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Hi, this is Clean Up Dallas with Culture and Kindness and today is June 6, 2020. Today’s podcast is: How-To Phrase It: And You Can Quote Me.
As you all know, it’s good to stay current with the latest news, or the “buzz”. And when it comes to knowing what is going on, you want to be the first to know. The top stories from the top sources—or if it is juicy enough, from any source. That’s right. The latest gossip, the good, the bad, the ugly and everything in between. It’s what keeps many going, even at the expense of another person’s life and reputation.
How do you distinguish what is gossip and what isn’t? The trick is knowing the difference between what is proper to talk about and what isn’t. If it is someone’s personal business or a sensitive matter relating to another person, there really is no excuse or positive reason to share it with another. Still unclear of what is acceptable and what isn’t? Here’s an example. Julie is talking to Mary about Joannie’s wedding coming up. She mentioned she is so happy they are getting married. That statement is not gossip as long as it is not a secret that they are getting married. It is a generic statement stating happiness for the couple. If she starts talking about details of Mary’s life, what she is doing, or scorning about why they shouldn’t get married, then that crosses the lines of gossip. Gossip can be on anything. It usually revolves around taboo topics such as sexual topics with regards to another person, financial matters, relationship issues, or medical information. Don’t assume that it is ok to talk about these things with another. It can be very hurtful, especially if it forms the mind of another person or becomes public knowledge. There are several types of gossip. Here are some definitions.
Gossip is the spreading of a truth or unconfirmed fact about someone
If a story is already circulating then it is a rumor. A rumor is a currently circulating story or report of uncertain or doubtful truth.
Slander is spreading untrue information about someone to damage their reputation.
If is published in print or online and is a false statement about someone then it is called libel.
And Propaganda is information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.
All of these can cause defamation. Defamation of character is damaging the reputation or name of someone which can happen through any of these civil offenses which could be taken to court in a lawsuit. Talking about someone is not a light matter. Taken to an extreme sharing information about another person can severely damage a person’s life even to the point of suicide or murder. And you can quote me on that.
One way to determine whether what someone is sharing is gossip or not, is to check a few key things. Is the person sharing it with the good-will of the person it is about? Is the information necessary? Is the person you are talking to the source? Are they reliable? Why are they sharing the information? Is it for their popularity at the expense of another? How will you benefit from hearing what they are talking about?
If what they are sharing does not meet these or you feel uncomfortable, cut the conversation off and if it continues walk away. Telling the person that the information would not be appreciated by the person it is about, is one way to indicate that what they are sharing is inappropriate.
How do you prepare yourself for propaganda? It may not be as frequent as gossip, but it is gossip and defamation at a larger level when it targets a specific person. The person’s name doesn’t even need to be named to do damage. Propaganda is a biased opinion which is spread to promote a point of view. In worse cases it can be taken to every retail store, business, public and private venues, and organizations. Many retail stores are easily swayed to use their businesses as a means to support opinions that have absolutely nothing to do with the business. Yet, although this may seem highly illegal, the only way to find justice is by a civil lawsuit, and in many cases it would prove to be a futile effort. For an average person, this type of “gossip” spreading through propaganda can cause discrimination, shut down opportunities for work, cause homelessness, targeted hate, organized crime, hopelessness and more. One would think in huge cases like this, someone would stand up, but as with any gossip or selling of information, it can snowball like an avalanche and gain steam to become the popular voice regardless of the details or meaning behind it. There is something wrong with society when this goes against one individual without means for defense and such damage is done. Business owners and managers of any business should really take a look at what they allow in their business. Significant fines should be placed on them, besides the fact that customers should refuse to shop at stores that do this. The personal social platform should not be at the retail stores. The stores are there to sell the products they have and maintain their brand image. Several stores claim by promoting propaganda from the community it supports their business as they become a hub for the latest update—at the expense of the life of an innocent party. This is a real issue in the DFW area and probably not just in DFW but throughout our country. It is taking Freedom of Speech the wronggg way, and for all those who have participated either on the business end or as customer eagerly wanting the latest morsel of juicy news as they shop, the quote needs to go elsewhere.
Quote me on it, there’s a lot of clean up to be done with the standard in DFW. Besides the news and who’s talking, phrases need to be set aside and highlighted. What phrases do you use when you communicate? We easily can slip into derogatory remarks, discriminatory name calling, or other phrases which can be said and hurt others. Cleaning up the expressions you use can really make a difference in the people who are around you. Why cut people up? Use words of praise frequently and politically correct ways to speak. Discriminatory name calling can often be thought of as racial, but it can be sexual, belief related, intellectual, about social status, or a number of other things. People love to make fun of people for some reason, mostly for popularity and to build their ego, or as a way to control or empower another person. This verbal injury blow is a form of abuse, especially when it is repeated. It is easy for it to catch on with others and suddenly another person is isolated out as a target to be made fun of. You are in control of what you say and you have the power to make a positive impact with your words or to negatively impact someone.
Soap and scrub the dirty words and phrases which are of bathroom humor, sexual humor, racial in nature or other lower standards. Speaking well increases your social standing with those who want to be around you, as well as professionally.
Not everyone sees the damage they cause as much as they seek being cool and their seek own popularity. Instead of speaking and listening to the latest hearsay, why not get to know the target and find the good qualities to speak about instead. It’s better to win friends who may be different than you by taking time to understand them rather than slamming them down with gossip, insults or name calling. Reach for the higher standard by finding acceptability and compromise rather than mocking others to tear them down.
And if you hear any of this, don’t let the cat get your tongue! Speak up and politely correct when you hear comments such as these. Here are some suggestions of ways to stop gossip:
- Change the subject
- Say something positive about someone who is the target of the gossip
- Confront the gossip by pointing it out
- Point out missing information
- …and you can also turn gossip into prayers
Just saying—saying it better by speaking well about people is where winners are at. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything. But how you phrase it and what you say matters.
And you can quote me.
Interested in improving your relationships in how you speak? You won’t want to miss the podcast Tongue Tied on June 24 which will discuss the importance of speaking well. We also have 2 excellent books selected for our book club this month which give tips on improving your conversations and speaking well. Clean Up Dallas with Culture and Kindness’ book club this month on June 27. The first book discussion will be held at 2pm on Facebook live as we try out the new video Meeting Group for our chat and discuss The Lost Art of Good Conversation A Mindful Way to Connect with Others and Enrich Everyday Life By: Sakyong Mipham. Following this at 3pm, we’ll discuss this month’s second book 30 Days to Taming Your Tongue. What you SAY (and DON’T SAY) Will improve your relationships by Deborah Smith Pegues. Be sure to RSVP to join the discussion!
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