Updated: Jun 11, 2019
Most of us have been talked about at some point in our lives. We’ve realized that words can hurt and sometimes they can do more damage than physical injuries. When uneducated people gossip, it’s irritating but not always painful. But when you’ve got a talebearer on your hands, the pain can be awful. Yes, there is a difference between a gossip and a talebearer.
A gossip just has a bad habit of talking about others. A gossip’s stories may be based on truth or fiction. Truth is not a gossip’s goal. The desire of a gossip is entertainment. They entertain themselves and others with the latest news on anybody. On the other hand, a talebearer is usually in close proximity with the people he/she talks about; and the tales that are told have a bit of truth mixed in. Secrets are only told between friends. So a talebearer must get close to you so that you feel comfortable enough to share the secret parts of your life. Talebearers are usually trusted friends, colleagues or family members. This is what causes a talebearer’s work to be so painful.
Putting in Work
Once a talebearer has heard enough about you, the advertising of your personal business begins. They’ll share what you have or don’t have in your bank accounts, what’s happening with your children, the details about your personal ailments, anything to captivate other people’s attention. When people show interest in the information about you, a talebearer continues, making sure to give just enough to keep them coming back for more. This type of person is very clever; because he/she knows that the people who are interested in your business aren’t always your enemies. So a talebearer must show a bit of support for your cause. They will pretend to love you too. They will offer care and assistance when you need it just so they can maintain their spot in your life and in the lives of the people around you. They will put in the necessary work to win the hearts of everyone you know.
Beat Them at Their Own Game
Now that we know how a talebearer functions, let’s talk about how to defuse this situation. When your life has been targeted, you’ll need wisdom to deal with the onslaught. Here’s a little bit of wisdom I’ve learned along the way:
1. Don’t Be passive!
You must get to the root of the issues as soon as your heart is ready.
2. Hold Your Talebearer Accountable.
You may need to confront your talebearer with a few other people in the room. Make sure that at least one of the people you include are neutral. They shouldn’t be a close friend of the talebearer. Having this type of accountability in the room while you confront is safe for you and the person you’re confronting.
3. Be Specific.
Give your talebearer the exact things you’ve heard and why you are confronting him/her.
4. Don’t Spend a lot of Time Going Back and Forth.
Trying to prove what was said in the past and why it was shared is not the issue. You are confronting to state your decision about future involvement.
5. Give Your Decision on How You Will Deal With Them From Now On. For example: Because I’m hearing these things about you, I have lost my trust for you. From now on, I will no longer share my heart or my life details with you.
6. Accept Apologies and Move On. If your talebearer apologizes, forgive and move on. Forgiveness does not mean that you have to continue trusting the person with your life details. It just means that you’re refusing to hold on to the pain that was caused.
It may take years to build trust with a talebearer again and in some cases, trust may never be restored. When you hold people accountable for how they mistreat you, and you remove them from being in close proximity to your heart and life, you will remove the threat they cause. Doing this demotes a talebearer to a commentator. Now the only things they’ll be able to share about you are the things that they think they know.