On Gossip

Recently, I ran into an old Turkish proverb that said: “Who gossips to you will gossip of you !!!”. This struck a chord with me, and I want to add my own thoughts around what I consider to be a deep insight provided by this excellent proverb.

Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder. ~ Rumi

Recently, I received an old copy of the book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” written by the popular author, Stephen Covey. Even though I only reluctantly agreed to read this book at first as I am not a big fan of "self-help" books, I came away really impressed with the many insights on personal and inter-personal development contained in it. One insight that clearly stood out for me was the importance of being loyal to those who are not present. The author writes that in many social situations, be it amongst colleagues, family or friends, it is of paramount importance not to malign/criticize someone who is not present, and that one must always raise/confront the issue directly with the person with whom you are frustrated against. The author proceeds to explain that although this approach might not provide the instant gratification that people often get from venting and/or maligning others behind their backs, in the long run, the person who resists the urge to do so will come to be respected/trusted because they are honest in communicating their feelings with others in all situations.


I couldn’t agree more on this because I have witnessed (and have been, regretfully, a participant) in numerous such situations myself. Often, two seemingly good friends/colleagues or close family members will become extremely distrustful of each other quickly when a small confrontation arises between them. This will often be due to that fact they have personally witnessed each other bad mouthing or criticizing others behind their backs in the past, and therefore believe that they are most likely to do the same in the current situation as well. The problem is then rectified only through a great deal of effort, or sometimes lingers on forever because of the tremendous effort required in rebuilding/regaining the broken trust between the affected individuals.

Lately though, I have been very fortunate to work within an organization where most of my colleagues are aware of this important ethic which helps project personal integrity to each other, thereby creating an atmosphere of trust, and resulting in a friendly and a productive working environment. If you would like to develop a better relationship with yourself, or with your colleagues/family members, then I highly recommend that you read this excellent book. Regards.