We love to gossip. And this is an understatement when we are at college campuses, in classrooms or canteens and at work. From the panghat or water fountain (where women gather to fill water in villages) to water coolers or coffee machines at work, gossip is inevitable with us. Gossip topics include the latest stories in classrooms about our classmates or teachers, the latest link-ups in campuses or the character assassination of our ‘enemies’ with loads of spice. It is amusing that we never think from the other’s point of view.
Being gossiped about can be a good thing. It might be gossip about a big incident that makes a recluse the most popular girl/guy or the most talked about in campus. But it can be a very insulting thing to spread rumours about someone without accurate knowledge.
Campuses and canteens are the hot spot for discussions on other college mates’ clothes or dressing styles. It might be an attempt to make fun of someone who is shy or a non-conformist to the general culture of the place. Not giving way to a tolerant and open-minded acceptance of the new girl/guy, might speak of our pettiness. This is when gossip takes on an ugly face. This is a breeding ground of psychological phobias, fears and nervous disorders in the victim like stammering etc when bullying takes the chatterbox form.
What if we are subjected to rumours about us? Especially when we have to spend seven to ten hours at the college/office. And it gets worse if we are on a residential campus. So what are some ways to tackle the rumours? In some cases, shy and softer people tend to be gossiped about. So become thick-skinned. The second step is to understand the rumour and demolish it by asserting yourself in more positive ways. This does not mean trying to please everyone else but by being a more confident and strong personality who is more outgoing and open when people speak to you. Often, we tend to shy away and retreat into a shell when hurt by rumour-mongering. Rumours are spread by some fellow mates but they do not last long. Their shelf-life is pretty small. Do not hide. Confront them. Doing it alone is daunting but take it as a challenge from the higher powers to become more confident and assert ourselves more. Very soon, your college mates will find out the real you.
Work dynamics are more complex. Rumours may change perception and impressions and these matter a lot in the career world. Be careful and alert and speak to your superiors in case they form a bias against you.
Learn to make friends by being interested in helping others and be your natural uncritical self. This will make you come forth as a genuine person and kill any rumours or gossip doing the rounds. Small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events and great minds discuss ideas. So indulge in healthy discussions and stay away from unhealthy gossip.