ADHD and Gossip

monkey gossip

Happy Belated New Year! I’m not sure if it’s actually belated seeing as we are only two weeks into the year, but somehow wishing someone a happy new year past the first week of the year feels a little less exciting.

As a person who needs structure and a schedule to function at my best, I am happy the holiday season is over and regular activities have resumed. I hope you had a good, if not, great Christmas with some time for rest in between.

I worked throughout the Christmas season and it was not a pleasant time for me. My employers have “security” cameras almost everywhere in the building. When staff are bored, which is quite often, they like to watch what their co-workers are doing on camera and report every little exaggerated detail to management. Having both ADHD and an anxiety disorder made this job feel almost unbearable. If there is one thing many people with ADHD have a difficult time with, it’s boredom.

Boredom in the workplace is a great motivator for office gossip. I worked at gossip central. This would have been a great way to pass the time and bond with my co-workers if I had actually enjoyed gossiping and spreading malicious information about others. I took no part in the game of gossip because I learned a great lesson from Dr. Phil over a decade ago. The great doctor once said, “People who gossip with you, will gossip about you.”

“He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy conceals a matter” Proverbs 11:13.

Being bored and the need for mental stimulation can easily lead a person with ADHD into a gossip situation. Who doesn’t love an exciting story! Who doesn’t want to know who did what and why? Gossip might sound great in the moment, but it causes harm to people’s reputation sometimes instantly, and sometimes slowly over time. Gossip is always wrong because the intentions of the activity is to emotionally harm another person personally.

Gossiping can be sign of passive aggressive behaviour, vindictiveness and insecurity. Gossip harms another person by isolating them, possibly telling lies about them, disregarding their privacy, and disempowering them.

1 gossip

Engaging in idle talk about others is asking for trouble if your ADHD symptoms involve excessive talking, unmanaged emotional regulation, the need for constant excitement and stimulation, and problems with memory. You might even be a target of workplace gossip due to your symptoms. Are you often late with assignments, or late for work; are you forgetful; do you often misplace items needed for doing your job; is your work space cluttered and messy? With ADHD you are an easy target for gossip, so it is best not to engage in it.

When people start gossiping, don’t contribute to the conversation. If you are in a position of power or influence, use it to stop the gossip. If someone is complaining about something someone else has done, encourage that person to speak to the individual or to take time to think about what’s bothering them.

“Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3

During times when you are tempted to gossip find other things to do that draw you away from the gossipers or the gossip it self. If gossip occurs during break time, focus on your food and beverage. A full mouth can’t gossip. Be careful not to let off steam by talking to co-workers about the person you are upset with. It can be difficult at times, but it is always in your best interest not to speak poorly about a co-worker. Discuss work issues appropriately and with the appropriate persons. The intention should be to clarify and solve a problem. If you’re not interested in solving an issue, then you’re gossiping.

This isn’t an easy area to address. The temptation to gossip can be strong during certain situations in the workforce. My hope in writing this blog post is to help serve as a reminder to those of us with ADHD who have to deal with gossip in the workplace. Let’s share our frustrations with God first instead of with others.

“Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit” Psalm 34:13.