Whether it is told in a school hallway or someone’s home, a teen can be effected by gossip both as the victim and as the gossiper.
“I will usually tell my best friend if it pertains to people we know,” says Gretchen Kuhsel, of Easton, a junior at Joel Barlow High School in Redding. “My mom likes to hear what goes on in my school, but I will usually omit some of the details with her.”
Teens can try to avoid gossiping; however, at times, they cannot help but listen about the latest news.
“When people gossip to me, I’m generally interested, but I do not hesitate to shut them down if it is purely malicious,” says Maggie DeCapua, a junior at Stratford High School.
Relationships in high school can be difficult enough for most teens, and when gossip is added to the mix, dating becomes even harder.
“When someone breaks up with their boyfriend or girlfriend, I usually keep whatever they say about the breakup to myself because I know the breakup is between the couple and it should stay that way,” says Jordan Kovacs, a senior at Shelton High School.
For the person telling the gossip, gossiping may not be such a big deal; for the person the gossip is about, it could be a major problem. The person who the gossip is about could feel embarassed and anxious. Not only does gossip make the person feel bad, it can lead people to have different impressions of them.
“A person’s feelings can be hurt, reputation can be damaged, or a group of people can be mislead to believe something that isn’t true,” says Andrea Joy Pringle, of Bridgeport, a senior at Central Magnet High School.
Spreading rumors, or false lies about a person, can also deeply hurt the person it is about. Some teens argue that there is a distinction between rumors and gossip, with rumors being less true and more serious. Others think it is virtually the same thing, with possibly hurtful information being passed on.
“There really is not much of a difference between rumors and gossip; people do it for the same reason,” says Elizabeth Gregorio, of Milford, a junior at Jonathan Law High School. “It can be a form of bullying.”
Gossip may define the person it is about, leading to conflicts and confusion. At the same time, it can just be harmless information which is entertaining for a teen to pass on to a friend or family member. Gossip may be about a range of topics, even relationships, sometimes fading the line between gossip and rumors and causing harm to people in the end.
Written by Esha Deshmukh, of Milford, a junior at Jonathan Law High School