While gossip is not among the socially desirable activities, the fact is that we all secretly enjoy it. And did you know that it can help you be healthier and happier?
Scandals and gossip have always been a part of everyday interpersonal communication, but they do not have a very good reputation. However, the fact is that we do not feel bad when we spread rumors about other people. Come on, admit that you still enjoy it a bit and that you enjoy being a gossip girl!
Don’t you think gossip has an unjustifiably bad reputation?
All forbidden bad things are especially attractive and sweet. In moderate doses, just like chocolate, they can be a kind of salve, and when you overdo it, they can bring you doom.
Why Do We Like Gossip?
It is no coincidence that the tabloids, scandals, and news about celebrities are popular and printed in large circulations. In fact, these media only follow the needs of the market and if there was no need for gossip, tabloids would probably not even exist. But, unfortunately, that is not the case. We are reluctant to admit it, but we love gossiping. The juicier, the better!
Gossip and retelling, personal stories about others and details of someone’s life, news from the jet set make up as much as two-thirds of our conversations. We can freely say that spreading rumors is the basis of communication and social connection.
“But people hate gossip!” you will say!
It’s not really like that!
None of us tends to be in the company of other people to keep quiet in it. A gossip girl is a person who is communicative and open and very popular. Even when she is gossiping!
It brings with it a sense of power and people who are full of information about other people’s lives are often very charismatic and gather a large number of people around them.
Gossip About Someone and I’ll Tell You What Kind of Person You Are
Another reason why we love to spread rumors is to some extent the fact that what we say about others says a lot about us as well. Often, for talking behind someone’s back, we choose topics that relate to us in a certain way and that are of some importance to us, otherwise, they would not be such a scandal.
The way you talk about others reflects your view of the world, your moral principles, norms that you respect or avoid, and thus you tell your interlocutor a lot about yourself. That is why gossip is another type of making connections between people.
Constant negative topics and remarks about others will help you get the energy vampire label, and positive topics and humorous anecdotes will make you a favorite person in society.
Spreading rumors about others does not always have a bad connotation and does not necessarily have to be a negative trait.
Occasional Gossip Is a Good Thing
Scandals are usually not something we should look up to from a moral point of view. Still, we spread them with ease and enjoyment every day.
Can anything good be found in them?
Scientists in the Netherlands have dealt with this and here is how we can get the best out of it and what are the benefits:
- We learn from other people’s mistakes. It is true that we best adopt the lessons we experience on our own skin and learn from our own experience, because other people’s problems are never as big as ours and we do not take them seriously enough. But that is not always the rule. How many times have you made the same mistakes over and over again? Stories about someone’s bad experience, bad move, and scandalous behavior can often help us not to make the same mistakes and to assess what will happen if we cross a certain line.
- We fit into society. This does not mean that you should enter a new company with the juiciest details about the lives of its members, but that you should listen to the gossip carefully. Very often, it will help you fit in, get a picture of certain people, and adjust your attitude towards them in time. Such information can help you fit into the work environment and understand in time what attitude is desirable and acceptable.
- We work on our self-confidence. A variety of news and gossip about celebrities is not only a topic for evil people’s talks. Through stories like this, we can find our place in relation to celebrities and realize that they are still only humans. It helps to assess ourselves and perhaps find that there is a potential to become famous even in us, normal people, just as pop personalities play the roles of small and ordinary people in their everyday episodes. And vice versa – news about celebrities helps us understand that fame and popularity is not just a land of milk and honey.
Women vs. Men: Who Gossips More?
If gossip implies spreading those shocking news that fill the tabloids, then women certainly do. Especially if we keep in mind that women have a more developed speech center in the brain and talk more than men. However, men are equally concerned with other people’s lives.
Both men and women like to spread rumors. The only difference is in the way they do it.
In general, men and women are different, they have different interests and different topics for conversation.
Women are more likely to engage in classic gossip and dig through the intimate details of someone’s life and air someone’s dirty laundry, because they get closer with each other faster, unlike men. It also has its evolutionary nature. In ancient times, when men went hunting, women stayed at home, talked and shared the details of their lives among themselves.
Men will hear topics like this in passing, but they will not spend days discussing who is with whom, who is trying to get over the breakup, or who is in love. When it comes to gossip, they evoke a competitive spirit. Men are more inclined to deal with assessments of someone’s success, fall, or salary, because the basis of their mutual connection is their status in society.
Although women are considered bigger gossips, research has shown that they can keep the juicy news to themselves for longer period of time. Unlike men who will wait a few minutes before spreading the information, women will keep it to themselves for at least three and a half hours.
So, are women more prone to gossip then?
Well, it’s a pretty tight score. However, we will leave it to you to judge for yourself.
Gossip Is Good For Health
Okay, let’s accept the assumption that women are bigger gossips than men.
And did you know that Mother Nature may have deliberately arranged it that way and that we are actually gossiping for the sake of our health?
Research at the University of Michigan has shown just such results. Women for whom gossiping with friends is a regular hobby are happier and more satisfied because in that way woman’s body releases higher levels of progesterone. In addition to helping women connect emotionally with someone, this hormone reduces levels of tension and stress. And not only that, but it also prevents the production of too much estrogen, a hormone that increases the chances of developing breast and uterine cancer, so we can say that gossip preserves health and prolongs life.
Whether they want to admit it or not, gossip is still a part of female nature.
A sample of 160 women in one study showed that gossip stimulates progesterone production and a sense of closeness to the person we are gossiping with. In women who did not gossip in the same study, a decrease in progesterone levels was noted.
When Is Gossip a Bad Thing?
You are still not convinced that this habit is good for you?
You are absolutely right!
It is quite one thing when gossiping has good intentions, and quite another when the rumors you are spreading are malicious.
Malicious rumors can have many bad consequences:
- Boomerang effect. You know that rule that you should not do to others what you don’t want others to do to you. That is true in this case as well. When you speak badly about others, there is a high probability that this behavior will get back to you. And it’s not the most pleasant experience, is it?
- Avoidance. If you overdo it with this way of communication, you will not be a favorite in society. Moreover, people are more likely to start avoiding you as the main gossip girl because of the fear that you will spread bad rumors about them.
- Lack of trust. If you don’t know how to keep your mouth shut, not only will your friends and family not trust you, but also your business partners. They will think twice about whether you can keep a business secret.
Spreading rumors is a double-edged sword that can cut the branch you are sitting on.
Even spreading rumors is a skill you can turn to your advantage.
A Couple Of Tips for Smart Gossip
To use this weapon to your advantage, you only need to pay attention to the following rules:
- Be aware of your actions. Put yourself in the shoes of the one you are talking about. Would she be uncomfortable and would your rumors hurt her? Should they hurt her? What is your relationship with that person? Will those rumors destroy your trust, your friendship?
Keep in mind that a few minutes of juicy gossip can destroy someone’s long-term relationship and bring about a long-term suffering.
- Think twice before you start a rumor. Sometimes spreading rumors is a way to draw someone’s attention to their misbehavior. Think about whether this way really helps them in that or will it only arouse resistance and spite? Isn’t it better to talk to a person directly than to spread rumors? And most importantly – can your rumors have any consequences and what would they be?
- Is the problem perhaps in you? If you are constantly talking about the same person and you have a problem with her, you may need to consider whether the problem is in you. Are you jealous, angry, and are there any justified reasons for these feelings to reappear over and over again? Why is someone occupying your attention? Can you solve the problem in any other way? By gossiping about someone, are you looking for advice and a way to solve a problem, or do you just enjoy saying bad things about someone?
Gossip can be a way to fit in. We all do that. However, the way you do it will leave an impression on other people.
When you talk about others, you let your interlocutor know what is actually occupying your attention and what is important to you.
So, choose your words!
Before you start the conversation next time with the famous sentence “ Have you heard this? Let me tell you…” in order to start gossiping, think about what you will actually say about yourself.
- moral principle
- Receiving gossip about others promotes self-reflection, growth
- We Knew It! Survey Shows Men Are Quicker to Gossip Than Women
- Women who gossip can live a happy and healthier life, study finds
- Endogenous estrogens and the risk of breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancers
- Gossip is good for women’s health, scientists claim