Sticks and Stones
March 14, 2017
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While homework and social hierarchies prey on student after student, there is a not-so-secret and not-so-silent killer out on the loose and everyone falls victim to it, and it’s called gossip.
Not one person in the world is innocent of spreading or receiving gossip. Rumors have always been relevant at Taylorsville High School, be it that Olsen is a stripper, Anderson is a gambler, and even earlier this year there was a story blown wildly out of proportions about a few boys and the Dance Company. Though it is hard to track down one original source to all of this, the question remains – what is gossip?
Gossip, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary, is casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details which are not confirmed as true.
There are several reasons that rumors begin and why gossip continues to spread seemingly fast in the course of a week. An article from Psychology Today found that there are eight ways for a rumor to thrive: the rumor plays on emotions (sp and so’s mom died), the rumor seems to be unbelievable but plays on preexisting feelings that you had about the person, rumors are spread easily among gullible people and continue to do so in an environment where there are a lot of people, the more often you hear a rumor- the more you will believe it, if people are already thinking about it they are more likely to believe it, the rumors are the hardest to get rid of are often the most simple, if they are easy to disprove then they will be around for quite some time, and lastly, there is a part of us that would like to believe bad things about the people we know.
For the above reasons, and simply because people are bored and want to believe in the unordinary, rumors and gossip thrive in a high school setting.
In fact, out of 28 people who were polled, 93% of people said they have had a rumor spread about them. In another poll where 25 people polled, 56% of them admitted to spreading a rumor about someone. Beto Hatch, a graduated Taylorsville student as of 2016, knows the feeling of having someone spread untrue things about him all too well.
“I was a troublemaker and a socialite, so I knew a lot of people and got in trouble a lot, naturally my name became associated with the negative […] They got progressively worse.” said Hatch. “An ex girlfriend, who was on Dance Company, made a sexual assault rumor about me. She told everyone in dance co. who, in turn told the entire school.”
Once the rumor caught on, it spiraled out of control. “I spent half of my junior year in total isolation as a pariah, I even had to talk to police multiple times and the school administration once they caught wind. At the last minute she denied [it], she started the rumor and said it was someone else, and that probably the only reason I wasn’t led out of the building in handcuffs. It made me hate school even more, I fell more behind, got into trouble for real, I just wrote school off completely.” This is just one of many examples of how gossiping about someone can negatively impact their life.
Senior Varsity Cheer Captain, Linda Mejia, has also had experienced rumors about her team. She stated that now that she’s captain she hears all sorts of things that aren’t true about her team. “It brings us all down as a team, not only that but it changes how people look at us as a whole,” said Meijia.
The best way to prevent this harmful type of socializing is to just not do it. If someone tells you something that you may not think is true, there is no need to spread it. As for Meijia, the best advice she has for those who are struggling with rumors and gossip now is: “I think in every situation it’s important to stay positive and trust that everything will fall into place. I have always believed that everything happens for a reason and this is just something you have to go through to make you stronger.”