I have known people over the years who really wanted to know the dirt on everyone in town. And I do mean they really wanted to be in the know about such things! I have even known individuals that were inclined to pump their friends for information in order to be on the receiving end of the latest gossip. Human beings will always be flawed, so there will never be a shortage of said dirt.
I must confess. I have a method of dealing with such dirt hunters. When I am being pumped for information, I make up wild, but harmless tales about people. I am actually pretty proud of my fictitious yarns. My dirt hunting acquaintances listen intently. They savor every detail until it finally occurs to them that I am totally and completely full of nonsense. It is great fun.
Purposely seeking an awareness of another person’s shortcomings is not always a negative thing. Someone recently pointed out to me that dirt hunting can also be one of the greatest overtures of friendship. At first I was taken aback by such a seemingly unusual declaration. But I found myself agreeing quickly.
A real friend wants to know the dirt on those whom they love the most. Their purpose in possessing such knowledge however is very different! Our friends want to know our stories. They desire to know the whole story. They even want to have an awareness of the sordid details of our lives that we secretly wish to keep buried at sea. The struggles we have experienced, the poor choices we have made, and the tragedies we have endured are a part of who we are. Our loyal friends know that they can better serve us if they are clued in on the darker side of our lives.
I am not inclined to tell my close friends wild tales about myself or anyone else for that matter. I actually count it a privilege to have people that I can entrust details about my life that are fundamentally private. It is an extraordinary blessing to be able to divulge information that is not for public consumption to someone who is trustworthy. Friends actively seek out such stories for all of the right reasons.
So…here is the challenge of the day. Why do YOU want to know the dirt on another person? Why would you seek out such information? Are you are a chronic dirt hunter, who relishes in the missteps of others? Or are you a true friend that wants to know the true story, so you can serve that person from a pure heart? It is a very important question that requires some serious self-examination.