Meg, your post is so appropriate now as I was recently contemplating people who gossip, those who seem more interested in the lives of others than their own. I was raised in that atmosphere, thinking it was normal for people to track the comings and goings of others, commenting — usually negatively — on all they saw or heard. As an adult, my social circles continued to be filled with busybodies, reinforcing my misconception that all people are like that. I lived my life confined by the opinions of these naysayers, always fearful that I would be the subject of their next conversation.
Much later, in survival mode, I ignored my fears and left an unhappy marriage, leaving much gossip food in my wake. It was quickly gobbled up and spit out in vicious accusations from one county to the other, from one group to the other. I lost friends and family because of my actions, leaving me free, for the first time in my life, to create a healthier, happier network of friends. I slowly met new people, discovering that all are not gossipers and what we now call trolls — in fact, most are not.
Interesting to me is the fact that after leaving home as a teenager, I continued to attract those sorts of people. Perhaps because I would tolerate them, not knowing anything different? Or, perhaps, I was more like them than I care to admit. I don’t know. I do know that I can smell a troll or a gossiper a mile away now and I judiciously keep my distance!