Gossip. It's that one little character flaw that I am constantly trying to justify... Convincing myself that it's not really gossip if I'm just responding... As long as I'm not the one that initiates the conversation... Constantly teetering the fine line between true concern and just plain-old-curiosity... And of course, it doesn't count if I'm talking to someone that doesn't actually know the other person... right? And, I mean, what if I'm funny about it? Surely that doesn't count.
Let's say you're at work... and you work a pretty professional 9-to-5 job... and let's just say you occasionally get annoyed with some of the vendors that you deal with. And just as an example, let's say that you sometimes send emails to some of your co-workers to "vent" about how annoying the previously mentioned vendors are. And you get more points from your co-workers if the emails are clever and funny.
Well... the emails are only funny if they are sent to the correct person.
Not quite as funny if they are sent to the above mentioned annoying vendor by accident. Yeah... not funny at all, actually.
Of course... this is all just a hypothetical scenario. This totally didn't happen to me two weeks ago...
Okay... so yes. This did in fact happen to me.
This may have been one of the most mortifying moments of my entire professional career. I called my co-worker (the one that was actually supposed to receive my "funny" email) and tried to simply laugh the whole thing off... "Can you believe what I did?? OMG... blah, blah, blah..." But here's the thing... initially, my response was to just pretend it never happened. Never.happened.
But it did. Why was it okay for me to say what I said to my co-worker... yet I would have never (purposely) said what I did directly to the person that actually received my email?? What makes a statement funny when said to one person... but just plain hurtful when said to another? I began thinking about how many things I say so carelessly... not realizing how ugly and hurtful my words would be if heard by the wrong person.
This, my friends, is gossip.
And the lessons learned in gossiping can be hard to swallow.
I did end up sending an apology email to the vendor that "accidentally" received my not-so-funny email. And although I felt better after apologizing, there wasn't really much to say... my words could not be retracted. I also made the decision to confess my email blip to my boss... a decision that was not easy to make.
Although this was a painful lesson to learn... and one that I still have a LOT to grow in... I pray that my lesson in gossiping is one that I hold onto.
"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you..."