A person who gossips is looking for a reaction, but if he gets none, it loses its appeal."
I’m guessing that those who work for the business place that forbids gossip quickly discover that, if they want to keep their jobs, they must learn to say only nice things about their co-workers.
Perhaps this policy should be universally adopted.