Talking with friends about your ideas, likes, dislikes, weekend plans or other things is common and normal. But sometimes, these conversations turn into gossip that can be hurtful to others. How does that happen?
When someone spreads a rumor, it often gets changed from person to person and blown out of hand. Sometimes, people spread things that they know aren't true. These rumors may seem so far from the truth that anyone would know they were false, but people believe them anyway.
Gossip is particularly hurtful for the person who is the subject of the rumor, especially if the rumors aren't true or contain private information. Your school gossip may not be as intense as in the movie Mean Girls but it can still be harmful and mean.
If the gossip isn't true, it is especially hurtful to the person who is the subject of the rumor. Everyone may still believe the lie, even if the person tries to tell the truth. It's unfair and mean to someone who did not actually do anything wrong.
Even if the gossip is true, it's probably not other people's business. It could be private information that's being spread, or a secret that somebody accidentally told. It could also be just part of the story, meaning that people who hear it don't really understand the full picture.
If somebody tells you gossip and it involves something that's potentially dangerous, you should tell a teacher. It's important to tell an adult if somebody tells you they plan to harm themselves or others, or that they know somebody else is planning to do so.
If somebody tells you any other kind of secret, keep it to yourself. If you hear a rumor, ignore it and don't spread it. If everyone did this, there wouldn't be any gossip!