We got together with some friends last night. It was a TON of fun, as it usually is, but we spent a LOT of time talking about people, and now I have a gossip hangover.
I am not much of a gossip.
I think that, but I know in my heart that it's not true.
I don't WANT to be much of a gossip.
When I was in high school, and then again in college, I accidentally [?] spread some false gossip. [Evidently I am a slow learner, and didn't get the lesson the first time.] And got busted for it. And felt like shit about it. I still do, honestly. Not 12 steps, ask for forgiveness shitty, but shitty nonetheless.
I still remember that smug, delicious feeling I had when I was spreading the gossip, which, in my [sort of] defense, I hadn't made up, was just repeating with the assurance that oh, yes, OF COURSE, this was fact.
And I really remember the sick feeling when I got called out on it. That inability to even say anything, because what could I say? I believed that about you? And I repeated it? The first person was sad and forgiving. The second was angry. I didn't deserve the first person's compassion; I deserved both of their anger.
Being busted like that didn't necessarily cure me of gossiping, but my gossiping now is very, very narrowly confined. I don't gossip very often in public - perhaps with my immediate family [which, is that even gossip?]; one of my best friends; the good friends we were with last night.
And, for a long time, it didn't seem like a big deal. I was just passing along information to people who weren't going to say anything to anyone [hopefully]. And who weren't going to sell me out [hopefully]. And I was only discussing things that I had first hand knowledge about, not spreading stuff that wasn't true. And I would tell myself that it's not like it was a SECRET. I mean, I knew, right?
But this morning I woke up, once again, feeling queasy about how much I talked.
I think the problem is that I have something of a reputation for being very open and accepting and, funnily enough, NOT a gossip, and people tend to tell me things. LOTS of things. And sometimes I share those things. And then, when I feel like I've shared them for icky reasons [to seem in the know; to seem cooler; to have something to add to the conversation], I wake up feeling anxious and nauseous.
So I've decided I'm going to stop. I'm pretty good at quitting things [smoking comes to mind, but DAMN do I miss it], even though I'm kind of a miserable person while doing so. But I don't like how I feel and I think there has to be a better way to stay part of the group, part of the conversation, than to share information about other people.
I hope this works.