My grandfather used to say: “A dog that buries a bone…carries a bone”
Do you know one of those people who is always ready to enlighten you to some “juicy scoop” about someone else? Maybe it’s a neighbor, an associate, or a co-worker on the job that knows everything about everybody…or at least they think they do. There is a major difference between someone sharing useful information and merely spreading trifling gossip. My grandfather’s valuable reminder is a common sense warning to us all, as we engage with others in two of the foundational components of relationships – trust and communication. We call the trap “the grapevine” and before you know it, you are caught up in one of the most destructive devices in our society with the infamous power to breed betrayal, wreck reputations, and sink friendships.
How does that happen you ask…simple…I will answer that with this question. What makes you think that someone who gossips to you, won’t gossip about you? You see, the vulnerability of a person who listens to gossip is the lack of foresight to realize that they are likely to be the next victim of the gossiper’s words. When I started managing people 17 years ago, I quickly understood the destructive power of gossip as I constantly dealt with workplace drama. Incidents usually ended with me consoling some disillusioned target as they realize their trust has been betrayed by a gossiper masquerading as a friend. After a few of these episodes, I penned a poem that is framed on my office wall and I want to share it with you. I appropriately named it “Fair Warning”, and I hope you read it with focused attention, so the next time someone comes to bury a bone of gossip in the backyard of your heart, you can be sure to keep hidden your bones of treasured information, lest they steal away with them, to share with someone else. Be Blessed.
A juicy little gossip seed,
whispered into someone’s head.
Grows and grows like no one knows,
just as weeds in a flower bed.
And with each time that little seed
is planted or re-dispersed,
something is added from the last that had it
and it’s made into something worse.
Until soon you’ll see, that little seed
someone gave with all their trust,
has helped to steal their confidence
and crush their hopes to dust.
Loose lips sink friendships.
Trust those words you’ll find they are true.
Watch out, for the next seed spread around
just may be a seed about you.
Copyright © 1999 by William T. Holt