A teenager alone with two other teenagers gossping about her in the background
Coping Skills

The Opposite of Gossip

Everyone knows about gossip. Gossip is the bane of a lot of people who struggle with mental illness, and probably just about anyone else. Let me tell you about its polar opposite. I call it Reverse Gossip, or sometimes Anti-Gossip

I’ll start by Anti-Gossiping about my boss at Fortitude Computers, Daniel. Daniel knows me from a group of friends I was part of a long time ago. I was significantly less stable, and only barely in recovery at the time, so I had developed a bit of a bad reputation. I didn’t have many coping skills at the time and often resorted to yelling at people, sometimes even hitting them. But Daniel didn’t judge. He was patient.

Later on, Daniel started his business, Fortitude Computers. I was excited about his mission and wanted to contribute. I’ve been a huge fan of his ideas for the business. His style of sales is to find the right computer for each person. He doesn’t want to just sell the most expensive thing. He wants to meet a need exactly. This is the kind of integrity I crave being around. He also wants to be a benefit to his community. For him, the business isn’t just about his personal money and benefit. He, of course, wants money to take care of himself and his family, but he also wants to make his entire community a better place through his business’ existence. With these goals, I couldn’t help but get very involved.

I was there at the very beginning. I helped him buy the first computers for his business to refurbish. I actually badly messed up the first buy. I was new to computer inspections and made a pretty significant mistake. He still made a profit, but it was stressful. He still didn’t give up. He saw my worth and taught me how to better inspect computers, so I did that, and the business grew. They opened a storefront, and I volunteered as an apprentice. At the time, I’d lost my job at my previous company, so I was desperate just to not have a blank spot on my resume. Daniel didn’t like the idea of me being an apprentice without earning much money, but I promised him it was worth it to me, and if his business grew as a result, I figured I’d profit from that eventually anyway. (spoiler alert, it did, and I did. win-win.)

So sometimes, I still struggled there. Sometimes, I was pretty down on myself. One time, I made a mistake that didn’t technically destroy anything, but certainly cost him a great deal of time to undo. I sat down on the floor and hated on myself, but Daniel assured me it was fine, and promised I was still more help than harm. I’m allowed to learn and make mistakes.

I then learned that stuff like that wasn’t what he was telling other people. He didn’t tell other people about my mistake buying the wrong computer, or my mistake that cost him all that time. He went around telling people how helpful I was all the time. He spread the word to everyone he knew that his business was stronger because of me. He told me that, too, and after a while, I started believing him.

A few years into the business, I went to a friend’s wedding. At the reception I sat across from Daniel’s sister. Now keep in mind, I didn’t know her very well, and last I knew their group of friends, probably all she knew was my dark past of getting in arguments and being mean. Boy was I wrong. No, all she knew about me was what Daniel had to say, and he had a lot to say. Everything he said was great. His sister was a huge fan of mine because of how great I was to her brother. I was amazed that that was her response. I found later, that that’s what basically everyone who knows him thinks of me. There are some that mostly remember my past, but generally anyone who knows me through Daniel’s words is a huge fan. Daniel is a master of Reverse Gossip.

I want to master Reverse Gossip as well. I’m practicing it in this post. Do you think Daniel has no vices? Do you think I am unaware of his vices? No on both counts. Sometimes I confront Daniel on what he needs to work on, and he does the same with me. But Daniel has learned that the right stuff to share is the good stuff. It makes the world a happier place. I know Daniel’s mistakes. He’s human, and has made plenty of them. But what you need to know about Daniel are his virtues. That’s what I’m sharing today. I want to do for him what he did for me. There will be plenty of people negative enough to share only bad about me, Daniel, or anyone else on the planet. I can’t stop that. But I can be a benefit to this world by my Reverse Gossip.

Now I want to ask you, Gentle Readers, to join me in the discussion. Please, give me some reverse gossip, if you would. I want to hear about people. I want to learn virtues I didn’t know about anyone, both people I know and strangers. Introduce someone to me in the comments and tell me what I really need to know about them.

[ Note: This article was easy to write, but difficult to post. It took me a couple days to get to it. Maybe that’s because Gossip comes more naturally than Anti-Gossip. Some part of me feels a bit silly gushing all this praise about someone, but I might not feel as bad complaining about something publicly. I’ll be doing some thinking about that as well, and maybe write about it. ]

Image by Barbora Franzová from Pixabay


March 26, 2019 at 3:52 am

I would love to join you in reverse gossip! What a great idea to spread the good of others just for it’s own sake. I will tell you about my mother-in-law. In fact, my mother-in-law is such a wonderful person and has played such a substantial role in my life that I don’t even use the word “in-law” to describe her. I just call her “Mom.”

When I first met her she had a lightheartedness and innocence about her that you don’t see in most adults. She accepted me without judgement while at the same time telling me the truth when I needed to hear it, which included telling me the first day we met that I could be healed of IBS. It is mostly her fault that I was healed of most of the things I’ve been healed of. She is also to blame for me finally understanding and experiencing unconditional love. She taught me what family and home and belonging meant. She loved me through all my failures and emotional baggage, as if she didn’t even see then because she saw me as a much stronger and healthier person than I actually was. It’s her fault I finally embraced and stepped into that person. She’s showed me how to love a man who didn’t share my spiritual ideals, how to be a wife to a man who needed a strong woman. She was there, for the three years we lived in the same house, every single day, modeling how to be a calm and relaxed parent. She’s responsible for the fact that I found my way out of the abuse and trauma of my past to be a good parent. She’s to blame for the peace, confidence, joy, and contentment I have in life. She carried these things around her until they just rubbed off on me. As you can see, she is more mom to me in some ways than anyone else. She’s my mentor and my role model, and the first woman I look to for advice and guidance.

    March 26, 2019 at 4:15 am

    That’s awesome. Having wise people show me what friendship means has helped me be a good friend. I’m delighted you’ve been shown how to be a wife by someone’s wonderful wife.

November 17, 2019 at 12:10 am

Im in early recovery my sponsor suggested I look up the opposites of my character defects and how i can tangibly walk it out, and I stumble across this article and its EVERYTHING I needed to hear this is so inspiring I cant wait to call and tell her and spead the word. She has really changed my life and loved me right where i am tha ks so mucb for the article!

    November 18, 2019 at 4:31 pm

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m excited for you and your Recovery. I find your desire to research inspiring, and I know you will turn around and maybe even be a sponsor to others as you continue to put this amount of effort into your health.

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