After all, we teach people how to treat us. And the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. If you've taught the group you'll keep the gossip game going, it's going to take demonstration after demonstration of the new behavior before you can be effective.
Gossips need supportive listeners -- and are unlikely to continue if their gossip and point of view is being challenged. Don't feed the vampire!
Toolbox for not talking
Here are some helpful phrases you can use, drawn from employee assistance programs:
Talk about a showstopper! And that's exactly what's needed.
Step onto the "sorry-go-round" at your own risk, cautions the website www.selfgrowth.com. When you take delight in others' misfortunes, you're actually setting yourself up for misfortune. Buddhists would call this karma, while physicists might explain it as energy responding to energy.
If you're investing your energy into talking crap, you've immediately reduced the time and energy available to do the really important things you need to do today. And how many of us complain we simply don't have enough hours in the day?
Linda Arnold, M.A., MBA, is a certified wellness instructor, counselor and chairwoman/CEO of The Arnold Agency, a marketing communications firm with offices in West Virginia, Montana and Washington, D.C. Reader comments are welcome and may be directed to Linda Arnold, The Arnold Agency, 117 Summers St., Charleston, WV 25301 or emailed to livelifefu...@arnoldagency.com.