I’ve always taken pride in my dislike for gossip and my ability to abstain from such an irritating pass-time. I remember telling a lie ne time when I was three and having to kneel down for four hours. Of course, the person who punished me got his back, but I have to admit the lesson was learned. I decided to never lie again! Further down along the line, I realized not all gist is gist. You may be gisting with A about B and B will show up and A will change story and you too will have to follow and change story which equals to lying. At first, it wasn’t a big deal until I go in a huge fight with some friends because someone said something about someone else and that person found out, and I changed story and other people said it was me that said the awful thing that was said… you get sha. Anyhu, that was when I decided never to say anything about a person in their absence that I can’t confidently repeat in their presence.
So far, I’ve done a bang up job. I’m not going to lie and say I’ve never gossiped. There have been occasional slip ups from time to time, most of which I ensured I corrected, but I do not actively engage in gossip. Just being around it makes my skin crawl; which brings me to the essence of this post. Based on my observation as a working class girl, the office is a machine that is powered by gossip. Everyone does it, apparently, and with so little effort, it scares me a little. How can you go from talking about A with so much malice and discontent to smiling at A and hailing her as she walks by and then back to the anger in less than 5 seconds? Is that what they teach in the trainings they attend? Is this an acquired skill?
Everyone here is older than me, so I generally just mind my own business. But sometimes they try to pull me into it. They might just be talking around me and then I look up and everyone is staring at me waiting to contribute and I’m like…
What’s most bothersome is that 90% of the gossip is about one particular person at work. No one seems to like her. And most of the gossip comes from one person as well; the one person in this office who does almost nothing all day, but has something to say about everything (more often than not,in Yoruba), although I am big enough to admit that some of it is pretty juicy stuff.
If I wasn’t working for my boss, I doubt I would stay here. The environment is very uncomfortable because I keep wondering “what if this chick walks in on the situation?”. I’ve thought severally about confronting the gossip, but I have invested so much time in making myself seem unapproachable and emotionally distant that I think I actually don’t care that much. If the worst comes to the worst, I might tell my boss or the gossipee. Or I could just ask her if she’s aware that everyone hates her.
How else do you handle such a situation?
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