No one can escape complaining and gossiping about others. We’re either a source of gossip or the victim. Instinctively, we know that complaining and gossiping isn’t good but I want to break down for you why it is so.

I personally don’t like this kind of behavior and I thought that in real life, gossiping is happening mostly in high school and once you become an adult, you don’t have to deal with this immature behavior anymore. When I was in high school, I disliked this behavior. Yet it seemed that no one was solving anything else than the lives of others, and I wanted to belong so I either didn’t comment on it or I contributed.

When I turned 18, an interesting experience happened for me. My back-then best friend stopped talking to me, literally from day to day, and for no obvious reason. At least not from my perspective. After that, she started telling everyone what I had ever confided in her and everything about my family.

I would hear from others what she was saying about me. The major problem for her was that I was always tall and slim and I dared to wear skirts in summer, unlike her. Some teenage girls can get lost in life so profoundly that many of them carry these patterns into their adult lives. This was her case.

Yet I was very clear that I’m not the person doing the same. I wouldn’t say anything about what she had told me and I didn’t comment on this. And you know what? I felt liberated and uplifted with my decisions. Back then, I understood that you always have a choice, and your choice can make heaven or hell from your life.

Another interesting point was when another relatively close friend at my university stopped talking to and as I intuitively sensed and found out later from others, she became extremely jealous and envious of me. For instance, she told one of our common friends that I said something about him that wasn’t true. When I learned about this, I was so surprised at how someone can make up stories like this. It requires a very lost mind to say things that are untrue about others.

Nevertheless, I’ve had another experience with complaints and gossip lately. It taught me a valuable lesson which is that when you’re frequently in the company of someone who complains, it inconspicuously affects your mood and mind. Even if you aren’t an active participant.

I want to share with you what we all know somewhere deep inside but what I’d like to stress out because I believe that it’s important to realize about complaining.

5 Things that complaining and gossiping does to you and to your mind

1. Complaints of others affect you strongly even if you aren’t an active participant. Sometimes it happens in life that we cannot choose the people we interact with. This can happen at a job or school or sometimes even in families when someone marries into yours. There might be situations when you’re surrounded by someone complaining and gossiping and you just have to kind of listen because you sit in the open space office, for instance. It may seem innocent at first, your colleagues seem to be open and nice and they love to talk. Combining it with apparently unscrupulous comments and jokes about others, about the work, about the boss, and their life. Here and there you add something like nodding or ‘poor you’. Not a big deal. But all these moments gradually invade your mind and mood. Soon, before you know it, you begin to have a less positive mood and you may also find yourself thinking something negative at times about your work. They point out things that you previously didn’t pay attention to because, why should you? There are more important things in life. Yet you begin to change slowly. Now, think about how many people like this you have in your life? It can be your spouses, friends, colleagues, clients, whoever. And if you combine all of them together, you may realize why you sometimes think some thoughts that are self-sabotaging and spoiling your mood. Even though you might not contribute to complaining and gossiping (at least not too often), the very fact that you found yourself in this toxic environment literally poisons your mind. Then you take this poison and you ventilate it on others. Thus, you make your other relationships toxic too.

2. Lowering your standards and vision of your own life. People we surround ourselves with influence what we believe is possible in our lives. If you have friends who are complaining about men and how love is just the result of hormones, then sooner than you know it, you begin to think more into this direction. If you’re an entrepreneur and your friends are working for someone and they dislike their jobs, guess how much support of your endeavors they would have? Not much. They’ll share with you their “reasonable” worries about economy and business. Ignoring the fact that they, themselves, have no experience with this. At the beginning, you need support and encouragement, and you can be vulnerable to lose hope and trust. These kinds of friends will not help you achieve your dreams. All they can do is to take you down. As a result, you redefine what you believe is possible and it will lower your own standards for yourself.

3. Not stopping complaints or boundaries will harm only you. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the one complaining or the one nodding to it. The energy dynamics between you two is poisonous and contagious. Being a listener has similar impacts on your life as being the source of it. When someone complains, it’s better to leave or firmly state your boundaries by saying that you don’t want this kind of behavior to happen in your presence. Although it may sound harsh and difficult to do, you give yourself a great service by protecting yourself from this low energy.

4. Don’t care what others think of you. Why should you bother about what others think of you? It reflects only their not-so-happy state of mind and their own projections. Even if you’re the center of the gossip, it really isn’t about you. A happy person has no motive to go and talk negatively about others. On the contrary, an unhappy person always finds tons of reason to complain and gossip. Even if you’d change everything about yourself to their tastes, they’d change their mind and complain about how you’d changed. Don’t worry about them, let them do what they feel like they need to do and focus on your own life.

5. Negative energy makes you do negative things. Without going too deep into physics, I just want you to know that everything is an energy. Our thoughts, emotions, our deeds. Everything you can think of could create energy or is created out of energy. So when you have negative people in your life, you take in their energy. Little by little, you can lose yourself in it. You start thinking and acting more negatively without even realizing it. The reason behind this is that you receive the energy, add something to it, and it begins to flow from you into your life. You become more like them and less like your true self. In fact, you might even forget who you are. It’s true what they say that we’re made of the 5 people we interact the most with. Choose good people in your life and be a good steward of your energy.

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  • Sylvia Salow

    Life Coach, Public Speaker, Author. TEDx Talk:

    Sylvia Salow is a life coach, international public speaker, and author. Her mission is to help people step into their potential by guiding them to release their limiting beliefs that keep them from the life they desire. In her work, she guides people to rewire their mindset, clear up the energy blueprints of limiting patterns, and reconnect them with their inner guidance. You can also watch her TEDx Talk on "How to Feel and Find Your Life Purpose." Download a FREE guide to help you find your life purpose. Or join a weekly newsletter to receive new articles and inspiration, as well as, free past monthly challenges. Read more at her website: or get inspired by her two books.