Ever heard the phrase “curiosity killed the cat”? If your water cooler conversations include gossiping about your nearest and dearest friends, you should consider the damage before you spill the beans. While finding out a secret or being the first to know the scoop can be exciting, that information that you are spreading could be hurtful to someone’s feelings and even their social life.
Shows like Gossip Girl demonstrate how quickly word can get out with social networking and texting. No one is safe once something is posted online and we’ve seen celebrity photo scandals to prove it. But, situations like this don’t only happen on television. One tagged photo, wall post, status update can start a whirlwind of speculation and gossip.
Here are some helpful tips to keep you out of harm’s way:
Change the subject. As soon as you hear someone say “Did you hear about…?” change the subject. If you didn’t hear it was because you weren’t supposed to. End of discussion.
Privacy is freedom. Take a look at your Facebook settings. Make sure your photo albums and information are viewable to friends only, who wants strangers taking a peek at private moments? None of your settings should be set to “Everyone”.
Edit yourself. Don’t pull a Vanessa Hudgens! If you are in a long distance relationship or want to spice it up with your boyfriend and send him a scandalous picture, crop your head out of it. That way in the worst situation you can still claim it isn’t you. But, you should refrain from taking the picture at all.
Keep secrets. If a friend tells you something in private, keep it a secret. They told you because they trust you. Is it worth breaking your friend’s trust and losing a relationship over silly gossip? Don’t think so.
No proof? Give them the benefit of the doubt. Don’t believe everything you hear. Gossip is based on speculation, rumour and most of the time no real factual evidence.
Put an end to it. If someone is a chatterbox and tells you something you shouldn’t have heard, let them know that they should keep quiet. You are doing them a favour by keeping them safe from the backlash of spreading the rumour.