Dear Marcie,

Why are women so catty all the time? Are they ever off? Seems like everywhere I go I run into drama created by gossip, whether at work or socially. It's EVERYWHERE! Can't anyone be genuine anymore?!? HEEELLPP!

Unnecessary Drama

Dear Drama,

Incessant drama, and the gossip that feeds it, never sleeps. I imagine the world has known these devilish twins from the time we could first communicate, although then it was probably over whether Atouk would be clubbing Tonda after the hunt. (Yes, my geek is showing) The victims run the gamut: young and old, men and women, gossip is not selective. And at any given time of our lives, we've all had the one friend. The one that thrives and survives off of others people's pitfalls, or maybe seeks to create some where none existed. Be wary: "Whomever gossips to you will gossip about you."

Those who participate do so with reckless disregard for others and the pain they cause. Gossip lingers, changes lives, and can scar people emotionally. Quick reference: enter the clique movie "Heathers", wherein all sought the top role of Heather #1. Seemingly beautiful girls (at least outwardly) clamoring for the top spot by spreading gossip fueled by intimidation, greed, hate, and even a twist of sex appeal (purely for effect), and all at the expense of others who they viewed as less important or ugly. The truth was that these "popular" girls who had it all were deeply troubled "beings" with only a façade of happiness.

There's a lesson: those who feel the need to "gossip", often themselves feel a sense of less worth or have much instability in their own lives. The insecurity level of these persisting chatter boxes is the polar opposite of strong self-worth. Thus the grueling cycle of judging others or seeking out others' faults, turning the victim into the main subject, distracting from the flaws of the gossiper and perhaps elevating them above your newly inflicted level of misfortune (whew- who has that much time??).

On the whole, we should learn to dismiss it freely. Nothing provokes those inflicting verbal harm more than CONFIDENCE. Confidence can strip the mundane of meaning, leaving your legacy in the realm of the profound. Set an example in your own home and community, that you stand for what you believe and believe in something more. You will NOT spread the word of others, but rather your own. Letting go can bring a stronger sense of self- empowerment. This truly exudes the refinement of etiquette. Emily Post would be proud.