This is just a little rant.
I keep hearing different things about it.
1. (From various articles on bad friends) Someone is a bad friend/person if they shit-talk people. If someone is shit-talking people, you can bet that they are shit-talking you.
2. (A rebuttal I hear a lot toward the first thing) Everyone gossips and shit-talks. It's a part of life. We need to vent about things and people that bother us.
3. (Variation on #1, also from various articles about bad friends) Someone is a bad friend/person if they shit-talk their close friends/family, not so much people outside of that group.
The last one seems like the most reasonable. However, I can honestly understand the sentiment behind all of them despite the fact that they contradict each other.
What do I think? I really don't know. I know that the status quo, at least at work, seems to be that shit-talking is all well and good. Whenever someone is complaining about someone, most people are happy to snicker or join in on the shit-talking. Although, on occasion I see people disagree when they feel differently, saying things like, "really? I like her."
I admit that I will often agree or laugh with the person in an attempt to fit in or because I do actually agree, but I feel guilty after, thinking I should have stood up for the person.
There are a lot of people who think any shit talking at any time is cancer. In fact, it actually feels like a common sentiment that everyone shares:
Are memes evidence? Eh, I don't know. No one said this was journalism. It's an opinion piece. Goddamn!
However, for all the memes about how terrible it is to shit talk and all the articles on Huffington Post and Thought Catalog, I see so many people at work, at home, amongst my friends and in overheard conversations in public shit-talking other people like it's going out of style.
I guess it bothers me that online shit-talking is almost universally seen as terrible but when you're at work or at a party if you stand up against shit-talking you might get some weird looks like you're uptight.
With something like murdering people, unless you are in an online community on the deep web dedicated to murder, the universal opinion both online and in person is that murder is bad. Shit-talking, not so much.
But I don't know. I think I lean toward the more reasonable stance - you shouldn't shit-talk your close friends and family but it doesn't matter as much for other people. But I still think some shit-talking should be allowed if you need to vent about someone because they did something that pissed you off. You just have to be okay with the other person doing it back to you.
It's better to say it to their face though. Easier said than done in many cases for me because I'm shy.
But even with other people, I think it should only be if they did something to piss you off, not to just bully or put them down for no reason like, "John still wets the bed." I don't think we need to shame John for still wetting the bed. It's mean and unnecessary.
Or making up rumours about people. If you are bullying the person or making up rumours, I think that shit-talk is really bad.
But for the most part the shit talk I hear is about a person screwing other people over, although some of it is just straight up making fun of people for no reason and I try not to engage with that, even if I just don't say anything. Not always though. I hate that I sometimes agree, almost on impulse.
That's something I need to work on. Don't shit talk people unless they did something bad and I need to vent or get advice. And don't agree with shit-talk unless I truly agree with it.
What got me thinking about this topic was a friend of a friend of mine, let's call him Quentin (because why not)...
And then I told Quentin's friend the reason why I stopped talking to him - him generally being disrespectful to me and rude to me. I also talked shit about Quentin quite a bit because his behavior was pissing me off. That friend (let's call him Mr. Loose Lips) told Quentin. In response, Quentin started shit-talking me and I shit-talked him and back and forth because this mutual friend of ours had very loose lips. Quentin was saying mean stuff about me and I got defensive and said mean stuff back.
Eventually it got really petty with Quentin saying I was jealous of him and me constantly making jokes about one of his flaws. It was awkward at work as well.
This all sounds pretty toxic, and I think it was. So what happened? I needed a somewhat big favor from Quentin and he did it without incident. And I said thank you. And for a few hours we were actually cordial and looked each other in the eyes instead of pretending not to see each other. We didn't become friends again after that but we were less awkward and cold with each other at work.
And I wondered if maybe he wasn't actually as evil as I had decided he was. Perhaps I wasn't as innocent as I thought. We were BOTH shit-talking each other a lot. Maybe he was just defensive. And I never told him to his face why I stopped talking to him - he only heard it through a friend. That might have worsened things.
So about a week ago I decided that I would try an experiment: stop shit-talking Quentin. And see what happens... Would he stop shit-talking me? Was it all a counter-strike against my attacks or is he just a mean person?
What would it do anyway? Mr. Loose Lips will just relay it and give Quentin another reason to hate me and he'll fire back and I'll have another reason to hate him. Venting in a blog or a diary is much nicer than venting to Mr. Loose Lips anyway.
Right now, not enough time has passed for anything to happen. I mean, so far he hasn't really said anything about me, good or bad. Mr. Loose Lips keeps me updated frequently though. That's another thing to watch for when shit-talking - don't do it with people who have big mouths... Wow, that sounded dirty. If you have to shit-talk someone to get it off your chest, pick a good confidante - a trusted friend, a notebook, a blog, reddit...
But I'm hopeful. I'm a hopeless optimist so I could see us being friends again (but probably talk about what pissed me off and see if he apologizes first). However, even just not being as weird at work and being able to talk at mutual friends' parties and not avoiding each other anymore would be nice. We will see.