WHEN MEN GOSSIP…
This is another listener inspired episode from Chris in Wisconsin, Chris wrote in wondering about how men should handle talking about other people. You know what I mean…you make a negative observation about a co-worker when they aren’t there. Someone walks by on the street and you make a little joke about them to your friend. Etcetera, etcetera…you know what I’m talking about.
It’s not limited to people, you could also be talking about a situation, or a group of people, or anything that is not directly within your circle. There is another name for this particular behavior…it’s called gossip, and it is not manly.
Ok first lets establish for the record that every single one of us, myself included, have been guilty of this…probably several times.
I get it…It’s a pretty common part of being human. But remember, we are not common men, we are trying to be better men. So lets take a closer look at this behavior.
First of all…why is it so bad. It’s fun to joke about people with your friends. It doesn’t hurt anyone because the people you are joking about or gossiping about can’t hear you, right?
Wrong. It does hurt someone…it hurts you. I said back on one of my first episodes that being a man is a responsibility and an example, because someone is always watching you, always! And whenever someone is watching you, you automatically become the example of manhood in that moment.
If you spend that moment making fun of someone less fortunate, or commenting negatively about someones appearance or actions or lifestyle, if you are putting someone else down in an attempt to elevate your own position…guess what? You have just failed at being an example of manhood, and that diminishes you, it makes you smaller.
Hey, it’s not an easy thing to stop doing. I am still tempted almost daily to make some witty remark, at someone else’ expense…and sometimes I still do. Being real honest with you…this is something that I am still struggling with.
Some things…a lot of things actually, just strike me as funny, and it’s difficult for me to leave a joke just lying there, without telling it.
It’s important though guys.
The second half of Chris’ question was…how should we talk about people? How do we make observations about things without diminishing ourselves by acting like boys.
It’s a good question. There are things wrong in the world, there are people who are wrong and situations that are stupid. On any given day you can make hundreds of observations about things that are screaming for you to make fun of them, or gossip about them. How do we, as men who are trying to be better, handle that?
First, remember that our words…like our actions, define who we are, what kind of man we are. There are a couple really simple rules you can follow that will help.
The first rule is; Don’t ever say anything about someone that you would not say to their face. It sounds simple enough, but If you really start running this little test in your head before you say things, you might find that you say a lot a crappy things.
Its just common sense; it is not the purpose of a man to hurt people, make them cry, ruin their day or make them feel bad. It is the function and purpose of a man to help, protect, teach, learn, and be an asset. So if you have something bad to say about someone…say it to them, in the spirit of trying to help them, or don’t say it at all.
Here’s the second rule; If you are involved in a conversation about any negative situation or person. Do not just keep piling on the negativity. In fact, do not contribute to the conversation at all unless you can say something that moves it forward, or offers a solution, only then should you speak.
We’ve all been in a situation like this, where we are talking about something that really sucks…and everyone is just venting, piling on more and more negativity like pouring gas on a fire, which can sometimes lead to worse emotions like anger, contempt and even hate. Negativity is like a black hole that tries to suck everything into it and make everything around it negative as well…you should avoid negativity at all cost. And remember, the things we focus on expand…if we focus on something negative…it will only expand that thing.
There are more finer points to overcoming gossip, but for now If you start out just following those two rules, then you will have made a great change in the way you present yourself to the world. It won’t be easy…particularly during this election cycle, but I challenge you to try. Try these two rules for two weeks. If you mess up just shake it off and keep trying.
If you join me on this challenge I would love to hear how it goes and what you discover as you go through it, so send me an email.
Well, thats it for today guys. Thanks Chris for another great question, and thank you all for listening. Here are the two rules again, try them out: