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So for this post, I wanted to share a speech I wrote for a competition I had a few weeks ago. For those of you who know me personally you know I am an avid Speech & Debate(r). That means a lot of my weekends and Saturdays are spent competing, by either performing speeches, or debating a topic.
As a high school student, I compete in a national league called NSDA, which stands for National Speech & Debate Association. It’s great–and I’m definitely not biased about it of course 😉
For speech particular, I (usually) compete in a category of speech called Original Oratory. And in original oratory you write your own speech (usually persuasive) that is about 10 minutes long. And this particular speech I am sharing with you today is just that.
So here is my speech: Got Gossip?
Question Number 1: Which one of these examples shows gossip?
Did you see her clothes? And her shoes? Wow, she’s such a fake. I can’t believe I’m friends with her. I mean look at her, she’s so ugly. Ugh, I can’t even.
Did you hear about what Nick said to Christie? Who does he think he is? He’s such a….
Honestly, I don’t want to be mean, but Amanda totally deserved that F on the french test, and how she got ditched by her date at prom, and how she got yelled at by her parents for the F. No offense of course.
Tune in now for the latest news on celebrity and TV-idol Kim Kardashigan on GossipTV
So what’s your answer? If you answered: a, b, c, or d, you’re right, but you’re also wrong at the same time
As you’ve probably noticed, this is a trick question. The real answer is all the above.
So with that in mind, Let’s talk gossip.
To begin, let’s define gossip. To find a definition, in addition to my research, I reached out to my friends as well as fellow classmates and asked them all a simple question: How would you define gossip?
The answers I got were varied in range. But they can be summarized in 3 responses
The first one being, it’s very very baaaaad.
The second one: Something that teenage girls and women do most well
And finally the third one: It’s just a way that people talk, it’s for entertainment. Lay off.
Merriam-Webster defines the noun gossip as information about the behavior and personal lives of other people and a person who gossips as: as a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others. Regardless of whatever definitions you may think are correct at this point, I hope that by the end of my speech we can agree that not only is gossip very very baaaad but also that we all can agree to try and eliminate talking about others in a manner that the subject might not want, whether in a positive or negative way.
All of us in here have probably at one time gossiped about someone. Hey, I myself am as guilty as the next person. And all of us in here have also probably been the victim of gossip as well, and have been either negatively or positively been affected by it. Through rumors, you at some point in your life probably heard something about yourself that even if you didn’t even know.
Gossip is everywhere. At school, at work, home, church, the supermarket, Starbucks, online, tv media, EVERYWHERE..I mean there are multibillion dollar companies and industries based on… gossiping. And we gossip, about everything
A report by Social Issues Research Center states that gossip accounts for 55% of men’s conversations and 67% of women’s, a much smaller gap between the sexes than usually thought.
Also According to social psychologist Laurent Begue, about 60% of conversations between adults are about someone who is not present.
We all know to a certain degree that gossiping is wrong. But let’s all admit it, sometimes gossiping about someone is fun, and we enjoy doing it, especially if we’re doing it about someone who has done nothing but wrong to us.
But other then when we’re venting, why do human beings gossip?
Well most have professionals have agreed that it’s a natural thing that is part of being human, but also that when we gossip, it’s more of a me problem than their problem.
Psychoanalyst Virginnie Meggle says that nastiness in us to gossip is fueled by a comparison trap that many of us fell into from a young age, or the “I-need-to-be-better than you syndrome. She states: Forbidden to bite and hit, we turn to verbal violence, and when we recognize that someone is better than us or at we’re at a disadvantage because of a certain someone, we talk badly about them. Sound familiar? Yeah, me too.
Experts state we also benefit from listening to gossip. A study from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands states that: Gossip recipients tend to use positive and negative group information to improve, promote, and protect the self. From hearing this information about someone, we learn not only what to do and what not to do, but many researchers state that it serves as a good tool for self evaluation.
So you may be asking, what is she trying to say then, is she trying to argue that gossiping is (gasp) good?
No, I’m not. Because while some social psychologists argue that gossip may be beneficial for our social life and emotional health, all of them state that this excludes weapon-grade rumors that destroy someone’s reputation and image, and that it also fails to take into account the emotional health of the person you’re talking about. And gossip, by definition, is often times an exaggerated story that you tell someone to make yourself feel better. So it’s not necessarily the entire truth. And remember, who gossips to you, will gossip of you.
So while you’re stirring up a good story about how she totally sucked up to the boss to get that promotion, you may be doing that because you really wanted the promotion yourself and didn’t get it.
Blaise Pascal, a French mathematician as well as philosopher once said: I maintain that if everyone knew what others said about … them, there would not be four friends in the world
Gossip is what no one claims to like, but everyone enjoys. And it spreads. So chances, are something you told your friend saying “Don’t tell this to anyone but” got spread by her going to someone else and saying “Don’t tell this to anyone but” and then eventually the subject found out. Think about that for a second.
How many times have you been told something that someone said about you? Well, guess what, mostly likely that started somewhere as a secret. But it’s not longer one anymore.
There’s the proverb, A gossip betrays a confidence but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.
Gossiping uses a mentality of: I’m good, you’re bad. You’re assuming that you’re okay, while the person you’re talking about is not.
Like I stated earlier, we gossip because it makes ourselves feel better. I gossip because I want to be better than you. It’s selfish logic, but we’re all so guilty of it.
What we often don’t realize in the art of mindless gossiping is that it has devastating effects for those who hear about what people said about them. To gossip and talk maliciously about someone is a form of bullying, yes I did mean to say bullying.
So let’s talk about the effects of bullying. In addition to their self image and confidence going down, and the other negative psychological effects it has on someone, we all know from experience, that it sucks to have someone saying something bad about you, especially behind your back.
In Great Britain, a study performed there went so far as to suggest that almost half of the suicides committed in that country were directly related to bullying.
And what we often don’t realize is that sometimes we say things that we think are going to compliment someone but nonetheless, if it’s done behind the person’s back it’s gossip. And you don’t know whether that person even wants what you’re telling them to be spread around, and if they may even think of it as a compliment anyways.
Best way to deal with it? Unless told otherwise, try and keep information to yourself.
While you may think that gossiping about someone might benefit you, it definitely doesn’t benefit the person you’ve just talked trash about who may be going through their own issues. And because there’s really no secrets in most instances, people will find out what you said, and it’s a lose-lose situation, because they will know about all the colorful ways you described a particular person, ruining your reputation and hurting the other person as well.
How do we fix this epidemic of gossiping?
Mother Teresa once said: Not all of us can do good things, but we can all do small things with love.
We can’t assume that everyone is going to stop gossiping about others all of a sudden and it’s impractical to expect everyone to. However, you as an individual in your life can choose to look beyond the surface and choose not to gossip about others, whether in a positive or negative manner.
Apply the golden rule that you’ve been hearing your entire life: Treat others the way you want to be treated. If you don’t want to hear from someone that Susie has been talking about you in a way you don’t like, then you first don’t talk about Susie or any other person in a negative way. You are what comes out of your mouth, and what you say and do, is how people will remember you.
Apply also what I call the platinum rule. Treat others the way THEY want to be treated. You know no one wants to be talked badly about. So just don’t do it.
Will doing so prevent everyone in your life from talking badly or gossiping about you? Absolutely not. But the whole point is that you become the better person first.
Because while I may not understand something about you, chances are you also quite frankly may have a whole list of things that you don’t understand and dislike about me.
Let me put in 21st century terms.
A few years ago, there was a lot of talk about whether to insert the word selfie into the dictionary, and it eventually was put in.. And in the age of social media, we can easily take pictures of ourselves and share it with everyone. But think of it like this If you were able to take a selfie of your soul, would you be willing to show it to the world?
Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, and small minds discuss people.
The tongue weighs practically nothing, but research shows that so few people can hold it from talking about others. Will you?
And that wrap it up friends. If you have any questions/comments about the speech, please do leave a comment below. I make it a personal goal to try and personally respond to every single comment.