Editor’s Note: Written from a high school student’s viewpoint.
“Oh. Em. GEE!”
“Oh my gawd, did he really?
“Girl, you wacky as HECK! No way!”
You’ve heard it. Maybe you’ve been one to say it. Every day, the hallways are just one loud cacophony of rumours bouncing off the walls, tears hitting the floor, laughter about she did to him and vice versa.
Oh, and the primal instinct to gossip that oozes from the pores of whatever boy/girl is in charge of dishing the “dirt” that week.
Mean girls. Mean boys. Let’s face it: we thrive off of the humiliation of our friends and maybe even our closest friends. It’s just who we are.
But just because it’s “who we are” doesn’t mean we can’t do anything to prevent all of the above from happening.
Are you familiar with the game Telephone? Well, why wouldn’t you, right? It’s so much fun to play — until someone “mishears” what was said to them and says something completely different. Well, then it was funny when someone said “I like ponies” when it was actually “macaroni.”
But, now, being the little gossip-holics we all are today, it’s not so funny anymore. When someone says, “I almost choked on a grape,” another might take that and twist it into, “She almost got raped.”
That may seem a little far-fetched, but it could happen. Once we dish the dirt, the claws come out. Girls scream at each other. Boys stand by awkwardly or punch another boy. Some of the innocent bystanders just don’t know how to deal with the spectacle in front of them.
Here’s how you deal with it:
Just ignore. If someone tries to gossip about someone else around you, don’t defend the victim. Don’t do anything about it. In fact, maybe you can attempt to subtly change the subject. If you aren’t afraid of getting involved (Be afraid. Very, very afraid…), go straight to the victim and ask if (insert shocking details here) is true.
DO NOT DROP NAMES, unless it’s a seriously threatening issue.
Now, gossip about you. Not fun, is it? I didn’t think so. The solution? Well, if you really want to know how to deal with it.
Ignore. That simple. However, if it’s something that truly bothers you, talk to someone. A counselor (groans from afar; I know, I know…), your parents, a really (really times 1 million) close friend. Anyone you feel comfortable talking to.
All in all, gossip sucks. You may claim to hate it, but in reality, you thrive off of it. I will be willing to admit that I once indulged in gossip every now and then.
So, if you want a less dramatic day today and tomorrow and the day after that and many days coming, don’t dish the dirt. Don’t listen to gossip. You can hear gossip, but don’t listen to it.
Just keep to yourself and your own problems. Feel free to help someone recover from a bad time, but don’t run around the school screaming, “Fred is recovering from fungal skin infections!”
Personal experience is why I am able to give you this advice. Sit at another table during lunch, preferably a less populated one. Go off campus to blow off steam; if you’re allowed. Go find some quiet time in the library. If you’re in band, go play your anger out on your trumpet or clarinet. Drummers, don’t. Just don’t. Ms. Hoffman will kill you. If you’re in choir, go to the choir room and sing your heart out. In general, just find your happy place.
Re-printed with permission from Montesano High School’s online newspaper at www.themontebulldog.org. Lizzie is 16 years old and lives in Montesano.