Gossips are everywhere. Be it at work or at home, they have invaded every area of our lives. I however do not place the blame entirely on gossipers. Those who listen to gossips or nod their head to the gossiper while not paying much attention to the content, or even smile at the gossiper while he or she is gossiping, are all part of the game. I don’t believe in striking the right balance in this case. It is straightforward and clear-cut. It is either you listen to the gossiper or you don’t. If you listen, nod your head or even smile, then you are already encouraging the gossip to flow but if you remain firm and choose not to be a carrier of the gossip, then you must know be strong enough to say no when gossipers walk to you.
While many people don’t have the strength or the heart to hurt people by saying no, which I do not condone because duties are above emotions, then here’s another way to approach it. Below is the Socrates’ Triple Filter Test to gossips.
Whenever someone walks to you with something to gossip about, ask him or her these three questions:
- Truth – Is it true or false?
- Goodness – Is it good or bad?
- Usefulness – Is it beneficial to you or not?
If it fails at the first level of truth itself, then why should the person be telling you something which is false or which he or she has not verified? If the person is unsure about the truth of the content, then you can easily request the person not to continue. If it is true, and then it moves to the second level and fails there, that is if it is bad, then why should you listen to something bad that happened to others? You can again tell the person not to continue. Lastly if it proceeds through the first and second level, and reaches the third level, then if it is not beneficial to you, then again what will be the use of hearing? Using these three levels, you can easily block a gossip from flowing to you.
Gossips are negative energies. You must not allow them at any cost into your life. I used to allow people to tell me whatever they wished to but then came a time in my life where I decided to filter out all the negative energies including gossips. Socrates’ three-filter test has been of great help, though now I am able to refuse something in the most frank and straightforward manner. I recommend Socrates’ three filter test to those who find it difficult to prevent gossips from flowing in their lives.