If we want to feel connected, we need to break up with gossiping.
One of the things I’ve noticed is that as we feel more disconnected, we grasp for connection through unhealthy information sharing (i.e. gossiping). Unhealthy information sharing is all the ways we share information about other people that may or not be true. We show our solidarity and alliances by sharing gossip, debriefing gatherings/meetings to amp up emotion and build more solidarity rather than to vent or problem solve, sharing details of who said what at gatherings/meetings to those not in the space, etc. I think we use this as a cheap form of connection. A quick was to bond and as a way to seek and provide support.
These ways of connecting then bleed over to our connections with other people. Influenced by all the “off the record” information, we read tone and intent into peoples verbal and non-verbal communication. This then creates a feedback loop of cheap connection and disconnection.
Unhealthy information sharing also leads to secret keeping and the inhibits the ability to confront unhealthy or abusive behaviors.
To build or rebuild communication, we need to examine our participation in the economy of unhealthy information sharing. For example,
1) How are we benefitting by sharing information?
2) What are our motivations or intentions in sharing information?
3) Is this type of sharing making us feel more connected?
AND we need to break up with gossiping.
While we can theorize on a persons intent, we don’t actually know, so we can test our thinking by:
1) assuming good intent
2) taking peoples words at face value. Do not use our interpretations.
3) seeking clarification