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BennieEddie

Why Do People Talk About Others Behind Their Backs?

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If you can get comfortable in your own skin you will find that you really don't give a damn what other people think about you. Be grateful that your own standards are higher, but do so with compassion, not scorn....

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Spirit is right :)

Also, I don't think you should take it to heart so much. People don't always mean what they say. I know I've said things about people before that I'd never say to their faces. When people are hurting, trying to get closer to the person they're talking to, or even just bored, it's easy for them to lash out at someone else. Often people say mean things just to make themselves feel better for a moment. I've done it, even about people I love to bits. It's just frustration sometimes, not always caused by the person they're talking about. There are times when people are just jerks too, of course. At all times, I'd say just ignore it, unless it's the same person always doing it, in which case just ask them nicely what's wrong.

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I used to worry that my colleagues were all talking about me, saying I don't work hard enough.... I'm stupid, not funny,,,, you name it ,... I have thought it. Well, in therapy mid learn to ignore these thoughts if mine and to stop obsessing over it. It did take some effort but was so very worthwhile.

Still sometimes the thoughts long back, I do what can to recognise them as unhelpful. I do my best to ignore them and avoid a negative, downward spiral brought in just by my own thoughts.

Spiritsage, I like what you said. I sums up in a nutshell much of what I achieved in therapy!

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Good post and good answers! This has been so on my mind lately as I know coworkers are talking behind my back bigtime, and after hearing my hubby's family slamming people then be so nice to their face it made me think I wonder what they say about me! My self esteem is really low right now and I feel inadequate and it doesn't help. Letting it roll off your back and not thinking about what others say is the best advice. You can't control it, you can't even confront it or deal with it, so why let it get you down?

Sent from my DROID RAZR

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I agree. At my work, there is someone who is notorious for this. Super nice to your face, but when people leave to go lunch she turns around and starts bad mouthing them. Everyone knows she does it too. At first, I was really mad about it. Now I just let it roll off my back or am doing a better job of it.

Sometimes people like to talk badly about people because it makes them feel superior.

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If you're comfortable with evolution, gossip can be viewed as a means of monitoring the quality of and maintaining the cohesion of large social groups, and increases social bonding. With the internet, it's been grossly exaggerated. Anyway, I believe that is the ultimate cause, while the proximate causes are the immediate reflexive and reciprocal emotions of satisfaction by the gossipers. Of course, just because a thing occurs "naturally" does not mean that it is proper or good, especially for a thinking animal that is capable of empathy. If I were to try and dissuade this behavior, I would suggest exercises that demonstrate the satisfaction from gossip is outweighed by the potential emotional hurt it can put on other people.

How to actually deal with it? Honestly, if someone says something poor about me behind my back, I have no qualms placing them in the ranks of people who's opinions are not worth my time or energy, and there the buck stops. I don't engage in any popular social media. I think I've winnowed my friends down to those who don't truck in such things, or at least care enough about their friends to temper whatever is the current hulabaloo. It's had to be a comparatively small group I've called friends. I do have schizoid tendencies, so social disinterest comes a bit quickly/easily to me - so I can imagine the advice "don't care it" is not realistic for some.

Sometimes, gossip can have consequences, and then I do not ignore. I had an experience in a job where a significant decision I made was portrayed incorrectly. It was a decision that was not flattering to my manager, who explained it to upper management in a way that shifted all responsibility onto me, and away from themselves. The manager knew why I made the decision, I had explained it many times over in an earnest, level-headed effort (whether it penetrated the veil of narcissism, I cannot know). I then went to all my peers, upper management, and Human Resources individually, and explained very clearly and calmly the reasons for my decision. Confront, confront, confront, but never in anger or spite. It was a validating experience. Everyone likes the horses' mouth. It did no favors for my relationship with said manager, for which I was perfectly apathetic, so no great harm. I imagine confronting these things head on in the work place could create tension in some people's professional lives, though.

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Life isn't always a bowl of cherries. This is human nature rather it is right or wrong. Just always remember that some people are unhappy with themselves so they like to make other people unhappy also.

Edited by Mr Wright

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For me, once I accepted that I could NEVER control what anyone says or does, then I understood there was nothing I could do about it and that it's always going to happen in life. Also, I realized I shouldn't give so much of myself to people until I know that I can trust them. Sometimes I get fed up with mankind because of this kind of thing!!!! I take a break, staying away from people on the weekend, during vacation, etc. and then I'm ok.

Peony

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For me, once I accepted that I could NEVER control what anyone says or does, then I understood there was nothing I could do about it and that it's always going to happen in life. Also, I realized I shouldn't give so much of myself to people until I know that I can trust them. Sometimes I get fed up with mankind because of this kind of thing!!!! I take a break, staying away from people on the weekend, during vacation, etc. and then I'm ok.

Peony

Yes, this is so true. I have fallen prey for being too trusting to people.

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Off the back of this thread, i noticed something interesting happening to me this morning (which I have happen before with various people). A colleague of mine who is usually really lovely & cheerful - seemed to be unable to grasp something i was trying to explain. I could tell from her mannerisms & tone, she was getting fed up. In the end, I didnt give up but did cut our conversation short to avoid irritating her even more.

Of course I then found myself drawn to thinking it was down to me that she couldnt understand what I was trying to explain. I happened to go to another room & then thought no doubt this colleague would be talking to someone else in our team, saying how annoying I had been.

But....... there is no evidence whatsoever to support these thoughts. Indeed, since my colleague is lovely, it's not in her character to think badly of me or to say stuff behind people's backs. If she does, she will have people's best interests at heart. On reflection I can see now that she's a bit fed up generally. So her irritation wasnt down to me, it was because she was already fed up before the conversation ever started.

But I suppose because I have been used to people bullying me, or talking badly about me.... I just assumed it's down to me & that even nice people are going to do it. Luckily, I was able to rein in my thoughts and convince myself they were unfounded. But its amazing how hard it is not to assume the worst sometimes!

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