Anxiety in the Workplace: Gossip

16 Feb


Ouch.  Gossip.  The last of the five coping mechanisms we adopt in a stressful system according to systems theory, whether it be an anxious workplace, church, or family.  Here is the list:

“We gossip when we talk about someone, rather than directly to someone.  Two people move closer to each other at the expense of the gossiped about party, who is focused on in a critical or worried way.  You can measure the amount of anxiety by the amount of gossip going on.” ~ Harriet Lerner, Phd.

There are times, of course, when it is healthy to involve a third party, but we’re talking here about unhealthy conversation.  We need to find a way to deal with people in a straightforward manner and not go behind their backs.  “Have you heard what ______ did now??” is neither healthy nor productive.  The Bible tells us that our tongues can bring life or death into a situation.  I think it’s particularly difficult to correct when you’re the type of person who processes life through talking–as I am.  I’m learning, too slowly it seems at times, to talk things through with God instead of my co-workers.

Mean people spread mean gossip; their words smart and burn. Proverbs 16:27

The gossip of bad people gets them in trouble; the conversation of good people keeps them out of it. Proverbs 12:13

Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy; do you really want junk like that in your belly? Proverbs 18:8

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