Being the subject of gossip can be painful if you let it

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Take a walk down a hallway in any high school and as you pass the clusters of students, the conversations more often than not consist of gossip. For the average teenager, this hallway gossip becomes just another aspect of the school routine that often goes by ignored. That is, until you find yourself the subject of the gossip.

Take a walk down a hallway in any high school and as you pass the clusters of students, the conversations more often than not consist of gossip. For the average teenager, this hallway gossip becomes just another aspect of the school routine that often goes by ignored. That is, until you find yourself the subject of the gossip.

Everyone at one point or another is the subject of someone else’s conversation. Naturally, we would all prefer to remain outside of situations that threaten to expose us in a negative light. The key to coping with gossip, though, is not prevention but rather ensuring that these harsh words do not change one’s self-image.

Being the topic of conversation is inevitable. As vicious as these rumors may be, the truth of the matter is that others do not think about the rumors as much as the person who is the subject of the gossip. Gossip is spoken on a whim and usually for the purposes of the conversation. More often than not, it does not last longer than a few days. During these few days, do not concern yourself with what is being said and who is saying it. The more aloof you are to the rumor, the more likely it will pass faster. If you move past what is being said, others will too.

Although it may be difficult, the best way to counteract the effects of gossip is through confidence. What other people say or think about you holds no value. You know who you are as a person, and nothing others can claim will change that. Generally, if someone else wastes the effort in criticizing your attributes, accomplishments, or your other aspects, he or she envies you. 

It is important to understand that you did nothing wrong, but rather the perpetrator of the gossip is most likely upset for some other reason. Under the critique of others, it may seem easier to relinquish who you are to avoid gossip. Do not let the gossip change you or how you think about yourself. Continue your day-to-day routine and do not attempt to avoid others who may be spreading rumors about you. If you become the topic of conversation, you are most likely doing something right.

There are scenarios, though, when gossip extends past meaningless giggles and conversation and crosses the line to become harassment. If these rumors are causing an emotionally or physically unsafe environment, it is imperative that attention be brought to these matters. If you personally feel that you are a victim of the vicious words of your peers or know someone who is, notify a school official immediately and seek their aid. Do not concern yourself with potential retaliation. Seeking the help of an authority figure will only improve conditions.

Similarly, if you have been the victim of gossip or have seen its effects firsthand, use that situation as a learning experience. Words can be hurtful and more powerful than you may realize. Refuse to partake in gossip, and when others begin such conversation find a manner by which to shift the subject. Regardless of whether or not the rumors are fallacy or truth, these words can have a severe emotional toll on an individual. 

The next time you want to speak about someone else, just remember to consider the impact those words may have on others.

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