When Your Friends Gossip and Betray You….


by Kenneth Justice

A friend of mine called me up yesterday and was really upset. One of their relatives had posted some inflammatory gossip on Facebook and it had made the rounds throughout the day,

Kenneth, what they said was entirely false, it was a bull shit lie, but now everyone saw it and I’ve had to spend the day calling and texting everyone to say it wasn’t true” they told me.

Gossip and slander are two of the most difficult things to deal with in a friendship. Whether it occurs amongst our relatives, close friends, or co-workers, when people slander us, the sense of betrayal that sweeps over us can feel overwhelming.

My Uncle Bob used to say, “Kenneth, gossip can ruin your day like a hole in your tights; it just keeps growing and growing till you’ve eventually got to toss them in the garbage”. Of course, as far as I know my Uncle Bob never wore tights, which only points out the depth of his knowledge on even those areas he never experienced.

Gossip and slander are two of the greatest weapons on the Internet;

—) If you don’t like what someone has to say, slander them on a blog or on a Facebook post

—) If you don’t like what someone has to say, gossip about them on various social networks

In politics, gossip and slander are par for the course. All the various political parties use gossip and slander so effortlessly it would seem these politicians majored in the subjects back in college. Turning on cable NEWS or reading print media, we see less intelligent discourse than we see personal attacks, unsubstantiated gossip, and outright slander.

Good friends of mine who used to be intelligent readers have succumbed to the fast food mentality of reading only social network posts and watching short video documentaries; as though learning five minutes about a particular subject gives them all the information they need to arrive at a fully educated position. Sadly, these misinformed friends take the minute amount of information they have, and then craft their own poorly articulated thoughts on subjects, which end up being filled with heavily cloaked posts of hearsay, gossip, and slander.

People do the same thing when they hear gossip; instead of looking into the matter more, or minding their own business, they take what little information they have and leap at traducement which then spreads throughout the community.

Last night I was part of a conversation with a blogger named Sahar from Montreal who made an interesting remark, she suggested that despite the massive amount of information available to us all, that a great number of people are suffering from an inability to understand and see truth. Perhaps it is because we live in age and culture that tells us we can know everything we need to know, by merely reading a Facebook post, or listening to a five minute NEWS story.

Whatever happened to deeper thought and reflection? Whatever happened to more serious study and devotion? Obviously they’ve gone the wayside in favor of our fast food mentality; we simply don’t have the time to invest in research, study, and greater learning.

—) Want to know about a President; simply Google their name and learn everything you need to know in 30 seconds

—) Want to know about a vein of science; Google the topic and learn everything you need to know in 30 seconds

—) Want to know about celebrity gossip; Google a name and learn everything you need to know in 30 seconds

It’s a dangerous mentality that has crept upon us. Without realizing it, we’ve entered into a Brave New World where books are cheaper then they ever were and more people can read then ever could; yet people have simply stopped reading the good stuff.

We’ve exchanged depth of understanding for triviality. We’ve exchanged studying history for watching Drunk History on Comedy Central. We’ve exchanged being truly educated in the liberal arts, for learning only what we need to know in college that will help us make more money in the job market.

The roots of gossip and slander come from our thirst to think poorly of others, and our laziness in taking the time to more deeply study and learn the truth. We have a ton of information at our disposal, but it is getting more and more difficult to know the truth.

Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee,


Categories: Culture & Society

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25 replies

  1. Gossip is really a dreadful thing. We don’t seem to be aware of that much in the modern world, but it has the power to completely destroy lives. The betrayal and false info is bad enough, but gossip also has a way of taking on a life of it’s own. Where I live our law enforcement has a facebook page and a report your neighbor mentality. Needless to say, this is a disastrous idea because people get bored and their imaginations run wild and there are rivalries going on. In a small town you can really see the harm this kind of behavior does.

  2. Whatever happened to deeper thought and reflection? Whatever happened to more serious study and devotion? . . . Did you ever think we are intentionally being taught NOT to use critical thinking? The dumbing down of America is very obvious to we old folks who have watched the decline. . . .

  3. Well said, Kenneth. I had an acquaintance tell me some days ago that his closest mates had said something mean about him. He seemed really pained but I told him to take it as one of those things that people did.
    Can’t say it’s the best of advice, but then the world is really messed up and you have to take each day in strides.

  4. Outstanding post and true on every point!

  5. This post hits home, as I actually lost a job because of something similar. I cracked a joke on facebook around election time poking fun of the political system in general. Someone- their exact identity is still a mystery to me- went and told some local officials what I had said- leaving out the fact that I’ve made dozens of similar comments in the name of humor since the day I joined social media. The officials took my comments as personal attacks, branded me ‘insubordinate’ and ‘disrespectful’ – and fired me.
    I eventually got the job back, but suspended ALL social media activity for almost a year simply because I didn’t know who I could trust anymore.

  6. Brilliant post – Be inspired this morning and do take care!

  7. Recently, my friend gossip another friends. When I check the matter, my friend was the one who started the fire according to her own presumptions. All I do was to tell her that it was just her presumptions. Remember the Bible to hear from the other side first.

  8. I’ve experienced the gossip from people who may have done it out of jealousy and not having the education to solve their problems in other ways.

    I like the point about how information is available faster now, and so many people feel they can become experts in a subject by just reading articles online. When everything is so fast-paced, some people develop the false assumption that they can quickly become experts on things as well.

    As a society, it seems like many people are becoming impatient. If we can’t learn something in a few minutes, it’s “too long.” We have fast food, internet at our fingertips, and we don’t always have “time” to read books or go to school. We have become a society that wants everything now. It’ll be interesting to see how things progress…

  9. ‘Dirty little secrets, dirty little lies
    We got our dirty little fingers in everybody’s pie
    We love to cut you down to size, we love dirty laundry

    Kick ’em when they’re up, kick ’em when they’re down
    Kick ’em when they’re up, kick ’em when they’re down
    Kick ’em when they’re up, kick ’em when they’re down
    Kick ’em when they’re stiff, kick ’em all around’

    Don Henley

  10. I lost my house and my job because of my “best friend’s” gossip about me in a small town. Now I know how dangerous it is and when someone starts gossiping I run the other way and stay away from that person. Funny how we’re taught to bond by “dishing”. It corrupts the bond between two people when one talks behind the other’s back, even if it’s to resolve issues. Confront the issue with the person. It’s the only way to have a good relationship.

  11. Well said and very true.
    It is one thing, why and how humanity arrived to this point (long, constructive debates and hot chocolate versus cafe people…:), the more importnat is, what shall we do now?
    If we think of the inspired writers, they predicted the future when universal, personal knowledge would be an undesired state of the citizens in the future what we already live…
    Everyone, who is willing to learn, immerse and remember, care and act can easily be the enemy of the state, without any special effort, showing a 30 seconds (or lately 6 seconds) video who is “unwanted”, rest will be done “volunteerly”.
    We should be living books, worthy enough to others to benefit.

  12. I attribute the lack of deep thought to misplaced priorities. If someone is keen on external validation then gossiping + non-critical thinking is a must. Those two behaviors are what get you attention. And everyone wants to be a star, don’t you know?

    But just try starting a conversation with some depth and a reasoned pov, and no one will listen or engage. You stand alone, which probably frightens you because you aren’t getting attention, so you decide that there’s no incentive to give up gossip for deep thought.

    People do what works for them. Often to the detriment of society.

  13. So many great points you raised! Again 😉 And many of the comments help bring further perspectives into the discussion. How is your friend doing? This must not be an easy thing to be going through…

    PS: I was reading along and got to the part where you mention that you spoke to a blogger from Montreal named Sahar, and I thought to myself, hey, I’m a blogger from Montreal whose name is… **blush**

  14. Great post. As someone who has been on the receiving end of malicious lies spread by a board member I asked to resign, I am all too aware of the destruction such gossip causes. Can’t help but understand it as a primate watcher; the reason for gossip is to gain rank in the “hidden” human hierarchy by bringing others down so that we can rise up. This is classic primate behaviour…. and for me, a reminder of how our primal drives (which we tend to ignore) dominate in spite of our indoctrination.

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