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Tuesday, 22 March 2011

People Who... Talk About Other People


"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss other people.
" -Eleanor Roosevelt

There is almost nothing I find so tiresome as listening to someone talk about another person. It isn't engaging. It isn't enlightening or attractive. It isn't interesting.

It shows no imagination. No wit. As the above quote says, all it takes to discuss other people is a very small mind.

I don't trust people who continually talk about other people. Even if it isn't outright slander or gossip, I still find it terribly indiscreet to divulge the small details of another persons life to others as though one had the right. Why bother?

It makes me tired. Bored. Silent.

Talk to me about yourself. Tell me what you hope for. Your dreams, your disappointments. Tell me about your childhood, your travels. What you love and hate. What fascinates you. Tell me silly stories, things you've done that make you laugh, times you shocked yourself. Tell me what sort of food you like. Where you go shopping.

Talk to me about religion. Faith. Lack of faith. Talk to me about art and beauty. Chaos and despair. Talk to me about mysteries, the world, science.

Share your own opinions with me. I might not agree with you but I am not threatened by that.

Talk to me honestly, openly. Communicate with me.

So tell me about yourself. The only person you have a right to talk about.




37 comments:

My Aimless Infatuation said...

I could not agree with you more. This is more than a pet peeve for me,it makes me very angry and I will defend the person's privacy everytime. Love this!

The Elegant Bohemian said...

Wonderful post Colleen! Whenever I hear a small group talking about someone, I always feel like they're probably talking about me when I'm not around! LOL Which is fine by me....You know the saying, "If you have something to say about me, say it to my face"? I'm the exact opposite. I feel like, if you want to criticize me, tell someone else. I just don't need that mess in my head! As always, you give me cause to pause and to think. And like you, I love to hear peoples' ideas, theories, etc... I tell my kids, we don't have to agree. It's great that we can just discuss it and it will either sharpen my views on an opinion I already have or help me see another side. Much love to you girly! ~Serene

jane.healy said...

I often divulge very indiscreet things about myself ... that way I can't be shocked when it gets back to me. Seriously I couldn't agree more with this quote and post!

Judi said...

I agree wholeheartedly...when it's in the negative or other somewhat...but when it's GOOD and Glorious news I love to share...as in..."My amazing friend Colleen, who lives in Norway...is funny and kind and a very talented writer...and a new mom...etc. etc. Now that being said I also have a problem with people asking me something they have to business asking...and I'm considered rude when I say "Why do you need to know that?" People are a strange breed!

Life with Kaishon said...

I like people that have conversation that is interesting and evocative.

Deborah said...

I agree Colleen...I have done my best to be as open and honest with people as i can. If someone has something to say about me or is curious about why I do the things i do...just ask. Why speculate? Why gossip? I'm right here...talk to me.

Cheyenne said...

I love that quote at the top too!

Colleen said...

My Aimless Infatuation, thank you for sharing your thoughts! Pet peeve is a good way to describe it.:)
And good for you for defending people, that's courageous!

Serene, I think the same. If someone is gossiping TO me then I have no doubt they are also gossiping ABOUT me.:) It's tough being so amazing that others can't help but discuss us.:) Much love to you too!

Jane, I'm one of those people too.;) I don't mind people divulging their own deep, dark secrets to me...I quite like it in fact...but not others secrets, you know?:)

Judi, I love your straight forward way of communicating! I also share good news or good things about people, I mean the negative or even just the boring details. Like I mean, come on, who cares that someone someone knew is decorating their house like this and ate this for breakfast? :) People are indeed a strange breed.:)

Becky, amen!

Deborah, we're on the same page. People can always ask but they don't necessarily deserve an answer.:)

Thanks Cheyanne, it's so lovely to see you here again! I've missed you.:)

Just Be Real said...

Colleen thank you for sharing. Blessings.

Karen Kyle Ericson said...

Great post. I get bored with gossip as well and then start wondering how the other person feels. I also think if someone gossips to me, they probably have some about me. I accept that I'm different and maybe a little odd. Don't need anyone's help to see that :) it's what makes us all unique.

Brian Miller said...

spot on...cant stand gossip...its almost like their life is not interesting enough, or dont have an origianl thought or they are hiding themselves....cant stand it...

Alicia said...

What a great quote! In those situations there is almost like a sleepy daze that happens. I agree with you in the tired boredom & silence listening to people who talk about other people.

Peggy said...

I so liked your comment by Eleanor Rooosevelt. As someone who grew up fearful of other people talking about me, it was something I needed to hear. Thanks.

Joyful said...

Wonderful post and I totally agree with you.

Ann Nichols said...

Absolutely correct! I know your patron saint (while growing up) would definitely agree with you! :) I also like what Roosevelt said... so true. But... sad to say, I think we all (well, not all, but most) fall into the last category sometimes... But this quote should help to remind us not to!
Blessings!
Ann

Pia said...

Well written!

Peggy said...

Colleen, Thank you for your warm comments on my posts. I've just been at this since February and I'm thrilled and amazed whenw anyone reads my posts. I look forward to reading more of yours.

Crown of Beauty said...

Wow, Colleen... this is definitely a well written commentary on the ills of gossiping...

I have always loved that quote you mentioned at the start of your post.

And you are so right - that only thing needed for a gossip to flourish is a small mind.

How pitiful is that - if all that someone can talk about is another person.

Now, it is different if we are talking about another person with a different purpose - to compliment, to share something beneficial that one has learned from someone... I understand that sometimes it is inevitable for us to talk about other people - but the motive makes all the difference. If there is praise, if there is honor, not condemnation, not false judgment...

Thank you so much for this post today.

Love
Lidj

Alicia@ Mommy Delicious said...

I totally agree. So much wasted energy goes to talking about others when people could be using that time to create things, to move things, and to be about something greater. I too am cautious when I see others talk about people. Makes me wonder what they say about me when I'm not around.

Alicia@ Mommy Delicious said...

I totally agree. So much wasted energy goes to talking about others when people could be using that time to create things, to move things, and to be about something greater. I too am cautious when I see others talk about people. Makes me wonder what they say about me when I'm not around.

Mari said...

You are so right! And if the group is talking about others, they will talk about each other too, so it's best not to get involved.
Besides, good conversation is way more uplifting!

Ratz said...

You are right on target. Well said. I remember a quote that I read in a book and it goes something like this- talking ill about someone is similar to how a fly feeds on shit and relishes it. I mean this doesn't look good when I say it, the original quote was a lot better but it meant the same.

Colleen said...

JBR, blessings to you too.

Haha Karen, I love what you said!:) I am different too and proud of it (most of the time;)! Thanks for your input!

Brian, that thought usually passes through my mind too, that they have nothing of interest about themselves to say. Yeah, it isn't nice to hear.

Alicia, so true, your description is perfect...I also find a sleepy lethargy falling over me at times like that.

Peggy, thank you so much for coming by. I am so glad if it helped you a bit today!

Joyful, thank you for your comment.:)

Ann, I know you are right, we mostly all do fall into the last sadly. Of course I am guilty of it too but I don't want to be!:) And it isn't all the time but it is something I need to altogether get rid of from my life! Blessings to you too!:)

Colleen said...

Pia, thank you! I appreciate that!

Peggy, you are doing a wonderful job with it. I think you will touch many people through your words.

Lidj, you have an excellent point! Of course to praise someone or share good things isn't what I mean here at all. The sort of talking that lifts another person up is a blessing! But the opposite, as you say the words that are judgments sometimes disguised as something else or the little unkind observations or even just going into great detail about someone else is more what I mean. Thank you for your thoughts, I do agree with you! God bless my friend!

Alicia, thank you for your words...I can't agree more!

Mari, it is more uplifting! There are some people that when I talk to them, they are so full of life and enthusiasm and fun things to say I just feel refreshed afterward!:)

Ratz, I totally get what you mean with that quote and I think it's exactly that I dislike most. They aren't just talking, they are relishing tearing someone apart or spilling another person's secrets. Yuck!:) Thank you so much for you comment!

Hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Zuzana said...

Dear Colleen,
even though I admit to have myself committed the crime of gossiping on a few occasions, mostly in the privacy of my family, I never engaged in these "small minds discussions" (what a great quote) in any other place. I think talking about people behind their backs is unappealing and exposes the person doing it in not so flattering light.
Now, I hate talking about myself - in discussions I much rather hear about others. I am very curious at all times.;)
Love the last two sentences in your post though, as much as I love the post itself as well.;)
xoxo

Susan Deborah said...

I liked the honesty in this, though, I am guilty of doing it on some ocassions.

"So tell me about yourself. The only person you have a right to talk about" -- This last line made a lot of sense to me as it is THE truth. I can only talk about myself. But I would also like to proble this further and ask: Whether I know myself? Well, it all depends.

All said and done, this post provoked me. But sometimes I do find that gossip makes me let the steam out.

Joy always,
Susan

Slyde said...

preach on, sister....

i have NO desire to listen to someone talk about others... their sense of inadequecy just seeps thru every sentence...

Courtney K. said...

I love the quote you opened with. So, so true. It does nothing for me to hear someone talk endlessly about another person. It isn't engaging. And I tend to avoid people who have nothing better to say. :)

Kay said...

Beautifully said!!! This really irritates me as well. I just want to ask people "are your lives that small and meaningless for you to focus on someone else's?"

Colleen said...

Zuzana, thank you for your comment, I am certainly guilty of venting my frustrations (gossip I suppose) within the confines of my family as well at times. But I do think that in general you are also correct, it says far more about the person doing the gossiping than the one being talked about!

Susan Deborah, I am glad it made you think, considering how good a mind you have,, I consider that a compliment!:) Yes we must of course question how well we really know ourselves...some people never do, others know themselves quite well. We hopefully spend our lives learning.:) Thank you for your thoughts!

Slyde, I couldn't agree more. Thank you for visiting.

Courtney, thank you for your comment! I also tend to avoid people who make a habit of gossip.

Kay, I know...sometimes I wish I dared to ask that!:)

Adrienne said...

Oh man! You said it!! I guess we were o the same page this week. :) Thanks for stopping by!

Corinne Rodrigues said...

You always challenge me to be a better person, Colleen and this post made me stop in my tracks and re-think my interactions. Hugs!

Lamiss said...

Hallo Colleen,
Stpping by your blog and reading this writing makes the complexes of our minds easy and more understandable. It is an idea of a great mind I would say.
I hope you remember me, I am a friend of Michael khajarian

Colleen said...

Adrienne, we really were.:)

Corinne, that is a wonderful compliment. Thank you. You do the same for me.

Lamiss, I certainly DO remember you and am so pleased you stopped by!:) Thank you for your words!

Janet said...

Colleen you are absolutely right! When I was younger I stayed clear away from it. Even my friends remarked how I never spoke about anybody but now I fear that has changed. Thank you for that reminder, I needed it!

mary333 said...

Colleen,
I just read this exact same quote last night in a restaurant and I liked it too :)

This may sound weird but gossip gives me a stomache ache. A real one. The more someone talks about a person in a negative way, the more my stomache hurts. I don't know why this happens but it does. It's as if my spirit can't bear to hear it and it gives me physical symptoms. Only if the person is saying something unkind this happens not when they are saying nice things. It even happens when I read blogs online sometimes, especially if the attacks and comments are vicious. There are certain sites I have to avoid and will not follow despite their popularity and "Christian" status. On the plus side, I get beautiful "witnesses in the spirit" (and joy pours through me) when I read loving posts :)

Anonymous said...

Very well said. I can't stand listening to people talk about others and put them down behind their backs and criticizing them. I work with a small minded person as such and am curious as to what they say about me when I am not around. But really, who cares, they talk bad about everyone just to make themselves feel superior. In reality they are just unhappy with their own lives and have to fine fault in others to feel better about themselves.