Most of us know we shouldn’t gossip. Gossip not only hurts others, but it also hurts ourselves. But is it okay to vent? What is the difference? When we need to talk about something bothering us, it can be tough to know the best way to do that.
Let’s talk about gossip
Gossiping is a pervasive habit, but it’s also one of the most harmful.
Why do we gossip?
Everyone has someone in their lives who love to gossip. And often, we avoid that person.
People gossip for a variety of reasons. Some gossip to feel connected to others, sharing information about the people around them to gain insight into their lives and relationships.
Others gossip because it can be a way of gaining power and influence over others, mainly if they use gossip in a strategic or manipulative way. Additionally, some people gossip simply out of boredom or curiosity, enjoying the thrill of spreading rumors and rumors or gathering new information.
While gossiping behavior may have many different motivations, it typically reflects a need to relate to other people and one’s place within a social group.
What are the consequences of gossiping?
Gossiping is a potentially harmful behavior that can have several negative consequences. At the most basic level, gossiping can breed negativity and create a divisive environment, allowing individuals to build alliances and express their feelings about others behind their backs.
Additionally, gossiping can reinforce stereotypes and encourage stereotyping of others based on characteristics such as race or religion. Furthermore, gossiping is often motivated by jealousy or competition, which can lead to behaviors such as jealousy-driven rumor-mongering and spreading unfounded or inflammatory information about others.
When one of your friends gossips about another friend in your group, it makes everyone feel unsafe. This is why gossiping can be damaging to individuals being gossiped about and to the people doing the gossiping themselves.
I’ll just call it venting instead…
what is the difference between gossiping and venting
Venting is when you tell someone your problems to feel better and get advice, while gossiping is when you spread rumors or talk about other people’s problems to feel better. While many believe venting is a healthy way to release stress, there is such a fine line between gossiping and venting it’s better not to do either.
If you “vent” to one friend about another friend, this is no longer venting. You’re gossiping. A good test to determine if you’re venting or gossiping is how would you feel if the person you’re venting about found out?
If that thought sends your heart racing, it’s gossiping. But, on the other hand, if you are okay with it because you know the problem is more about how you handled the situation than the person, you’re venting.
But as discussed below, venting has many other disadvantages, including venting can lead to rumination, which is when we fixate on our negative emotions and dwell on them.
how can venting be hurtful
Venting can be hurtful because venting takes the focus off of problem-solving and redirects it towards complaining. In addition, when people vent, they are often complaining about someone or something else, which can lead to feelings of resentment.
Additionally, venting can foster a negative outlook on life, reinforcing the belief that there is always something to complain about. In some cases, venting can even be addictive, as it provides a temporary release from stress or negative emotions.
Finally, if not adequately managed, venting can harm both the individual venting and their relationships with others. Therefore, it’s important to be mindful of the potential dangers of venting before engaging in this activity.
what is the alternative to gossiping or venting?
So what is the alternative? One option is to talk to the person you have a problem with. This can be difficult, but it is often the most effective way to resolve conflict.
Another option is to journal your thoughts and feelings. Journaling can help you healthily process your emotions without involving other people.
Related: 3 Ways to Cure an Ungrateful Heart
Instead of venting to other people, you can take your venting directly to God. Turning towards God involves diverting your focus towards prayer and meditation, offering up all of your concerns, hopes, fears, and frustrations to the divine.
By communing with God in this way, you can find peace and comfort that won’t simply evaporate once the venting session is over. And by avoiding venting, you won’t burden others with the downsides of venting. Instead, you’ll feel more powerful and able to manage whatever comes your way.
what does the bible say about gossiping?
The Bible talks about gossiping in many different ways.
In Matthew 12:36, Jesus says, “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.” This verse is telling us that we will be held accountable for the words we speak. Therefore, we must be cautious about what we say because our words can significantly impact other people’s lives.
Gossiping can ruin relationships, and it can spread hurt and pain.
In James 3:5-6, it says, “Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.”
This verse shows us how gossip can destroy our lives. Therefore, we need to be careful with our words because they can have a big influence on our lives and the lives of others.
In Proverbs 16:28, for example, we’re warned that “a gossip separates close friends.” This is because gossip often leads to mistrust and suspicion between people. Likewise, James 4:11 tells us that “gossipers are sinners” because gossiping often involves speaking negatively about others behind their back.
Who Do You Want to Be?
No one wants a friendship based upon gossiping or complaining (which is what venting eventually reduces to.) Remind yourself of the type of relationship you’re cultivating next time you feel the need to vent and instead take your concern to God. Just tell Him you need to vent, then ask for control to keep it to yourself and to let it go.
It takes enormous self-control to stop talking about other people behind their backs. So often, we rationalize why it’s okay to talk about this or that. But as God’s children, we are commanded to love others as we love ourselves, including gossiping. We have been given the fruit of the spirit to help us when we are weak and to exercise self-control.