It’s been a while since I’ve found a really good hostel in Europe. One like the hostels that I stayed in back when I was in Australia, where you feel like you could stay there for months on end and never have to move. I found one of those this past week in Budapest. What I did forget however, was all the tittle-tattle, and hostel gossip that goes on when you have a lot of long-term residents, i.e. people staying for a number of months. I guess when you see people day in day out for that time, you get to know them really well… much better than you would someone you know from work or something, because with these people you are eating together, chilling together, socializing, sleeping in the same room, forming/ending relationships with, and sometimes also working together. You get to know the ins and outs of a person’s personality much quicker, and you discover their good and bad habits very quickly at a hostel, and see everything that goes on in their day-to-day life that you may not have ever otherwise had you not been living in a hostel.
Personally, I don’t really like to get involved in all that. It’s not really my style, and I’ve never been a huge gossip anyways. It has, in a way however, been interesting to listen to some of it. In most part because it’s all the same. No matter where you go in the world, what hostel, and which people are involved, all hostel gossip revolves around the same two things – so and so has slept with so and so, or someone has done something really weird, strange, or bad. Either way, it’s definitely one of the downsides to living in a hostel, whether you are the one being gossiped about, or the one doing the gossiping, because it breaks down the happy carefree spirit that a hostel should have, and can alienate some people from the main group. So how do you avoid it?
Don’t form cliques
It’s natural that if you put a lot of people into a living space then some are naturally going to form friendships, and not with some others. You’ll usually find, depending on the size of the hostel, you’ll get one or two big groups of people who hang out and socialize together, and then a few strays or short-term people who stick to themselves. When you form clicks in a hostel, it makes it harder for other people or new residents to integrate into the main group. This naturally forms a divide, between your group and the other groups or people, and this is where most gossiping starts, as you talk about the other people outside of your little clique. It’s great to make groups of friends at a hostel, but by making the effort to invite new residents or other people on their own into your circle of friends regularly, it helps prevent it from becoming a click, and gets you on friendly terms with everyone.
Try not to judge
When you’re living with people day in day out, and sharing a room, it’s easy to find pet hates with little things that they do. Try to remember though, that you’re seeing these people everyday. Everybody has bad habits, including you, so do your best to tolerate other people, and if you have a problem with something take it up with them direct or with hostel staff, and not talking to your hostel buddies as this will only create gossip and it could just be that the other person doesn’t know that what they are doing is annoying to other people. Try not to judge people for what they do, and even if you can’t help it, remember that if you were in their place, how would you feel if they spoke about you behind your back?
Keep some things private
You make friends really easy in a hostel. You’ll find that after just a few weeks you feel like you know your room mates better than some of your friends back home, but it’s important to remember sometimes, that when it comes to things like money, relationships, one night stands etc, then it’s sometimes better just to keep a few things to yourself. Of course, if you meet a girl or a guy that you really like, then it can be tempting to discuss it with your friends at the hostel. Remember though, as much as you feel like you know people sometimes, in reality you have just known them for a number of weeks. Most people will take the info you give them and just treat it like a conversation between two friends, but occasionally you will get someone who may be jealous of you conquests, the guy/girl you are dating, or other things that you mention and the less info these people get, the less they have to gossip about you. Of course, you should always trust your instincts, and there’s no reason you can’t share stuff with your new-found friends, but if you really want to avoid being on the receiving end of hostel gossip then keep some things completely private.
Make an effort and don’t get involved
If someone at the hostel is gossiping about someone else, you don’t have to confront them, but don’t feel like you have to join in. The less people reacting to some goss, the less attention that person is getting for spreading it, and the less they are likely to talk about that person again. Also, to prevent gossip starting, make an effort to include everyone in things that you do. A lot of the time people who get targeted in a hostel for gossip behind their backs are just a bit shy, and found it hard to integrate into the group. This makes them stand out as on their own, and an easy target for being talked about as they’re not part of the main friendship group. Unless you really don’t like someone, then make sure to include them sometimes in the things that you do as a group, as it prevents them from being singled out, and in the end makes the hostel a happier place to be for everyone.