Gossip vs Collaboration

I’ve been struggling with the difference between gossip and collaboration. To say nothing about anyone seems miserly – withholding data that could be helpful to a joint effort or to esprit de corps. On the other hand, talking about people behind their back seems malicious. What’s the line between the two?

The other day, I was talking to Sylvia Hebert about roles on the Launchpad team – which person in what role would benefit the training itself and the individual as well. To my way of thinking, that would be collaboration. It’s helpful to the Greater Good.

I made a comment yesterday about someone that I wish I hadn’t made. In hindsight, I vaguely recall an “unease” – an internal battle – Say it! Don’t say it!

Delving more deeply, I could feel the push to “SAY IT” – to prove that “I know things.” Mindtalk from my Higher Self said, “You don’t have to underscore with more drama what’s already been mentioned.” Ego, “Oh, yeah? Wait till they hear this – MY take on it!!!!”

It’s all very confusing, until I ask myself these 3 questions:

  1. Does this need to be said at all.
  2. Does it need to be said now.
  3. Do I need to be the one to say it.

If there is a NO to any of the above questions, my stand is to say nothing – another way to curb my ego.

Gossip is rampant in our culture – via individuals, groups, and the media – and is tainted by against-ness.

What’s Your stand?

12 Responses

  1. Ulrich Bergler

    Dear Ann – provoking notions put forward as always 🙂
    Gossip is resentment played out, an ego boost at someone else’s expense. I don’t like it, I don’t do it knowingly, and I step in when it is happening.
    Then there is saying something about someone e.g. as in your LP example, where the intent becomes the important aspect. Just a few days ago we put the team role roster together for the next training, and for sure we talk about people not present, but our intent is one of being for them, seeking ways to find the best mix for all of them, there is never a put down, not a make wrong, no dismissing of anyone – always the underpinning notion of forness. That is not gossipping that is collaboration with love honor and respect.
    I stop myself either when I am hesitant (a sign of my intuition showing up, or when I notice my forness not being there. I step in when others gossip, and I want to be supported when I miss the mark.

    1. Ann Mc

      Thank you, Ulrich … I also have a personal discipline not to gossip, not to make anyone wrong at any time for any reason. And I fall short every now and then. I also, by profession and by personal discipline, do not break confidentiality. That one is hard-wired. this wasn’t a breaking of confidentiality, but for me, it had a different feel – a “Willful” feel. And that usually happens when I am already reactive about something else … it’s a way of spreading my reactivity … unconscious.

  2. Pam

    Was this written for me??? How did you know this issue (my gossiping) was weighing on me. I know I’m out of alignment with my Higher Self when I’m participating, and yet I’ve been doing just that. Thank you for the wake up call and the straightforward questions I can ask myself. I like what Ulrich reminds me of, too – for-ness vs a make wrong.

  3. Cindy Warren

    I love your posts Ann.. thank you so much for documenting your insights. As far as knowing when to speak, I have heard the acronym W.A.I.T. Why am I talking? Good thing to ask before I open my mouth. Sadly, I rarely think before I speak, but thought it was relevant info to tag onto your post.. 🙂

    Love you!

    1. Ann Mc

      Spontaneity is a quality about you that I treasure. It’s a “child-like-ness” (vs “childish-ness) that is without agenda. Wouldn’t want you to give that up. I’m guessing it’s only when you’re mad that you say things you wish you hadn’t. LOL

  4. Jenny Meadows

    I curb myself when I find my “Look at me!!” drama rearing its head. I ask myself what about me I’m not seeing and what about others and Life I’m not seeing.
    When I’m evaluating, I’m seeing and for. When I’m gossiping, I’m asking others to see me and dismiss the other person.

  5. Moana Bianchin

    Such an interesting topic… Thanks Ann for the reminder. One acid test for the Q “is this gossip?” is to ask another Q: Would I say this if the person was beside me now? Trust your Lifeshocks and if you think you ‘know’ what is best for a person, see how attached you are to ‘knowing’. I think the thought “I know what is best for you” comes from a place of omnipotence. A drama that I run more often than I am aware of. Grateful to the late Sharon Parish for pointing this out to me with such kindness.

    1. Ann Mc

      I would have said it to the person, and it wasn’t a breaking of confidentiality, BUT – it didn’t need to be said at all. And I could tell by my body that it was a “willful” act. grrrr

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