How To Be Perfect: Gossip
Welcome to How To Be Perfect; a no-nonsense advice* column from two women who know everything.
We are “lifestyle experts” who have been trained by women’s magazines, men’s magazines, tabloids, celeb gossip and reality TV in the ways of the world.
*Advice need not be “good” in order for it to count as advice. Take it or leave it though you should probably leave it.
Today’s Query: “A few weeks ago my friend Lisa did something that made me not trust her. I have a big group of friends, and I try not to talk shit about my friends, but whenever I hang out with my friend Jim, he always drags it out of me. So I ended up telling Jim about how I now feel about Lisa. But now I feel like a bitch for thinking and saying these things! I feel like such a bad person! Even Jim said I am! What do I do?!”
Ew, it stinks! I smell a rat. And it’s Jim. But we’re all innocent until proven guilty in this country, so ahem, due process.
It sounds like you’re pretty clear that Lisa transgressed. Since I don’t know what she did, I’m gonna guess she stabbed your brother 27 times in the shower after having naughty butt sex with him, and then lied about it for 5 years. Not okay. Get okay with that. Now you can’t fully trust her. You are the defense, the jury, and the judge for your own well-being.
What the next trial should be is who the guilty gossiper is in this case. Is it you? You are upset about someone’s crime and you tried to keep it to yourself as to not play sides and create triangles and drama in your group of friends. Sure, you broke down, but let’s discuss why.
I point my judge finger at Jim. You say Jim always drags stuff out of you, eh? Sounds like Jim has his own motivations. Sounds like Jim likes to stir some shit for his own self-preservation. As long as he has A hating C, and C hating A, no one will notice that he, Mr. B, is actually the criminal. I find Jim guilty of using you to get his own judgments out on the table. I find Jim guilty of creating a diversion in your group of friends while he goes off and draws penises on everyone while ya’ll sleep. Finally, I find Jim guilty of making you feel SO BAD for feeling bad for something someone else has done. That’s quite the mindfuck.
My suggestion is that you poison Jim, Medieval style. If you get arrested, write to us for further advice.
I second Ruby’s advice and would like to add: a nice, creamy soup is ideal for poisoning your enemies and the disclaimer that we are not responsible for the consequences of taking this advice whatsoever.
I want to talk about your sense of self-preservation, lady. Mainly, where is it?
As we’ve established, Jim is the shit-stirrer of the scenario. Why is it that you could not see that before? I bet this isn’t the first time this guy has egregiously tried to play members of your group of friends against each other.
I wonder what’s going on that made it hard for you to tell Jim to go fuck himself when he told you were a bad person for having the negative feelings he so sneakily dragged out of you. But then, I know exactly what it always is: the patriarchy.
You’re a nice girl who gives people the benefit of the doubt! You listen to Jim, even though all signs point to him being a giant tool. (I bet he has stupid hair and pretentious taste in movies/music!) And since he is a male, you have a hard time categorizing him as a gossip. So you let him in. He is using this to his advantage in order to create a power structure of his liking. And he does so fearlessly because men are clever when they manipulate, while women are bitter harpies bent on destroying the promising futures of our nations finest predatory douchebags.
So for all of human herstory, women have had to be the cleverer of the two sexes because, basically, they’ll kill us otherwise. It is no less true on the playing field of friendship politics. Be cleverer than Jim. OWN your feelings about Lisa to the point where she could come ask you right to your face about what you said and you’d be like “Yes I felt that way because you X, Y and Z. Deal with it.” Then pull your sunglasses onto your eyes and fling your hair about a little bit. Works every time.