Time to read: 1:11.15 minutes
Office gossip is an international sport. Talking about other people is as common as water coolers, cheap coffee, and windowless conference rooms. Gossip breeds mistrust. If someone is willing to gossip with you, there's a very good chance, they will also be glad to gossip about you.
I had a recent ah-ha about gossip in my own life. I ran into an old friend who I hadn't seen in a while. We were casually catching up when I happened to mention something that sparked her desire to complain about an organization to which we both belong. Luckily, we didn't have time to continue the conversation, and she walked way with the promise to call for a tea date.
After we parted, I realized I was tempted to gossip because what I wanted was true connection with her. Colluding and creating an unpleasant dynamic that would, frankly, leave me feeling like crap, was the price I have been willing to pay for connection in the past. The realization hit me like a ton of bricks, and I decided then and there that I would no longer let gossip and collusion hijack real connection.
Does using gossip as a tool for connection ring familiar to you?
Here are 4 things you can do to stop the gossip and go for the real connection instead:
- Be aware of how you feel when you succumb to gossip. Do you feel inspired and connected or dirty and sad (or something else completely)?
- Openly commit to stopping the gossip and collusion. Tell your friends and colleagues your commitment and recruit them to help you stick to it.
- Find points of real connection with others and talk about those things: common projects, shared interests, different interests, and current events. In my corporate days, we had a tradition of bringing funny or poignant stories from the radio as topics during lunch.
- Share you areas of personal and professional growth and recruit your friends and colleagues to hold you accountable to help you grow. Talking about yourself is waaaay more fun than talking about others any day.
May these suggestions bring you the real connection you crave.
With rebel love,
P.S. As always, if you like what you see in the Corporate Rebel, please share the love with your colleagues. They can join our merry band of rebels right here.