”If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” How many times have we heard that from our parents? How many times have we said it to our children? This Maxim is simple enough on its face that it is being used in modified form even now by parents all around the world. But it is more than simply being nice to someone when they are present; it is also about not spreading negative words about people when they are not there. And it is when a person is NOT there that the most damage can be done to our lives as well as to other people’s lives.
Gossip hurts – especially when we spread negative words about people. It can ruin friendships if it is believed. It can cause well-meaning people to take unnecessary action to “fix” non-existent problems when the best thing they could have done is to not act.
We have all felt the negative effects of gossip. So why do we do it? That is a question each of us must answer for ourselves. We must take stock of our reasons for saying something – especially if it could be considered negative. If what we say will hurt someone, we should not say it. It is that simple – and that hard.