Gossip | The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Today, I wanna talk about gossip...something that is always a touchy subject, depending on who you ask of course.  There are those who say you should NEVER speak about others in gossip, those who say it's normal, and those that are in between...like me.  So what is gossip, why do we do it, and is it really all that bad? 

So what is gossip?
Gossip is conversation or chatter about someone else, that often times contains details that may or may not be true.  And as a verb, to gossip is to engage in that act.  To gossip is to engage in the act of doing so.  Okay, we get it.  So gossiping is like "Did you hear that Susan was fired from her new job already?" 

Okay, but why do we do it? 
Exactly my question.  Some say gossip is wrong and a bad thing to do, but then why does it come so naturally to us? Is it taught to us, is it just a skill or an instinct we possess?  I've done a lot of reading and learned that as human beings, our brains are actually wired for gossiping.  I mean it's literally human nature.  In social groups, we interact and we discuss things.  This is how we share with others who can be trusted, who can't, and who is upsetting us or making us very happy. 

So why is gossip frowned upon? 
To understand the stigma, we need to delver deeper into the types of gossip. 

First, there's good gossip. This can be something as simply spreading good news.  So your friend got her dream job, and you're talking with someone else and they bring up the name of a company.  You then exclaim "Oh yes, my friend just got a job there and she loves it.  She said everyone there is so nice!"  Okay so is that really gossip? Or is that just simple conversation?  
 Sometimes we gossip with our closest friends to get our stress out, to get advice on a tricky situation, or because holding shit inside if just not healthy.

Good gossip generally doesn't hurt anyone.  I've heard women talking UP another woman and it's so great to hear.  It's totally okay, in my book, to do this. 

Then, there's bad gossip.  Bad gossip isn't necessarily bad but it doesn't serve a really positive purpose on the outside.  But this is where it gets tricky.  So you are venting to your very best friend about someone that makes your life a living hell (like a really bad boss).... Explaining how much of a control freak they are over you is totally okay, in my book of course.  You need to get this stuff out.  Some will say "Well you should say it right to that person instead of behind their back." Okay, that likely won't go over well, considering that the person is your boss and they likely don't give AF how you feel if they're already a crappy boss to begin with. 

So while that's considered bad, it's important to get that stuff out because holding it in is toxic, especially if you can't take action by going to the person directly.  This is also a great way to get feedback and advice from someone.  "She always double checks my work and it insults me" you may say and your friend may reply that perhaps you shouldn't take it so personal and that she's just doing her job.  

The thing about bad gossip is that it also keeps us in line.  Often times, we don't do something not just because of how people may think of us but how they may talk about us.  For instance, someone drops $5 out of their pocket in front of you. There's someone behind you and they notice. So if you pick it up and keep it for yourself or don't say anything, that's a shitty reflection on you and god forbid the person behind you spreads that word that you're an a-hole. It kind of keeps us in check.  No one wants to be "that guy" that cuts in line at the store, right? 

Now, there's also gossip that's downright ugly and malicious.  This is the kind that serves no purpose, not for you, not for whom you speak it to, and not for the person it's about.  So while saying "I'm worried about so-and-so, they've been losing A LOT of weight" can be something that comes from love and may allow you to brainstorm how to approach your friend to make sure they're okay.... "She looks so fat in that dress" is downright shitty and mean.  

Remember Thumper in Bambi...if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.  

So the kind of gossip that really should be avoided is the shittiest kind of all. Saying horrible things about a person for things they can't help or can't fix in a heartbeat is just downright wrong.  It's not good to put that energy out there for ANYONE.  Some people do it just because they are insecure and talking shit on others makes them feel good.  

And if it's you that's being gossiped about....
The best advice I have is that it's not YOUR business what others are saying about you. You know why? Because it doesn't serve you.   Whether it's bad or good. It ain't your problem to worry about.  

So why did I write this post? Because some people are always shunning others that talk about anyone in anything other than a bright sunshiney way.  The truth is, gossiping in many ways helps us bond and form connections with others, especially when we find we have some views in common with each other.  So good and bad.... it's natural, it seems.  But if it's malicious...avoid it. If someone speaks malicious gossip to you, just nod and say "ohhhh, yeaaaa".  Don't add your own personal 2 cents.  Just stay away from that bad energy. 

How do you feel about gossip? 


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