Someone who gossips about people behind their backs is liable to gossip about you behind your back too. That's not what everyone may be saying, but people understand innately that he who gossips isn't likable.
So for people like you and I who want to improve our likability, to build our relationships with people, and to improve our lot in life, gossip is NOT for us. So we don't gossip.
Everyone else gossips anyway? But that's everyone else! That's what the average person does. Start applying this idea, stop gossiping, and you've already been pulling ahead of the pack.
For all the covers in People Magazine or other tabloids, the actors and actresses couldn't care less. Paparazzi chase the stars, and the stars see them as annoyances. Gossip is inconsequential to those of significance.
Don't even choose to play the gossip game. If someone entices you into gossip, either remove yourself from the conversation, or tell this person not to share this information with you.
Pillow Feathers and Gossip:
One student once spread gossip about a fellow student. Reflecting upon his poor choice, he felt very badly about sundering another's reputation, but he didn't know how to solve the problem.
So he went to a teacher to ask his counsel. The teacher instructed him to accompany him to the top of the roof, and to bring a feather pillow.
When the student brought the pillow, the teacher took the pillow and tore it apart with a knife. The feathers were blown off the roof of the building, and were strewn across the landscape below.
"Now collect all of those feathers," the teacher urged.
"That's impossible," exclaimed the student.
Yet that's exactly what happens when you spread a rumor. One person hears the rumor, and spreads it to three other people, which spread repeatedly in return.
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