Recently a man I barely knew took the initiative to ask me some personal questions in response to some rumors he had heard. Despite being taken slightly aback by his directness I have to say that it was an extremely refreshing experience to be confronted by someone who sought answers from a source rather than accepting hearsay from those too afraid to ask themselves.
Was the conversation awkward? Hell yes! There were moments of painful truths and acceptance of responsibility that filled out a picture left flat by only one side, the gossip, being heard. Are we the “bestest” of friends now? Hell, no! But in the end we, this inquiring man and I, walked away from each other with a mutual respect for having aired owned dirty laundry rather than looking at the stains left by the considerations of others. His asking me direct and sincerely curious questions allowed us both to receive an understanding that could not have occurred if he had chosen to continue to honor and accept the gossip of those who were not involved or privy to what truly happened. In the end I also encouraged this man to confront the other party involved, someone with sociopathic tendencies, and ask the same questions of him. I also suggested he be careful, listen with not only his ears but with his instinct and seek further evidence of this person’s behavior because I was not the only “victim”, just one of the few not afraid to be honest about not only what happened buy my part in it all.
I was taught it takes at least two to make a situation and at least two to hold that situation in place. This doesn’t mean that the situation’s affect is isolated to only those involved. Our behavior always spills over into the community we are part of and discussing the behavior of those within our community is a natural thing. As a community knowing who or what is dangerous in hopes of protecting ourselves and each other is important and often those discussions are part of sorting that out. As part of a community it is also our individual responsibility to determine what is passing on gossip vs. passing on a truth. Unfortunately most of us are too “chicken shit” to confront the truth in a direct fashion to determine and decide this. By allowing gossip to circulate and grow into stories that cloud up the truth we ignore the opportunity to seek the truth when it was clean and readily available.
I am not asking that every little bit of gossip goes to “trial” but I am suggesting that we take responsibility for the stories we pass along. I am suggesting before we open our mouths we ask ourselves if those stories we hear have come from the source or out of those mouths of those too cowardly to ask the source themselves. I am asking that we all "grow a set" and ask those involved rather those eagerly listening...