Nothing bores me more than gossip. It’s just so sad and superficial.
But it’s the destructive power that disturbs me. Gossip injures everyone in its path.
The subject is injured, of course, because his or her reputation is under attack.
The speaker is injured because — psychological studies have proven — most people subconsciously associate the ugly words with the mouth that spoke them.
And the bystander, the nearby listener, is injured because he or she must work to dismiss what’s just been heard.
I’ll write more specifically on each of these injured parties later. In the meantime, here’s a short and sweet essay on the ethics of speech in the workplace, “Stop the Gossip, Save Your Career” by Heather Boerner at Yahoo! HotJobs. (Thanks to Peter for sending this link.)