UPDATE : 2020.2.21 금 10:43

[Vol. 81 Editorial] Gossip or Conversation?

가십과 대화의 차이 Prof. Yinl승인2019.06.05






  Do you know the difference between gossip and conversation? Let's do a self-test and find out. Which of the following is a gossip?


Dialog A

Amy: I'm so stressed out about my group project. I really can't stand my group members!

Stacy: Why? What's wrong with your group?

Amy: Every time we meet to talk about the project, there's no progress. There's always someone who's not ready or has to leave early or get mad at someone.

Stacy: Can you change your group?

Amy: Well, it's due this Friday so it's pretty late for that.

Stacy: Bummer. Now you know who to avoid when doing group work.


Dialog B

Amy: I'm so stressed out about my group project. I really can't stand my group members!

Stacy: Who's in your group?

Amy: Dan, Michelle, and Rachel.

Stacy: Oh my god, Dan and Rachel are in your group? They broke up last week!

Amy: Really? No wonder! Whenever Dan comes to the group meeting, Rachel doesn't come. Why did they brake up?

Stacy: Dan cheated on Rachel with...., guess who?

Amy: Don't tell me it's Michelle.

Stacy: Bingo!

Amy: Now that you tell me, there was some sort of vibe between Michelle and Dan from the beginning of the group work. You know how Michelle always flirts with other people's boyfriends.

Stay: Really? Do tell~~


  Just in case you are having a hard time finding the answer, let me give you a hint. The one that is more entertaining is the gossip. As you can see in the two dialogs, a harmless topic can turn into a vicious gossip in a blink of an eye. And often times, it happens unintentionally: a bit of detail added to spice up a mundane topic. Nevertheless, a light-hearted gossip over a cup of coffee can start a butterfly effect and end up destroying a person's reputation. We are way too familiar with how gossip turns into rumor and metamorphosis into fact in our society. And we have seen how this can ruin a person's life.

  So, what is the distinction? The safest way is to consider why you are telling someone about what happened to a certain person. Are you talking about that person because you are truly worried about him/her and you would like to seek advice about what you should do to help that person? Or are you talking about someone for the sake of contributing "interesting" or "entertaining" details? As we saw in Dialog B, Stacy's curiosity of who is in the group and Amy's enticing details about Rachel have transformed a normal conversation into a ruthless gossip about the relationships between Rachel, Dan and Michelle which may not be true. Even if it were true, it is none of their concern.

  As Henry Thomas Buckle, a British historian, stated, "Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people." Let us be great minded for we are educators and refrain from gossiping for the sake of tasteless entertainment.


Prof. Yin  isabella@knue.ac.kr
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