Many people love a little gossip...it is a stereotype of large groups of (mostly) women that unfortunately seems to have a kernel of truth to it. But there is a time and a place, I think.
One of the biggest complaints I hear about FRGs is that they turn into gossip factories. One FRG I was in generally avoided this problem thanks to a strong start with a good leader, but there was one incident that troubled me.
We were sitting at a meeting and one of our regulars was not there--we'll call her Jane. Someone asked where Jane was and someone made a veiled reference to Jane's character. Jane is well intentioned, but somewhat lacking in social skills.
This was followed with another more obvious comment and then another.
Then I said, "I don't think this is the best time and place for this topic."
There was complete silence.
I felt really bad. I don't know that this was the best way to stop the gossip...but I felt someone had to say something. I worried that I came off like a snob--and it still bothers me to this day, but not as much as it would have bothered me if I had said nothing.
I am not saying I have never gossiped. I am far from perfect and I am not always as charitable toward my fellow man as I should be.
I also think some people spoke up out of a genuine concern for Jane. I just don't think FRG meetings should be a forum for discussing other members, no matter how well intentioned the discussion is.
Like I said, this FRG leader had generally done an excellent job about this and I think she may have been absent this meeting. She repeated constantly that she will not put up with gossip and that if anyone has a genuine concern for another spouse, they should talk with that spouse directly or come to her with their concern.
Have you run into this problem? What did you or someone else do to address it? Is there any way to prevent it?