We all talk about other people. When people aren’t around, we talk about them. It’s gossip. It’s not necessarily negative, a lot of this talk can be positive. A lot of it is also negative though. It’s almost therapeutic I suppose. It makes us feel good to bad mouth someone else. Putting down other people allows us to feel better about ourselves. It’s an insecurity. It’s also a universally human behaviour, but that doesn’t make it right, either.
Words have a cost. We’re all entitled to free speech as a human right, but that doesn’t mean we can say anything. We are allowed to say anything, but certain words have social costs (racial slurs, curse words etc.). This cost also applies to gossip. You’re allowed to say whatever you want about another person, but you run the risk of that person hearing it, and thus, risk hurting them.
I posted recently about how everyone you’ve ever met has a different perspective of you. This idea leads to every person assuming different motives for the way you act, based on the idea of you that they have. Therefore, if two people act the exact same way, the outcomes might be perceived differently. One might be considered positive, while the other is negative. It’s completely subjective. You cannot control how people think of you, or how they perceive your behaviour. However, you can control how you think of yourself.
People will always talk negatively about you, no matter what you do. They’ll incorrectly assume your intentions, and they’ll label you as something you’re not. This isn’t any new revelation, it happens to everybody. What’s important is that you don’t let this affect how you perceive yourself. Don’t start to believe how others think of you, or how you think others think of you. This is how cognitive dissonance develops, and that’s when issues with self-esteem and self-compassion start to seep in. If there are rumours floating around, and that’s all they are, leave them be. The truth tends to come out eventually, and defending yourself from rumours only suggests you have something to hide.
However, the most important thing to remember is that if EVERYONE thinks you’re an a**hole, then you probably are one.