Weekend Thoughts on People’s Behavior

It’s a generally-held idea that the only thing you can control is your mind and your reaction to situations and circumstances; that there is no use worrying over something that is beyond your control. And recognizing that, therefore, it is of no use to be affected negatively by external factors.

That may be true, but it is a fact that the people and events around affect the way you think and feel. Does this apply to empaths only? I think not.

If you have worked in several companies or workplaces where you have had opportunities to meet different kinds of bosses (and colleagues), then you would know the difference between a boss whose presence is inspiring, calming and motivating and someone who is controlling, domineering, and rude (or even evil to some extent).

In the case of the former, his/her positive aura fills the Office and you feel comfort in his/her presence, knowing that whatever situation occurs in the Office, things will turn out well and a good resolution will be decided.

In the latter, anxiety feels the room. There’s finger pointing, blaming, taking sides. There’s paranoia in the air. There’s flattery and sugarcoated words that’s enough to make anyone feel nauseous. Issues are concocted when there are actually none.

I am not going to give examples or share experiences about those two types of bosses and/or workplaces though.

What led me to thinking about these things on a calm weekend like this is because of something I have observed, that there’s a seeming tendency for people to be swayed to a particular opinion about someone or something especially if they belong to a group and spend time together.

Consider this hypothetical exchange, which occurs in different variations in reality:

A: “Person A is stupid.”

B: “Why? What did she/he do?”

A: “Can you imagine? She/he did/said _____.”

B: “Wow! That’s something! Guess what? Nine years ago, she/he did _____.”

C: “I heard that. Oh! That’s why…. When I talked to him/her last week, she/he said ______.”

AB: “Really? Well, that’s not surprising.”

And the conversation goes on…

Is that a healthy conversation? Is that a type of bonding? Is that a way to rant, vent out? While letting off some steam may be necessary to maintain emotional and mental health, or even sanity, it is really distasteful for people to make it a habit.

In one instance, someone had beef about another, a former boss, and although that same boss had wronged me too, I stopped him from sharing his theories/allegations in a group meeting, while in the mood to spill the beans.

In another instance, someone with a higher position told me a “damning allegation” about a staff in the same office some years ago. I told her something like “Sorry po, I wouldn’t want to hear about it anymore.” I was torn between telling the staff concerned (considering that they seem to have a very good relationship), and just ignoring it. I chose the latter just to settle the issue but in my mind, I felt that I had an obligation to tell the staff the truth.

There’s a difference between being empathetic and being a gossip. There’s also a huge difference between wanting to help by sharing information and wanting to malign someone by sharing stories/theories/allegations.

I have already stated in previous blog post that I hate nosy and garrulous people. I also dislike liars and people who create “issues” when there should be none. This hasn’t changed.

At a time when both false and true information can be shared so quickly, may it not be used negatively towards anyone. And to those who found themselves in the receiving end of false allegations and gossip, may you find peace of mind, transcend the issue and defend yourself when necessary.

It is my hope that work environments should be places for people to thrive, grow personally and professionally, learn new things, do activities and projects harmoniously, and work towards common goals. Kudos to those who make this happen.

Author’s Note:

In the Philippines, the word “Marites” is used to refer to someone who is fond of gossiping. I actually don’t know the etymology of this term, considering that it used to be just a name. Siguro, wala nang magpapangalan ng mga anak nila ng Maritess mula ngayon. 😀

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