News Flash: Ranting is Bullying too

Cole Hook

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Rosevelt

… Even smaller minds congregate solely to discuss people. Yet, this scenario is becoming a reality in our school. “Rant sessions” are becoming increasingly popular, especially in the teenage realm. What may start as a simple sleepover can quickly turn to a rant session because of one person expressing their feelings about another. Soon, the rest of the group is now ripping on a single, defenseless, absent individual.

  We all have that friend who talks badly about others constantly.

“Did you see what he is wearing? That hasn’t been popular for years.”

“I can’t believe they’re still together. What does she see in him?”

“Maybe if she looked in the mirror she’d realize she shouldn’t wear leggings. Disgusting.”

  The reality is, whether you realize it or not, that friend talks about you behind your back too. At lunch I bet he/she complains to you about his/her friend. But, it is almost guaranteed that once you leave that table, he/she might say the same exact thing to other people about you. People like this tend to start the rant sessions, expressing their feelings whether they are valid or not.

  Our school, just like every other public school in Michigan, is required on a certain day of the year to teach all students about how to cope with and stop bullying. The subject matter covers a variety of forms of bullying from physical to cyber bullying. And while we are somber and sensitive on that day, that weekend probably hosts multiple sleepovers in which groups get together and talk smack about their friends, ignoring the fact that they are bullying people too.

  Perhaps you’re reading this and thinking I’m one of these people who rant about my friends behind their back. You might argue that ranting is good. It’s not good to keep all of your feelings in.  To that I say this: You are right. Keeping your feelings in isn’t good. Talking it out is always the best idea… but not when you’re “talking it out” with everyone EXCEPT the individual you are having a problem with. That’s just called being a coward.

  Perhaps you’re being instilled with anger and thinking people talk about me at such rant sessions. For that, I hurt for you. The people who talk behind your back don’t seem to ever think about you before they accuse and criticize you. They might say with such ignorance, “It’s not about what you think. I’m the one who is angry.” And in that case, our entire justice system is running incorrectly. No longer should judges listen to both sides of the story, and neither should parents. However, that would not be right. There is a reason that anyone solving an argument rightly hears both sides of the argument before making a decision.

  So to the one who participates in these rant sessions – knock it off. You might think that talking about someone else with anger will bring you closer to your friends – that you will unite in a common fight. Do you realize that this common fight is in anger? You’re not bonding with persons of worth over your admiration of quadruple amputees wounded in battle that fight to live another day. You are not uniting to clean up the city of Holland. You are not uniting in spirituality to share your love to a community amidst your youth group. You are uniting in hate, breaking down the hearts of people you call your friends. That is simply shameful, and it has no place in our school.

  I challenge you to be the one to make it stop. The next time you get an invitation to go hang out with a group of your friends, think about who is going to be there. If you know that person who starts ranting about others is going to be there, don’t go. Don’t feed into that negativity; is it really worth your time? Chose to be a part of something positive –  even if you decide to go. If you hear the accusations being thrown out from that person, change the subject. If they continue, you can threaten to leave.

  The point is that whether you are sending mean pictures captioned “@shelby” or “lol everyone knows who does this” to a group chat, or if your regular group conversations transition to gossiping about someone, think of something better to do with your time. If you continue to attack your friends, good luck keeping them. I wouldn’t want to be your friend, and I’m sure most of your peers would agree with me.