Wednesday, February 8, 2012

dear diary :: lessons in gossiping

Dear Diary,

Gossip. It's that one little character flaw that I am constantly trying to justify... Convincing myself that it's not really gossip if I'm just responding... As long as I'm not the one that initiates the conversation... Constantly teetering the fine line between true concern and just plain-old-curiosity... And of course, it doesn't count if I'm talking to someone that doesn't actually know the other person... right? And, I mean, what if I'm funny about it? Surely that doesn't count.

Clarify funny.

Let's say you're at work... and you work a pretty professional 9-to-5 job... and let's just say you occasionally get annoyed with some of the vendors that you deal with. And just as an example, let's say that you sometimes send emails to some of your co-workers to "vent" about how annoying the previously mentioned vendors are. And you get more points from your co-workers if the emails are clever and funny.

Well... the emails are only funny if they are sent to the correct person.

Not quite as funny if they are sent to the above mentioned annoying vendor by accident. Yeah... not funny at all, actually.

Of course... this is all just a hypothetical scenario. This totally didn't happen to me two weeks ago...

Okay... so yes. This did in fact happen to me.

This may have been one of the most mortifying moments of my entire professional career. I called my co-worker (the one that was actually supposed to receive my "funny" email) and tried to simply laugh the whole thing off... "Can you believe what I did?? OMG... blah, blah, blah..." But here's the thing... initially, my response was to just pretend it never happened. Never.happened.

But it did. Why was it okay for me to say what I said to my co-worker... yet I would have never (purposely) said what I did directly to the person that actually received my email?? What makes a statement funny when said to one person... but just plain hurtful when said to another? I began thinking about how many things I say so carelessly... not realizing how ugly and hurtful my words would be if heard by the wrong person.

This, my friends, is gossip.

And the lessons learned in gossiping can be hard to swallow.

I did end up sending an apology email to the vendor that "accidentally" received my not-so-funny email. And although I felt better after apologizing, there wasn't really much to say... my words could not be retracted. I also made the decision to confess my email blip to my boss... a decision that was not easy to make.

Although this was a painful lesson to learn... and one that I still have a LOT to grow in... I pray that my lesson in gossiping is one that I hold onto.


"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you..."
-Matthew 7:12


Lani said...

Wow! I can't imagine. I think this one might have shocked me right out of ever writing an email again. Glad you apologized, but you're right our words can never be taken back. I think about things people said to me years ago and sometimes they still hurt. I guess the root of it all is that we are all sinners. Glad you are still trying to grow from the experience.

Kristin said...

Ouch that is tough!! And a hard lesson to learn I have had times where I have sent something and then regretted it later too. Sounds like you handled it well though. Most wouldn't admit it to their boss! Thanks for sharing this important reminder!

And thanks for the follow on my blog and comments - following you back! :)

MellieButterfly said...

oh wow. ouch. glad it was a growing opp for you. and maybe i'm off base, but i'm in the camp that by making something funny, it makes everything better, no? like maybe the vendor was so healthy that they didn't take it personally....that they were able to appreciate your wit? i think i need to go pray... :/

Garretts said...

Ouch, indeed. What a growing pain. If your post is any indication, it seems you're growing from the mistake. Thanks again for being so revealing and honest, this is an important reminder for me too!

Tara said...

oh, that made my stomach hurt for you just reading that. but, only because i know exactly where you are. too. many. times. i've had to learn that ever-so painful lesson. working on it though.

Melanie said...

OH, that one hurts. I'm the worlds worst gossiper, but sometimes it just makes you feel so much better. I need to work on this one too.

Suzanne Elyse said...

GAH. Almost as bad as talking about someone and not realizing they're standing right behind you... there's no getting out of that with any ounce of dignity. I tried.

Thanks for your honesty, love the blog!

mleslie43 said...

Wow Julia, I was just thinking about my own troubles with gossiping and then you wrote this... I think God is telling me to SHUT UP in His own sweet voice! Thank you for your honesty today.

Connie said...

All too familiar to me. There have been a couple of hard learned gossip lessons in my lesson jar..the latest which did not end well and instead hurt a relationship with a family member. I totally hear you and understand your lesson learned. We learn and we grow. I can say that this type of growth has also allowed me to learn the difference between venting and gossiping and being negative... I am so sorry it happened to you... but THANK YOU for sharing...if we don't make mistakes how will we learn... we are not perfect. But, happy you are growing from this... :) You are not alone.

Lindsey Brackett said...

Wow. How brave of you to admit that happened to blogsphere. And how right you are that we speak carelessly without thinking of who we might hurt.

Amanda said...

Thank you for being so open. I know I need to be reminded of this myself. Especially the different forms gossip can take. I can definitely blur those lines!

Angie said...

One of my biggest faults is speaking without truly thinking what an impact my words COULD have. I think it was very admirable of you to apologize & to confess to your boss. We are all entitled to mistakes.

Lindsey said...

this was such a great post. very courageous of you to admit to your mistake (and to post about it:). we all should be more like that. thanks for the encouragement. **we sent a package to you guys the other day. hope it made it!

hill said...

beautiful, beautiful blog post. Thank you for being so candid and revealing what's going on in your heart. We are all blessed by you. Thank you for linking up. Xoxo.