Supporting others with gossip
To make good or supportive statements involving people, we must continuously work on breaking the undesirable habit of participating
in negative gossip. We must clearly separate conversations that talk about someone from those who talk against someone. We
must recognize the difference between harmless and harmful conversation.
But to participate in good gossip, even more effort is required. When thinking about sharing personal gossip, ask yourself
these three questions:
- Is it kind?
- Is it true?
- Is it necessary?
Kindness has been likened to oil that takes the friction out of living. Is it true? The greatest kindness we have to offer
is to always tell the truth. Is it necessary? We should not only say kind things at the right time, but equally important
and often more difficult, is to leave unsaid an unkind thing at a tempting moment. Just because we have the right to tell
something, doesn't mean that it's right to tell it.
Is gossip ethical? It can be, if we talk about others in a way that we would like them to talk about us.
Dr. Carl Osborne, a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, is professor of medicine in the Department of Small
Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota.