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When gossip spreads, truth gets buried



Published: Mon, March 3, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



By CHRISTINA DALSANIA

SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL

THERE IS A SAYING: "BAD HABITS are like a comfortable bed: easy to get into, but hard to get out of." Gossiping is one of those bad habits. By definition, gossip is to tattle or speak of a groundless rumor.

Gossip usually entails negative rumors about others. True or not, it usually is exaggerated.

The game of "telephone" illustrates this stretching of the truth. One person begins by saying a sentence and the next person has to relay the message. By the time this statement reaches the last person in the circle, it has completely changed in meaning.

Even though gossip may contain an element of fact, the truth quickly gets lost. The lies generated from gossip can sometimes sabotage people and their reputations.

A weapon

Gossip can be used as a weapon to humiliate others and reinforce the teller's social status.

At younger ages, such as middle school, gossip is common about conflicts with friends, boys or girls, crushes, and rivalries between cliques.

In high school, it is commonly told about who got drunk, who had sex at the last party or who is getting used.

Brian Sparling, a junior at Blanche Ely High School in Pompano Beach, Fla., says, "Gossip is a socially inane behavior. That is, it only leads to unwarranted speculation that usually hurts other individuals."

Everyone gossips, whether they are aware of it or not.

How many times have you heard the question "Did you hear what happened to ... ?" It is heard in homes and schools, on radio stations and television, and read in magazines.

XChristina Delsania is a student at Stranahan High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.




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