Rumors should not be a normalized part of high school culture

Kylie Clifton, Journalism 1 Staff Writer

Rumors, the wretched thing practically any teenager nowadays has either experienced or taken part in.A rumor is generally considered to be a currently circulating story or report of an uncertain, doubtful, or false claim.  While nearly every student has been subjected to rumored discussion, rumors should not be normalized among teenagers.

I am one of millions of teenagers who has experienced and been affected by rumors or gossip. What I’ve learned from rumors and gossip alone is that they speak heavily of matters that are a priority or funny among teenagers at the time. The depth of any false claim can fluctuate in any context, and so can the intent, ranging from a misinterpretation to straight malicious claims.

Within what seems the universe that is high school, where anything and everything matters, any rumor or gossip can lead to unnecessary amounts of stress. Rumors are truly destructive, especially in high school with oncoming relationship traffic. Imagine hearing rumors being spoken that you slapped someone, went to “second base,” or even said a nasty comment about someone. What simply was an argument between friends could be recounted as a “full on girl fight.” A private moment between you or someone else can become everybody’s business. The truth of the matter is that rumors are wrong, and basically everyone can agree with that. Why, then, do they continue to be spread?

The easiest answer is personal gain. There is a certain pleasure in knowing something that someone else doesn’t, even if it’s untrue. Sometimes people also tell a false truth to make someone look bad, and in doing so, make themselves look better. Anyone could “jazz” up a story to so they’re seen as more tough, productive, kind, down to earth, or even confident. Rumors can also stem from jealousy and sometimes insecurity. If someone else’s life seems “perfect,” “easy,” or “happy,” many people resort to trying to tear that person down by saying things like they’re “trying too hard”  or “fake.” “I think people spread rumors because they have nothing better to do with their lives,” said freshman  Kiri Kline. “Then after the rumor is started, people get really angry, and fights can break out, especially if it’s found out who started the rumor. Friendships can also break up,” she went on. Freshman Alyssa Jackson agreed. “I think rumors start mostly because someone doesn’t like someone else, or they’ve been harassed by a certain person or group of people, and they want to get back at them, but won’t do anything to their face,” she explained. “The impact of rumors can be pretty big because just one rumor can get you a reputation, and then your friends can disperse from you because of that, and then you can get picked on or harassed just because of something that was never even true to begin with.”

Returning to the original question at hand: why are rumors spread? Furthermore, what can we do about it? If you find yourself in a negative situation despite the circumstance, communication across both parties can resolve conflict. Rumors should not be normalized or accepted among teenagers because the results of them can be too devastating and can even permanently alter the course of someone’s life. Refusing to spread rumors and gossip and learning to resolve differences or disputes correctly are the things that should become part of our normal routines instead. If you’re spread a rumor yourself before, that doesn’t make you a bad person, but the way you conduct yourself afterward does. Let’s all make a commitment to put our best, most truthful foot forward, no matter how tempting the alternative might be.