Chismis is a useless preoccupation that many girls (women) indulge in. It’s worst in high school where the propensity to spread stories is about as normal as breathing. Something perhaps related to raging hormones?
I thought this program, now being in implemented in several Jewish high schools in New York is a wonderful effort at trying to quell this evil practice that many high schoolers like to participate in. I was once guilty of this, and admittedly, it’s a bad habit that many people carry into adulthood.
What do we benefit by talking about other people’s lives? Admittedly, it’s very difficult to get yourself out of the rut. And some people are just naturally more chismosa than others. But it can be done if you really make an effort. I admire people who are able to stop themselves in their tracks when they feel that the conversation between friends is already going rabid — “Huwag na tayong pumunta dyan. Chismis na yan?” (Let’s not go there. That’s gossiping already)
I learned my lesson the hard way. Once upon a time I found myself in between a rock and a hard place. I felt that there was betrayal to some degree and was so angry with that person. Why did she not tell me the truth about the real circumstances that caused her problems? Why did she have to drag me into it? It really ate at me for a while. But time has a way of making things plain and simple, and for me, that is now all in the past. I’ve agonized over it and learned my lesson. Let’s move on to the next chapter.
Unfortunately, the problem with having too much “history” with a person puts you in a place where all your motives become suspect. I guess that is the price one has to pay. It works both ways for the parties involved. Again, time is the best balm for any wound, no matter how deep. I like to believe that God stands in the gap between people whose friendships are meant to be restored and He restores them in HIS time. I also know that sometimes, some friendships never become restored and when this takes place you just have to think that your role in that person’s life is over and his or her role in your’s has been completed as well. There will be no room for any bitterness if you always think that circumstances, difficulties and people are allowed to come into your life to take you, from one stage to the next.
I do believe that the roots of the propensity for chismis (gossip) begin in one’s adolescence. The NY Times article says — “In the secret lives of high school students, social warfare is often waged with words. Plots are hatched during a quick trip to the lockers, rumors destroy reputations at recess, and friendships crumble at varsity practice. Usually, the deep emotional wounds are invisible to teachers, coaches and parents.” Sometimes, these wounds are carried all the way into one’s mid-life if left unresolved and so it rears its ugly head this time among perimenopausal women. It’s both pathetic and funny to see and experience this at this stage in life.
Nowadays, when someone comes up to me and asks, “Hey, is it true about so and so…” I’ve now learned to simply shrug it off and say to the person, “I really don’t know. You want me to ask her? I can call her now if you want.” End of discussion.
Read about this program that helps curb gossip among girl’s high schools in this NY Times Article on — “Weaning Teenagers Off Gossip, for One Hour at a Time”