RE: Through the looking glasses?Darkly
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2000 08:26:47 -0700 (MST)
Ah yes, rumors and innuendoes certainly can change your relationships in a
hurry. We have gone through this a few times in a major way so it seems a
lesson that we don't learn and the rumors, even though entirely unfounded,
still can effect relationships and assumptions. One example:

An attractive, intelligent, single woman lives at Sharingwood. She and a
married man became friends, started hanging out together. They had a lot in
common and enjoyed each others company and conversation. Some of their
neighbors saw them do this, made assumptions and thought they were sexual
partners, and also assumed the married mans wife was OK with this. The
"buzz" starts swirling around and eventually the wife hears the untrue rumor
that her husband is sleeping with their friend. Of course this causes a
problem, the husband and wife figure out that its all rumor mill. All three
players are now angry with unknown rumor mongers and specific people in
general. A public sharing circle is called for, and is single handedly
cancelled by one of the chief rumor mongers, who it is assumed does not want
to be called on the carpet. This causes a whole bunch of other people to get
into the act because nobody has ever done this before and they are now mad
as well. Yikes.....

A private mediation is held, then another. The whole thing seems to blow
over. Unfortunately relationships are damaged and not repaired. The
friendship between the two people, is pretty much less intimate and more
distant. Some of the married woman, who are perhaps a bit insecure of their
relationship, are distrustful of the single woman, afraid she will "take
their husbands away", something she never did in the first place. The woman
in question withdrawals in some places from public scrutiny.

We've been through a variation on this soap opera three times now, each time
with different players. I suspect, although I am not sure, that one couple
moved away due to one of these. Being in community does mean living to some
extent in a glass house, and when people throw rocks, it breaks things. A
brief bit of wisdom was posted in our commonhouse at one point. A person who
gossips to you, will gossip about you.

Rob Sandelin
Northwest Intentional Communities Association
Building a better society, one neighborhood at a time

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