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You’re Gossiping and You Don’t Even Know It


People say all the time “I never gossip” but unfortunately many of them are mistaken. 

They do participate in gossip, they just don’t realize it. 

Because we think of gossiping as “telling” secrets we’ve heard; but there’s more to it than that. 

To listen to gossip is to participate in gossip. 


Because when you listen to gossip you create a clearing and an environment for an emotional person to propagate their story. 

In other words you give a gossiper an audience. And that invites and encourages them to continue talking about whatever it is that they are talking about. 

Listening to gossip will at minimum make the person feel more validated and at most fan their flame to share even more. 

Because it’s hard to listen to gossip and not be agreeable and supportive of the person you’re listening to. It’s human nature to want to empathize with another person- especially when they’re frustrated or complaining. 

But by doing that you become an active member of the gossip crowd. You are advancing what is being said. 

So how do you know if what you are listening to is gossip?

Simple: Gossip is anything even remotely negative being said about a person who isn’t there. 

The moment someone you are talking to starts talking negative about another person you have immediately crossed into the gossip zone. 

And remember if you’re listening to gossip then you are participating in gossip. 

So how should you respond?

Also simple: You interrupt the person as quickly and politely yet firmly as possible and say “Hey, hopefully you don’t mind but I actually made a resolution this year that I would not talk negatively about or listen to negative talk about someone who isn’t in the room with me. I do want to support you and be a good friend though and the biggest thing I’ve learned that helps is to go talk directly with ________. I think that would probably help.”

This of course is simple but not easy. 

And yes you may lose some friends over this. And the ones you lose will probably be vocal about you being on your high horse because misery loves company and misery often gets angry when their company moves on and leaves them alone. 

But it’s the best thing you can do for yourself, the person who isn’t there, and the person who is frustrated. 

Because, as Eleanor Roosevelt is credited with saying: Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

The Power of Personal Choice with Stephen Hanselman – Episode 168 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

personal choice

Stephen Hanselman began his career as a bookseller 30 years ago and refined his passion for publishing at Harvard Divinity School, where he served as director of the bookstore. After graduating Harvard in 1986 with a Master of Theological Studies degree, he founded Divinitas Books, a specialty chain and direct-mail operation. After selling his business in 1991, he joined HarperSanFrancisco. This began a 13-year tenure at HarperCollins in a variety of roles including marketing, sales, editorial, and from 1999-2005 as publisher of HarperSanFrancisco. From 2002 to 2005 Steve was group publisher responsible for HarperBusiness, HarperResource, and HSF. Stephen is a co-author of the book, The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Self-Mastery, Perseverance and Wisdom: Featuring New Translations of Seneca, Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus.

Show Highlights:

  • “Some things are in our control and others are not.” – Epictetus @SteveHanselman
  • Most of what we know about stoicism comes from the writings of the three figures found in this book. @SteveHanselman
  • Virtue is the source of happiness. @SteveHanselman
  • We cannot have our hope based on external things. @SteveHanselman
  • We have to focus on the things that are in our control, the decisions and choices that are ours alone to make.  @SteveHanselman
  • If you want to get good out of this life, you have to get it from yourself. @SteveHanselman
  • Stoic disciplines help us turn away from the false values we put on external things. @SteveHanselman
  • The pursuit of virtue makes us effective in our lives and brings joy in what we experience. @SteveHanselman
  • The 4 primary stoic virtues: self-control, courage, justice and wisdom. @SteveHanselman
  • When we work with others we have to see it their way. @SteveHanselman
  • We need to continually ask ourselves, ‘To what is my soul committed?’ @SteveHanselman
  • There is no virtue in things staying the same, and there is no evil in things changing. @SteveHanselman
  • Too often we give our time and energy to things we should just say ‘no’ to. @SteveHanselman
  • Inside of every circumstance, we always have a choice to how we will respond. @rory_vaden
  • Busy is not something that happens to you; It is something you allow. @rory_vaden

To find out more about Stephen, learn about Stoicism and get your copy of his book visit:

The Action Catalyst is a weekly podcast hosted by Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting every Wednesday. The show is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts, has listeners from all around the world and shares “insights and inspiration to help you take action.” Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews special expert guests and thought leaders. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!