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No one likes a gossip girl and even Pastor Joel Osteen chimed in on the subject recently:

“We live in a society that’s filled with rumors, gossip and innuendos. And if we’re not careful, we’ll get pulled in and become carriers of that poison.”

That girl is POI-IS-SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON #bellbivdevoe #90 #sidetrack

As every southern gal knows, unfortunately it’s unavoidable. So what on Earth is one to do? Do you wag your finger at your friend and tell her how toxic she is? Do you participate just to save face? Do you become a recluse? I think the only thing you truly can do is learn to figure out when you’re dealing with a gossip girl and when you’re not, and to then prioritize your time with those in the not category.

I’d be willing to bet you’re not really a woman (and maybe not even a human) if you’ve NEVER been in a conversation where the person being discussed is not present. Is this gossip? Could be. But the reality is, when it does happen, it should solely be a series of verbalized opinions (we all know what they say about opinions) or expressions of happiness or concern for another. I’ll go on the record as saying: I think for the most part, at least from my experience, this rings true.

Under those circumstances, those are your “Not” people. They can express their opinion without it coming from a place of judgment, malice, or persuasiveness. And in the grand scheme of life, they realize that their opinion can be a lot of things…but one thing it’s not…is relevant. Someone else is never the first topic of conversation or the primary reason for his or her call/visit. And if someone else does become the topic at some point, they are never dwelled upon. I think anyone who cares about someone or just people in general, will have opinions about them at some point along the way of life. To a certain degree, they can be an extension of care. There are no ulterior motives to their words…and they think no differently of the person they mention than they think of themselves or of you. They are a Not; Nots emit love.

So where’s the great divide? There are without a doubt those folks that bring up someone simply to dog ‘em out, and 9 times out of 10, those people live in a glass house all of their own construction. Anything and everything they say comes out with a stench of disgust. They are SO passionate about the absent person’s life that you can tell it consumes their thoughts and their time. Their words come from a place of judgment and they usually seem to have a dark cloud hanging over them. These people emit fear. They fear your judgment and they fear anyone knowing the truth about them. As a distraction they attempt to deflect your attention to others and they self medicate by convincing you to cosign on their critical adjudications. Avoid these people AND these conversations at all cost.

Clear as mud? Let me offer a hypothetical example: 

Let’s say a mutual friend (Jane) has been displaying some, new, erratic, and unusual behavior. She has a new group of friends known for abusing Rx drugs.

Your Not girl may say something along the lines of: “I’m really worried about Jane. Do you think she’s starting to dabble in prescription drugs? …maybe one of us should talk to her about it.”

Whereas your gossip girl may say: “Have you seen who Jane’s been hanging out with lately?! She must have gotten sucked in to their script habits. I can’t believe she would do something like that. I thought she was above something so low.”

Not only is your gossip girl judging Jane, she’s also judging Jane’s new friends AND any/everyone that is struggling or has struggled with drug abuse. You may be thinking…but shouldn’t we judge people that are blatantly exhibiting negative behavior?

NO, NO, NO, and NO!

I cannot drive this home enough. True Not girls judge NO ONE…for NO THING. They still go through life aware and consciously choosing the types of people they surround themselves with but they’re even more aware of the fact that we ALL struggle with something. They are no better than you, and you no better than they. Despite someone else’s choices and decisions, they convey compassion, acceptance, and support. It is unconditional. Never to be earned or forfeited.

It may take effort or it may come natural, but do whatever you can to be a Not girl. None of us are perfect, and we will most certainly fall into the GG trap from time to time but a consistent, conscience effort to not, will rid your life of poison.

Are you a GG or a Not?