Jane and Judy are on break at their favorite coffee house.
“Did you know that Megan and Jeff are secretly seeing each other?” Jane says.
“No!” Judy says, shocked. “How do you know?”
“Elsa from Accounting saw them near the water cooler. He was handing her a piece of paper. Probably his private number,” Jane says.
“I can’t believe it! He’s a married man!” Judy says. “The nerve!”
“Not only that, but Kim from Production saw Jeff giving Melissa a ride,” Jane says. “He’s got women everywhere. His poor wife. I hear she’s sick. Cancer.”
“OMG! How did you find that out?” Judy says.
“Marcy, his secretary, said she saw a paid invoice from an Oncologist. What else could it mean?”
“That scumbag!” Jane says.
“Yeah, that scumbag!” Judy says.
Recently in the news there was a report about porcelain dolls being placed on doorsteps where little girls lived. It was reported that the dolls had a striking resemblance to the girls at whose houses the dolls were left. All sorts of speculations arose from that news story.
“It’s a pervert who’s been stalking the girls.”
“It’s a psychopath from the neighborhood.”
“So, so creepy! Who would do something so horrible?”
“That guy is a freak! There’s only one reason he’d leave those dolls: to terrorize the girls; or maybe warn them.”
When the truth finally emerged, it turned out that the “stalker, creepy, psychopath,” was a woman from church who thought it’d be nice to leave a gift for the little girls.
How many times do we assume things just based on our own perceptions? In the dialogue with Jane and Judy, it is assumed that Jeff is an office flirt; a married gigolo who’s got women everywhere, and that he’s cheating on his poor, dying wife. But is he?
What if Jeff was giving Megan the name of his therapist because she was having problems with her teenager? What if he was giving Melissa a ride because she was going to his wife’s book group? What if the Oncology Invoice was a receipt for a donation he’d made?
There are a lot of ifs. And a lot of assumptions. The truth is that you don’t always know the whole story. It’s dangerous to spread rumors and to speak as though what you’re saying is correct when in fact you may not know the actual Truth.
Rumors can ruin people’s lives. Next time you’re thinking about spreading some juicy gossip, Don’t! Even if it were true, it’s not your place to reveal it.
“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”