Rumor Has It

Gossip!“Gossip Girl,” “Mean Girls,” “Pretty Little Liars.”  Rumors have played an integral role in our society. Consider the magazines that earn millions simply by spreading rumors about celebrities to the masses. Of course, celebrities aren’t the only ones who have to constantly deal with the gossip that surrounds them.

The world of high school does an equally impressive job of gathering and spreading gossip. The crowded hallways themselves serve as a rumor mill, constantly churning out the latest on who’s dating who, or the newest drama unfolding between two BFFLs. The question here, of course, is what makes rumors so enthralling, and what makes them so tempting? There are actually a number of answers to this question. Studies have found that people gossip in order to draw attention away from their own lives by focusing on the faults of another rather than their own disappointments. Other studies have found that people gossip because it gives them a sense of power. Gossiping makes them feel as if they know something about someone else, which in turn allows them to exert control over them. Gossiping makes them seem important, as if they know something that others don’t, which may make them seem interesting to others. So now another question rises: how do you fight a rumor? The first thing to do is to not start a rumor. Once you have that down pat, the rest is quite simple. If you want to fight a rumor, take a leaf out of Obama’s book. Due to the campaign, the president was forced to deal with a number of rumors. Instead of opting for the normal, no comment strategy, Obama took a different route. He stood up for himself, without getting angry. He simply debunked the rumors, and came out with the truth. If this strategy doesn’t work, then try to ignore the rumors; after all, they are nothing but lies. But if push comes to shove, tell an adult, like a counselor or a teacher or your parents. But do not, at any point, spread more rumors in order to get back at whoever spread the rumor in the first place. That would simply be, as the saying goes, trying to fight fire…with fire. As Gandhi once said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” By Sadhana Pittala

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