KMOX TV → on Men Gossip Too, Don’t They?

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Carol Daniel interviews Judy Ryan

This 9 minute interview is on the topic of gossip, including the compassionate and understandable reason why we all do it (including men) and what can be done about it.

Interview Transcript

well hello and welcome to studio B listen we all do it some of us more than others I am talking about gossip but because I work with a lot of men I wondered men gossip too don’t they well joining us is Judy Ryan she’s a trainer a coach a columnist a consultant and CEO of life work systems Judy thank you for joining me in studio be your number one well before we answer that question let me say that that I heard that Charles Brennan once drove all the way to Indianapolis to get his hair cut I mean the vanity of the man that sounds like gossip to me does the perception remain that women do gossip more than the perception and it’s not true men and women both gossip they both both gossip for the same reasons but men tend to gossip a little bit differently sort of in a general way so I can speak a little bit to that absolutely I think most men they identify with their career and you know their that’s who they are is how successful and competent they are in their career so they tend to gossip about things that are related to unfairness about how they’re being treated or their performance or someone else’s performance more work-related women generally and these are very big generalizations really value relationships first and foremost even if we’re strong career women and so when a woman gossips it tends to be a little bit more what we think of as caddy often because a woman is thinking more in terms of the character of a person so it feels a little bit more personalized when they do the gossip now having said that we also gossip according to what our highest priority values are oh and those values are different for different peoples so if it’s more important to you that people are more free and fun you might gossip about specific things related to that I see you know if it’s more important to you to you know everybody should be fair and doing all the details right that might be the source of what you complain about or gossip about so if you are really one who values raising your children you’re gonna gossip about motherhood right are you my parenting criticize a person or someone else about the things that you feel are in your book wrong or right but most of the time we don’t really realize how much we gossips gossip can even be things that we just shouldn’t be saying in general like talking about our salary with somebody when you know that you would never say that if the boss was present at someone else’s salary with with yes exactly so there’s lots of sort of you know subtleties to the whole gamut of what is gossip generally I think people think of gossip as untrue we’re spreading rumors sometimes that sometimes that’s the case and sometimes it’s not sometimes it’s a very true thing to say but the fact that it may not be useful or helpful or bring about any positive outcome is the thing to really be aware of so it is true that Charles Brennan drove all the way to Indianapolis to get his hair cut but that is in no way helpful or uplifting to my life right and I would even know that that would necessarily qualify as guys that most of us when we’re talking about gossip are those things that we know are really degrading to another person so that’s what what is rampant a lot of places and organizations and groups that I work with they know that that it shouldn’t be happening they know that it’s destructive but they don’t necessarily know what they need to do to overcome it to eliminate it to drastically reduce it so we come in and we actually put all of that out on the table with them so the sign to those of you who think I don’t gossip you know you’re gossiping when guys when you wouldn’t say it in front of the person that you’re speaking about that’s a simple rule of thumb if you wouldn’t say it directly to them then you wouldn’t you would consider it gossip if you were talking do why do men look at each other they look at women as gossips and that diminishes our value to them I would imagine but men don’t look at each other as gossips or do they I think they do because I’ve actually since we talked I’ve actually interviewed some of my clients and said do you is this your perception that oh heck yeah we gossip you know so and I’ve seen that myself that’s been my experience as well so I think most men there are a few that say that they believe women gossip much more than men but I think it just shows up a little differently all right so especially if you start this in with I’m no gossip but let me tell you this clearly you are gossiping so I would imagine in the workplace there are managers who feel like there’s nothing much I can do about this most of the time that’s true they do believe that this is just a way of life in fact most everybody believes that this is just kind of a thing you have to tolerate what we do is we actually put it up on the table and we address it head-on and there’s actually a lot of people that are very relieved when that happens but the process of actually going through the the behavior changes that need to happen can be very challenging so is it okay if I tell you it’s one of those processes yes so one of them is that we recommend what’s called a mind trust so my interest would look like this Carol I commit to you and it’s a face-to-face one-on-one agreement I commit to you that I will not talk about you behind your back okay and that if I have an issue I’m gonna come directly to you with that issue and if anybody comes to talk bad about you I’m going to um stop them and direct them back to you now some people say I can’t do any of that some people say I could do the first half but I I don’t feel comfortable if somebody comes to gossip to me and telling them to stop so so certainly to direct them back to the person right and some people say I can go I can commit to some people that I’ll go directly to them but other people I’m afraid to go to them so really what that opens up is all of the areas in an organization or even family or school where people need to recognize where they don’t have adequate trust where they don’t have adequate skills to go and be diplomatic in resolving issues so that’s a bigger issue that ends up that is a deeper issue because to have fear that I can’t talk to a certain person is in no way productive right it’s not and as adults we think we’re supposed to know how but most people haven’t been given adequate training and how to do that you know this is so interesting okay and I know you have some other just a solution or two about how to deal with gossip right so mine Trust is one of them right so one of the things there’s five reasons that we talk about that people understandably want to gossip it’s because they want to feel empowered lovable connected contributing and that they believe that venting is just a necessary thing to do those are understandable and the reason I call them understandable is because if we put so much criticism and judgment on this topic people won’t look at it and be tolerant of working through what they need to work through ok so when we don’t feel that we’re empowered or we don’t feel that we’re lovable or those are the things that put us in a discouraged state where we try to feel better by ripping on someone else so the old adage of I I’m taller if I stand on you right exactly ok so one of the things that I want to say is that even though the mind Trust says I’m not gonna listen to somebody gossip we don’t want to leave people unsupported so we teach a process for healthy venting so what that looks like is let’s say you were to come to me and you were to if we taught this as a community right everybody wouldn’t be on the same page about oh yeah we made these mind trusts or at least that’s on the table and we’ve got these healthy venting tools so if you came to me and you wanted to gossip I would say art not gossip to vent and you say Judy I really need to vent and I need help with this ok time I would say I am more than happy to do that with you as long as you really are committed to resolving what’s going on he point yes because if you are not committed to resolving it’s just a way to dump a bunch of stuff out there which is another form of gossip so the guidelines are that you would say as much as you can without revealing the name or the circumstances so you might say I had this incident happen it really hurt my feelings and very angry so you share all your feelings you don’t get sidetracked into all the details when we do that we’re actually just diverting from the resolution it’s a pseudo power if I can talk about all these details and get all worked up feels like I’m actually doing something but you’re not there’s no resolution in that so it’s pseudo power and there so I have to agree that I’m going to move towards resolution right alright and I know you have more tips and in life work yes is your website and we’re going to take your tips and put them on our website KMOX calm because this is very real or a lot of us and it’s not helpful to just dump right and have no resolution so we’re about resolution in 2015 yes okay and I want to admit that Charles Brennan did not drive all the way to Indianapolis to get his hair cut okay he does other things that are you know kind of odd but it’s not one of them Judy thank you for coming in to Studio B thank you so much for having me this is great

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