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March 1, 2007 / missknowitall

What Do Gossip And Banana Bread Have In Common?

Dear Little Miss,

I have always had a hard time becoming really close to people and letting them into my life, because frankly, my life is not pleasant all the time.  Last Fall, I made friends with a lady who is about 20 years older than me.  She and I shared the closest of secrets during our morning walks.  Recently, I heard from another lady not to trust this woman.  Now, the woman who I became friends with calls me constantly to gossip about people in my church and I’m starting to get sick of it, but she constantly reminds me she’s not gossiping (when she clearly is).  I didn’t want to know that the lady that doesn’t trust her threw a banana bread at her head once… but now I know.  I’m now feeling like I’m in the middle of her battles with everyone she comes in contact with.  What should I do?  I don’t want to be another one of her casualties!~ Desperately Friendly

Dear Desperately Friendly,

Riddle: “If you’ve got it you haven’t shared it.  If you’ve shared it, you haven’t got it.  What is it?”

Banana bread, huh?  Wow, this gossip sounds very entertaining.  She sounds almost like a walking Jerry Springer show.  People who gossip non-stop usually don’t have a life of their own worth mentioning so they feed off the private lives of others.  A little gossip, now and then, can be seen as fun by some people but when it becomes the main form of conversation it becomes a very damaging thing. This woman may have done you the favor of being a listening ear when you needed it but she may have only listened for the sake of getting new material.  If you want to stop her from gossiping without hurting her feelings you are going to need to fight fire with water.  Any time she gossips to you about a person you know, you need to turn right around and mention how much you like that person and “gossip” about something nice concerning that person.  For example:  If she told me about the banana bread incident I would say, “Really?  She must have been having a really bad day because she has always been so kind to me.  And I heard that last week she took a dinner to Mrs. Smith when she was in the hospital”.  Even if you don’t know the person being gossiped about stand up for them and plead their defense.  After a while your gossiping friend will stop gossiping to you because she won’t feel like you are being entertained by or caught up in her web of “stories” and she may also start to feel a bit of guilt for not being as charitable as you.  And whatever you do, don’t get caught gossiping about the gossiper =).

The answer is: A secret

Miss Knowitall 

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