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Tuesday, May 28, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Gone with the gossip




Whenever I enter a room and everyone falls silent, I immediately know I was a victim of the gossip bug.


Ever since the fingerpainting and Sesame Street days, I have despised the gossip bug, a relentless creature that sucks the life out of friendships and ruins reputations.


In elementary school, one way or another, I always found out if someone gossiped about me. It was like a game of telephone – there was always a classmate who would pass the rumors on to me.


I hated gossip so much that I used to cry when my classmates made fun of someone else. Whenever I saw two girls whispering and laughing to each other in the cafeteria, I turned away in disgust.


High school brought even more malicious gossip. One of my best friendships ended because of an unfounded rumor.


I couldn't wait for college, so that I could get away from these childish antics.


That was not the case. Countless times, I've overheard students bashing their so-called friends over lunch in the Student Union. I've heard the stage whispers of people on the UB Stampede, announcing who hooked up with whom on Friday night.


It's common to hear students giggling and making fun of someone who offers an answer they disagree with in class. They seem to think no one catches on to their rudeness, but it's quite obvious.


Sometimes students who arrive early to a class rant about how awful a professor is, but once the professor walks in, the classroom is dead silent.


Don't deny it. Everyone knows it happens.


But it shouldn't. Aren't we supposed to be mature adults? Maybe gossip is part of human nature, but for anyone who has been a victim of gossip, that's a poor excuse. The damage it creates is hard to repair.


My friend who goes to another college is desperately trying to reunite her group of friends, which has fallen apart due to rumors and hidden grudges.


Hidden grudges are the worst kind – it irks me to see someone talking about a problem they have with someone else, but never addressing the issue face-to-face. How do they expect the other person to change if they never know what the problem is? Issues like this destroy mutual trust between friends.


I'd be lying if I said that I've never gossiped about someone, but I felt incredibly guilty every time I did. The mere thought of how I'd feel if someone spread rumors about me dissuaded me from bashing anyone else. In the end, gossip didn't make my self-esteem higher; instead, it made me feel rotten.


Facebook doesn't help matters. I've heard stories about people caught in a tangled web of lies, hurt feelings and confusion because of a single mean-spirited wall post.


The Web site juicycampus.com is clearly college gossip at its worst. Many students are personally called out and ridiculed on the site. According to U.S. News and World Report, the site is shutting down on Feb. 5 due to economic struggles. My response: it's about time.


Sometimes gossip enters conversations when there is absolutely nothing worthwhile to talk about. It's a way of passing time and maybe sharing a few laughs with friends. In the long run, though, it's much better to be silent than to feed the rumor mills.


No one said it better than Thumper in the movie Bambi: 'If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all.'



E-mail: amanda.woods@ubspectrum.com



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