Gossiping: The Worst Form of Cyberbullying

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

My best friend in high school is turning out to be my worst friend in college. We go to separate colleges in our state.

She texts me to tell me how much her friends are drinking and who’s having sex.

She took it too far when she said a mutual friend was someone we shouldn’t hang around with because she did something really bad. I said I’d come up and we could talk with her together.

She got really quiet and then said she had to go and got off the phone. I texted her and said, again, that we should help our friend. She texted back and said, “No! She’s your friend. I don’t like her at all. I’m not going to ‘rescue’ her.”

I called the other friend and said I was coming up to speak to her in person, and she kept digging for the why answer. I finally said my best friend heard some worrisome things about her. She said my best friend likes the same guy she likes and is bullying her horribly on social media.

She then said, “This is why I just attempted suicide.” I was shocked and went to see her but I didn’t know what to say and I felt uncomfortable listening to her bash my best friend.

I’m so depressed.

A Friend

Dear Friend,

Be proud of yourself for having the courage it took to face a problem in relationships head-on with the intention of finding a resolution together.

This particular problem shows how gossiping ruins relationships and is the worst form of cyberbullying. It also ruins reputations and creates a feeling of unworthiness.

Gossiping has direct links to suicide. Suicide is the second largest cause of death in ages 10 through 34, following unintentional injury.

Cyberbullying is deliberately using digital media to communicate false, embarrassing, or hostile information about or to another person.

All is NOT fair in love and war. Spreading rumors is the most malicious or hateful, spiteful, mean and nasty form of cyberbullying. Neither friend being gossiped about is there to rebut the accusations. It’s the catalyst of negative judgments and labels that create serious divisiveness.

Gossiping invariably involves dishonesty. Tell your friends that you love them but will not accept dishonest gossiping and you won’t perpetuate secrets that destroy relationships. It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. And go one step further and say you will connect all three of you together, the next time someone starts gossiping. It won’t make you popular with them, but integrity doesn’t care about popularity. It cares about goodness and high standards.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

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