Gossip. It's rampant.
The mind loves it when it hears complaints about someone we already have a dislike for. Music to the ears 🎶. And then the tongue jumps in with gusto - to add to the music.
I've been fairly successful in avoiding this in my life.
But there are times when I get caught off guard and find myself enjoying the music myself. And whenever that happens, I get reminded of an anecdote that a well-known figure in technology circles shared with me.
After carefully measuring the amount of time wasted in gossip, this man and his wife made the following pact between them:
- To ban any criticism of other people in their discussions
- To also ban praise of other people
In rare cases, they could break the second rule ('no praise'), if the person being remarked about had been so exceptional - that it was simply too hard not to say something good about them. :)
What he said next was the most interesting:
"Vaidy, do you know what happened after we made that pact?"
I waited, eager to know.
"There was almost total silence at home after that. There was hardly anything to talk about after that! I had more time to devote to my work. And I think my wife did too!"
Considering the kind of intellect he possesses and the gregarious person that he is, I doubt he had a dearth of interesting things to speak about at home.
But he did make a good point: that it's important to set certain home rules that the whole family must comply with.
Not just rules about things like keeping the home tidy, but also about principles that trigger spiritual growth for everyone at home.