Time to stop dishing the dirt

by Rebecca A. Watson on May 31, 2012

in change, habits

This past weekend Sante, a friend and I were sitting in a taqueria in Vacaville eating a quick meal so we could get home after a fun, but exhausting camping trip. (Think rain, snow and sun.)

It was pretty empty, being Memorial Day, and the only other two people sitting in there were these young women talking about “she cheated on him with Bryce”, and “he’s just so ugly,” and “you’re acting like a whore.” It was impossible to ignore.

Gossip. No matter how bad it can be, there is still something so delicious about it. Hell, This American Life did an entire episode about how it can actually be good sometimes. But damn, is it contagious!

secrets are lies gossip

Immediately after the doors of that taqueria closed, we started in on the two women. One of us theorized they weren’t intelligent. Another offered that one woman was just jealous of said “whore.” The final verdict: They just weren’t very nice.

I belong to this group called Thirty Day Challengesand I’ve done some pretty awesome (and challenging) stuff since I’ve started: a month without Facebook, 30 days without gluten and 30+ days of no alcohol.

But I think June’s challenge is going to be the most difficult. I am going to go 30 days without gossiping or saying anything unkind about someone behind their back. Even people I don’t know.

I realize that this challenge might make me sound like a total jerk; like I’m constantly trash talking everyone I know when they aren’t around. In reality, I’m a very pleasant person and, I think, a good friend.

This is what I told myself when the challenge initially came into my head. But I’m not really into gossip. That won’t really be a challenge.

Then I thought back within the last day. Although some things are fairly innocuous, like questioning a coworker’s choice with my husband, I don’t know that I’d say it in front of them. And the weird grocery store clerk I told Sante about? That really wasn’t necessary.

That was all within 24 hours.


Thanks to Evan for the perfect photo 😉

I’m excited for this challenge because I think it’s going to make me much more aware of a habit that I think is pretty nasty. And it’ll give me the opportunity to see where I pass judgment on people, which most of the time, is where I tend to pass judgement on myself.

What about you? What do you consider gossip? Does it have to be “mean?” Is it just talking about someone when they aren’t around? My sister had a friend who thought that way. What’s your definition?


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

sean May 31, 2012 at 9:06 am

Oh tough one and so spot on. Probably any pointless chatter of a judgmental (good or bad) nature about any individual. It’s almost always hurtful in the end, either to you, to the subject of the gossip, or both. I catch myself doing it, although at least now I’m more aware of it. Being aware of it is at least a start and then it can reduce to little if any.

I really like this one.


Ms. Becca May 31, 2012 at 9:20 am

Thanks Sean 🙂 I think you’re right about it hurting someone in the end, although we rarely stop to think that it might be the gossiper it hurts and not the subject. Here’s to better awareness!


Molly June 2, 2012 at 6:23 pm

Right on girl, I love this idea! I strive to “never say something to someone that you wouldn’t say to everyone”‘ but tend to fall short sometimes. This entry is inspiring!


Ms. Becca June 3, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Thanks Molly! It can really be tough, but like Sean said, awareness is the start right? I like your idea about not saying something to one person that you wouldn’t tell everyone. That’s a great perspective.


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