Do you remember the game of Broken Telephone that we used to play as kids? You know the one where I whisper into your ear something like “The dog has a pink tongue”, then you whisper it into the person on your lefts ear and it travels around the circle. When the last person is whispered to they say what they were told out loud and it ends up being something like “The cat has a purple bum”. It always goes round in a circle, it evolves and revolves, it always returns, what comes out the other end is anyone’s guess as to how it got there.
The games we played as kids were meant to teach us valuable lessons that we then take on into our adult lives. The sad thing is we some how forget them as we grew up into who we are today. The lesson of Broken Telephone is that no matter what you tell one person, if that person goes on and repeats it, it will then be warped into their perception and not reality. That person will then take it further and warp it to their perception of the other’s perception. It is guaranteed that you will end up with a cat suffering with a serious purple bum. Rumours, gossip and just plain nastiness always spread and they always travel in the circle of the broken telephone much like this graphic:
It always returns to the person who talked and as sure as the cat’s bum is not purple there is a chance that the person being talked about will hear.
A couple of years ago I was innocently sitting at home working as I always did in my flat 60 km away from a family function. While sitting around a table my mother’s partner made the flippant comment about how I was ambitionless and incompetent in my job. My younger brother was at that function and upon hearing this being said about me phoned me later that evening and told me. It cut like a knife but then I sat back and took a long hard think on it. This man knew next to nothing about my job, he had no clue what kind of money I was working with on a daily basis or how big my client accounts were nor what level I was in the company. He knew nothing. By saying what he said to people who did know the reality he only succeeded in making himself out to be a fool. Sadly he has not learnt that talking badly about people only hurts him.
When I first got back to South Africa at the end of January this year, I returned mainly for the fact that my mother had just had 5 major operations on her foot. She was wheelchair bound and incapable of doing anything for herself including running a bath. I took over all her “jobs” that she would normally have done had she been 100% fit and able, this includes all housework as her partner only does the cooking, no cleaning, not even the coffee he spills. I had only been home a week and my brother and sister-in-law came to visit. Mother’s partner told them that it is rough what with me making extra work for him. My mother also made a comment. Both comments were repeated to me and once everyone had left I turned to my mother and asked her out. She didn’t know what to say.
My younger brother has ironically also been caught out many times not only with talking badly about me but also about others. Sometimes what has been said is really really bad and more often than not wrong as well. Sadly it also always gets back the person it is about.
People always find out what you say, it doesn’t matter to whom you tell it, it always comes back.
A person I know decided to experiment recently and see how far a rumour will spread, what the broken telephone principle will do and if the person is trust worthy. In all honestly this is not the true reason for this person starting the rumour. The real reason was to make the other person jealous, I know this as fact and have no problems them reading this. I have told them to their face for they needed to know what their actions resulted in. The results of one person spreading a rumour on purpose? This person has apparently won the lottery, buying a mansion, possibly buying a really fancy car and travelling the world on a whim. All broken telephone from one simple statement “It’s like the lottery”.
Starting that rumour has gotten peoples backs up. People are less willing to give this person help, they feel cheated and not to mention the fact that here if you win the lottery it is probably best to keep it quiet so as not to attract unsavoury experts.
What is the point of playing broken telephone? What is the point of whispering or repeating conversations you have had with someone to another? What is the point of starting a rumour? What is the point? Honestly what is it?
Be careful of what you say to another or the conversations you repeat for at the end of the day it is only you that you are making a fool of.
Be caught out one too many times and you soon find that people don’t listen to you, it is much like the little boy who yelled wolf too much. You will be seen as a fool. Instead, if you have a problem with someone go and speak to them directly, people will have more respect for you.
First, learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak. – Epictetus
When a man tells you what people are saying about you, tell him what people are saying about him; that will immediately take his mind off your troubles. – Edgar Watson Howe
If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!
Always say something nice about someone, never nasty and it will never bite you in the ass nor will the cat’s bum ever be purple…
If you say something to me in confidence or in a conversation I will never repeat it unless you say I can or if it is complimentary such as “Poodle wrote an incredible post” or “Doodle is inspiring beyond words” that is where it ends
You get to choose what reputation you have, what do rep do you have?