The "Reverse Gossip" Game


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Bob Burg

Gossip is one of the world's most destructive habits, and we're exposed to it practically everywhere we go - work, recreation, sports, home, in magazines, on television, etc. There is absolutely nothing beneficial about gossip - it hurts EVERYONE involved.

There's a term for it in Hebrew; it's called "Loshon Hora" (Loshon = Tongue, Hora = evil). Loshon hora, or gossip, is the same whether speaking it or listening to it. What's more, it's still Loshon Hora even if what we say about a person is true! And, despite the instant gratification it may bring (isn't it fun?), it will not make the person we are sharing this with, trust us any deeper.  They will subconsciously be thinking, "Hmm, I wonder what he/she says about me when I'm not there."  It certainly will not help in the WINNING WITHOUT INTIMIDATION process. So, let's try something different.

The name of our new game is, "The Reverse Gossip Game." In this game, instead of telling people the gossip people say about them or others, let's repeat only the good that people say (even if we have to "suggest" that good), and find reasons to judge others favorably in all other situations. Let's say John speaks negatively about Mary.  For example.

John: Mary is really lazy.

You: I've never noticed that. She is talented, wouldn't you agree?

John (Grudgingly): Yes, I guess so.

Later you see Mary at the coffee machine and the conversation goes as follows:

You:  I was talking with John earlier.  He was saying you are very talented (after all, he did agree to that, didn't he?).

Mary:  Wow! I didn't know he thought that of me.  I've always felt he was very judgmental and snobby.

You:  Hmm, never picked up on that. Really hard worker, isn't he?

Mary:  Well, I guess you have to give him credit for that.

The next day you and John are talking and you happen to mention:

You:  Mary was talking about how hard a worker you are.

John: Really?  Didn't think she liked me, but maybe she's not so bad after all.

Now, the next time John and Mary cross paths they both see each other in an entirely different light, with a completely different attitude and set of expectations - one of peace, enjoyment, and kindness.  And it all happened because of you.

You don't feel as though you've manipulated them, do you?  There are people who might feel that way.  Interesting, isn't it?  It's perfectly acceptable to repeat the bad and cause trouble, but to help along (positively persuade) the good and create peace between people may be looked at in a negative way.  I don't think so.  Creating peace is never a negative concept.  And if anyone tells you it is . . . please don't believe them. Instead, find something good about them. Then tell someone else.