Gossip or tsismis is something that regularly happens especially in the workplace, and before moving on, it’s important to know that it’s not really all that bad. In fact a feature by Jolanda Jetten, Ph.D. on Psychology Today notes that “gossiping enhances a sense of shared perspective and this acts as a ‘social glue’ enhancing social cohesion… it clarifies norms and spurs bonding.”
Gossiping—or discussing people and situations—becomes negative when information is spread with the objective of hurting others, and it's much worse when the information is actually false. In the Pinoy work environment, tsismis is often prevalent because there are people who’d rather talk behind someone’s back than confront him or her with the issue. This doesn’t only affect work output, but also relationships, and can cause emotional pain to those at the receiving end of a nasty story.
Too much tsismis is something you can avoid at work. Sure, you can say, ‘Kailangan makisama,’ but until what point? To convince you, here are a few reasons why you should quit the restroom chit-chat before it spirals out of control:
You’re basically throwing away precious minutes for something that won’t improve your life.
It’s one thing to discuss topics that are actually of value (“Uy, na-ospital mama ni Karen, baka puwede tayong tumulong?”) than to discuss topics that only pull you into a cycle of dissatisfaction (“Hay, ang bad trip ng bagong manager no? Inisin ko pa kaya lalo?”) While it’s okay to listen to a colleague rant about how she hates management, at some point, you’ll have to leave the conversation. As harsh as it sounds, you’re not in the office to be someone’s sounding board, especially when it gets in the way of important (read: time sensitive) work.
You’re sowing divisiveness.
You’re in an office for hours on end on a daily basis, and it isn’t surprising that it would feel like an episode of Big Brother. While the saying “familiarity breeds contempt” may hold true at times, you don’t have to talk about every single annoyance you have about another person. It’ll only create kampihan, and it won’t bode well for the team, especially if you were to take it personally and have it affect your job.
If you really want to talk about an issue, speak with the person involved. Maybe he or she doesn’t even know what's going on. You’ll be better for it.
You’re not taking into account the anxieties and worries of the people you’re gossiping about.
Before you even open your mouth to say “Buwisit talaga si Ms. X,” have you ever even stopped to consider that Ms. X may be going through something? It’s probably why she’s moody, or why she’s not performing as well as she should. Give people the benefit of the doubt—not everyone is doing stuff just to annoy you—but you also have to check that you’re not being a doormat. Again, the best course of action is to speak with the person. Learning to understand others is something that will make your work life a whole lot easier.
You’re just giving the office gossip attention.
If you have an office tsismoso or tsismosa who doesn’t seem to have anything good to say about anything or anyone, then you’re just really playing into the KSP game. Don’t give a chronic negative gossiper the time of day, because honestly, you have better things to do.