This post requires a little context, so before you continue you need to go read this.
Thanks for coming back!
I was recently discussing the topic of gossip with my friend Keely. Being human and all, we like gossip. There is something very appealing about discussing the lives of others. However, I think it’s important to have an established set of rules so the gossip stays within the boundaries of good clean fun.
As you may have figured out by now I have had the same group of friends for the last 20+ years. I have of course met other people I call friends during this time, but my main core best girlfriends have retained their title of ‘best friends’, if you will, since we were teenagers. Now that we’re adults we are more or less drama-free, but there is usually at least one of us going through something that is gossip-worthy. At the moment, it’s Valentina. I think more so because she is the only one of us not currently in a committed relationship. The rest of us bitch and moan about our men from time to time but it’s pretty much same old same old at this point and not nearly as fun as having a front row seat to Valentina’s boy stories.
Politika almost never does anything gossip worthy…..at least, I don't think she does. She does have the added advantage of living two provinces away so it would be easy for her to spin a juicy situation into a pretty mundane one by the time it gets to us. One thing is springing to mind, and that is the recent act of moving her mother-in-law into the basement suite of the new house she just purchased. Politika deciding to live with her M-I-L was definitely a topic of conversation, but it wasn’t as much gossiping as it was deciding who was going to organize the candle light vigil when she inevitably goes to prison for murder.
Keely and I are probably the worst offenders because not only do we like gossiping, but apparently we like gossiping on the internet. I guess that makes us verbally slutty. It’s all justifiable though because I have created some self-imposed rules to govern by:
Gossip rules according to FoN
1. No gossiping about things that friend A may not have already shared with friend B. Once friend A shares the potential gossip with friend B on their own accord - it’s fair game. For example, if friend A tells you about something regarding themselves or something that Friend B did, you cannot tell Friend C unless there is less than reasonable doubt that Friend C already knows about it anyway. There are two exceptions to this rule:
- If the bit of gossip is happy gossip and you were not specifically told to keep the news to yourself you can share it. Examples would be an engagement, new job, pregnancy, birth of a child, etc., and; (see rule 6 for additional information)
- No gossiping to mean people. If there is even a suspicion that a piece of gossip could be spread beyond appropriate borders and/or come back and bite Friend A, B or C in the ass and cause trouble, shut it.
2. It’s OK to suspend rule #1 and share a bit of gossip if you yourself are involved in the gossip and would be considered a direct subject of the gossip. Especially if it’s pissing you off. Valentina had a recent tryst with my ex-boyfriend. That is a great example of when it’s OK to suspend rule #1. I still love her though. And, I would also like to take this opportunity to go on record to say, "See? I told you he was weird."
3. No telling men anything.
4. Don’t say anything in the course of gossip that you wouldn’t be totally comfortable with the subject of the gossip knowing you said it. Preferably (and when possible) say what you need to say to the subject of the gossip prior to saying it to others.
5. Make a best effort to gossip between only close friends and only with people you know love who you’re gossiping about (see rule 8 for additional information).
6. No gossiping when expressly forbidden about anything negative, and/or when you are not sure if you are within the limits of rule 1. However, if friend A has something positive you are dying to share, you have to negotiate an appropriate timeline with her you both agree on. For example, I was the first to know when Politika had her babies, but she wanted to tell Keely and Valentina herself. I told her I would be able to keep my mouth shut for no more than a few hours, Politika asked for a full day and we finally settled on about a 12 hour window. That news was fair game once her time limit expired. Her too bad if she hadn’t told the others by then.
7. Gossiping about strangers to close friends is allowed, although be careful when gossiping in public.
8. Gossiping to and about outsiders* is OK as long as it (a) is appropriate to the subject matter and can be used to provide insight into a situation, and (b) safely falls within the context of rule #1.
9. No gossiping on internet social networking sites such as blogs or Facebook. There are two exceptions to this rule as well:
- Talking in ‘code’ is acceptable provided you are assured beyond a reasonable doubt that no one other than your intended gossip-ee will have a clue what you’re talking about, and;
- if you are messaging through private email and you know no one has your password.
10. When in doubt, keep your mouth shut.
* - an outsider is considered to be someone who is known to friend A, B or C, but only on a casual, passing or acquaintance basis.