I have a dirty little secret.
I like talking about other people. In fact I don’t just like it, I love it. It’s one of my most favourite things to do from a conversational point of view.
Back in my triathlon days, where all my friends were triathletes, Mr X couldn’t think of anything he’d rather do less than sit down in a room of triathletes. That was because all you guys do is talk about triathlon. Correction Mr X. Sure we talked about triathlon, but more than anything we talked about each other.
Which brings me to a little story. Just recently I was chatting to a fellow blogger (let’s call her Jen*) about another blogger we both ‘know’ (ie as much as you can know someone you have never actually met in real life. Let’s call her Jerry*). Jen mentioned something about Jerry that made me laugh so hard I actually crashed into a fence (Jen and I were riding along a bike path at the time). After Jen herself had a little crash of her own (oh the fun we had that day!) she said make sure you tell Jerry she was responsible for my first bike crash!
As I was riding home that morning I thought to myself – how on earth do I relate this little (hilarious!!) story to Jerry? I will have to start with the fact that we were talking about her and I know there are a lot of people out there who do not like being talked about – they consider it gossip.
Here’s the definition of gossip:
Now, for all that I love talking about other people, I do not consider myself a gossip. I think gossip is nasty and I while I am not going to pretend that I have never gossiped, as a general rule I do not do it. I don’t want to know the salacious details of a person’s life. If I am talking about someone with someone else, my motivation is something else entirely.
You see, people fascinate me. I want to know what makes them tick.
Human behaviour fascinates me. I want to know what makes someone react a certain way to a certain situation. What makes them screw their nose up or roll their eyes or squeal with delight. I love knowing everything I can about pretty much anyone – whether I’ve met them in real life or not.
If I drill down deeper I find this: I don’t like upsetting people. I don’t like saying something inadvertently that could be seen as insensitive. At the same time, I don’t want to be second guessing everything I say just in case I might offend someone. The more I know about someone, the more relaxed I can be around them and the better I can connect with them.
And that’s why I LOVE talking about people. That why I love talking about YOU with someone else that knows you. It’s because I truly believe the better we all understand and KNOW each other, the lovelier the world will be!
What do you think?
Am I just trying to justify being a dirty, rotten gossip? Or is it possible to talk about other people in polite society today without feeling bad?! Let me know your thoughts!
P.S. The lovely Maria just reminded me in the comments of one thing I do adhere to when I am talking about other people to other people. I am not perfect, but I do try to stick to the adage of never saying something about someone that I wouldn’t say directly to their face. I definitely think the world would be an AMAZING place if we all stuck to this one!
* Not their names of course Notice the fictional names both start with J though? That is because when I was little and I used to write stories, ALL my main protagonists had names starting with J. How funny is that?!