I'm SO done with my old way of living. I'm constantly getting swept up in gossiping with my neighbors. I feel gross afterwards, and also want to stay welcomed in my community here. If feel like if I don't participate in talking garbage, then no one will talk to me anymore. Everyone gossips about everyone. I was born here in Rockaway, and forever I remember this is the way it is. My grandmother gossiped, and my whole family does. It creates so much discomfort for me, and feels so much like high school. I live alone now, and I have taken on this bad habit. My neighbors even gossip about people they call friends! It's terrible. How do I take myself out of this, and stay friendly with my neighborhood peeps?
Dear Gossiping Gail,
Impressive! It's wonderful that you realize this is a choice, and that you no longer want to be in this choice of being a garbage talker. I see gossip as an immature way of connecting, it's a limited view of relating. It feels good to connect with a person in judgement, yet at the same time, disconnecting. You have beautiful awareness of that if they are talking about others, that eventually they will talk about you. Guess what? They already are. They are already sitting in judgement about what's right and what's wrong, and no one is hardly ever right.
SO! The quickest way is to change the subject, like when dealing with little children, you re-direct them. The easiest thing to talk about is the weather, or sharing your own personal thoughts and experiences about yourself. Since they are not aware that you are re-directing them, it will be an exercise solely for you. It's the perfect thing to get healthier! As soon as you see these neighbors, have a healthy activity in mind, like going for a walk, taking a bike ride, going for a swim. Front-load your conversation by telling them you're on your way to do that activity. Don't get caught up in a sit-down conversation.
Even if you start to feel obligated to continue talking, force yourself to move on.
You got this!
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