Are We Talking Behind Each Other’s Backs – Or Just Talking?+comment
I’ve never been proud of it, but I’m a diehard fan of the Real Housewives franchise. I know it’s trivial, catty, and brings out the worst in women, but I can’t help myself. I’m always amazed so many wealthy, educated women can reduce themselves to drunk, screaming banshees for such trivial reasons. And after years of watching, the reason most likely to cause a fight is when someone is accused of ‘talking about me behind my back.” Okay we aren’t all Pinot Grigio-swilling housewives, who live in a constant rotation of openings, charity events, shopping and Bravo-required ‘holidays’ – but I think we all get upset when we hear someone is talking about us “behind our backs.”
In real life, I think this an equally upsetting situation. Nothing can cause a woman to lose her shit as much as hearing her life is being discussed among friends. But aren’t we all talking about each other? The more I think about it, I think it’s a very human way of dealing with our friends’ lives. If a woman comes to me with a private situation in her life, say she cheated on her boyfriend, well, that is not something I would discuss with anyone. That’s horrible and getting involved in that type of situation would compromise not only my friendship, but her relationship. I wouldn’t tell her I think it was a good decision or that it’s okay behavior, but I would keep that a secret. However, if a friend were dating a man I thought wasn’t good for her, or dragging her life down, I can’t really say anything. But I can discuss my concern with mutual friends. Am I splitting hairs to justify my behavior? Maybe. But I see a difference in those two situations. In one, talking openly about it would seriously hurt my friend. In the latter, discussing my personal feelings is my right.
I certainly discuss my friend’s lives with my husband and close friends. Does that make me a shitty person? Am I talking about them behind their back? What is the difference between gossiping, confiding, or just good old venting? I still consider myself a good friend.
Obviously, having a camera crew follow you around to catch every off-the-cuff remark, slight, or frustration would never be a friend builder, but I’m fairly confident people talk behind my back. I don’t think my life is that exciting or I’m that important, but I’ve definitely made choices that I’m sure friends either worried about or disagreed with. I’ve definitely dated men in the past that friends didn’t like. If two friends talked about my crappy boyfriend but were supportive to my face, are they bad friends? I don’t think so. I’m definitely discussing my opinions amongst friends or my loved ones. Is it only bad if it is malicious? Or is it always wrong? Personally, if I call my sister in Houston to discuss a friend’s life from LA, how is that a horrible thing? I care about my friend, I’m merely filling my sister in on what’s going on and we naturally have our own opinions on other people’s choices or lives. They aren’t always opposing opinions or negative opinions, but they are ours. I don’t see this as a horrible thing.
I understand that girls can be mean girls, and definitely in high school when rumors, reputations, and outright lies can ruin a girl, gossiping can be detrimental. However, as a grown woman with a fairly decent sense of self-worth and confidence, I figure someone will always have an opinion. Some of my friends may not agree with my choices, lifestyle, opinions, and that’s okay with me.
I don’t think it’s realistic to think we live in a world where everybody tells everyone their exact thought or opinion in every moment. I think we’d have much fewer friends if we did live like that. Can’t we accept that we all talk about each other? (Okay, men probably don’t worry about this, but most women I know discuss each other). It doesn’t mean it’s malicious or mean-spirited – although I don’t think anyone needs to hear it.
What do you think?