Humans are created to be creative, communicative and inquisitive. These traits have over time lead to unity, discord, and discoveries. Gossip is one activity al humans engage in regardless of age, race and social class. It doesn’t matter if it is just office talk, or simply sharing information on the family group page, everyone talks about someone from time to time. Statistics show that about 55% of males and 67% of females spend their conversation time talking about other people.
Why do people Gossip
Most people gossip as a result of their inherent insecurities. Research has shown that gossip helped in the survival of ancestors. Gossiping has evolved to become one of the tools required for bonding. The small chit chats people share in their moments together are often composed of conversations about other people. Gossiping is one tool that can spread vital information to a wide range of people. It, therefore, suffices to say that Gossiping helps us to maintain some level of social functionality. Certain scholars even view gossiping as evidence of cultural learning giving us pointers to what is socially acceptable. For instance, in a situation where someone is known for stealing, the moment people begin to talk about him, it serves as a deterrent to other people.
What’s The Psychological Effect Of Gossiping?
A study conducted in 2015 saw scientists taking a look at the brain imaging of women and men as they got negative and positive gossip regarding themselves, celebrities and their friends. It was revealed that people who heard bad and good gossip about themselves and negative gossip generally exhibited an increase in activities in their frontal cortex. This is an indicator of an innate ability to navigate certain complex social behaviors.
What this showed is that the subjects showed some level of response to gossips. It is inferred that this is a reflection of our innate desire to be viewed in a positive light by other people. The research also indicated that the caudate nucleus usually gets activated as a response to negative gossip about certain celebrities. The people researched appeared to be quite excited about celebrity scandals.
Understanding The Concepts Of Gossiping
There are three vital social functions of gossip. First and foremost, it helps in facilitating the informal dissemination of information. It is an indispensable tool for the functioning of institutions. Also, Gossip can be viewed as serving for better or for worse. It is one potent way via which the society keeps its units in check. For instance, if a person in society begins to act in a way that does not conform to the norms of that society, people begin to talk about him or her. It is thus a social need to regulate free riders. The fear of others knowing the nasty things we would normally do is what keeps many in check.
One unique benefit of gossiping is that it helps us to have a deep insight into the thoughts and intents of other people. It also assists us in better understanding the nuances of human drama. When people talk about others, it is usually as a result of the love of a story or the desire to probe deep into the lives of other people. It helps us understand why the person did what they did, what lessons can be gotten from such behaviors and the likes.
What Is The Difference Between Bad Gossip And Good Gossip?
One thing about gossiping is that it gets to a point when we begin to say things which the person in focus would ordinarily not be too pleased about. The moment you become addicted to gossip, you will find out that a harmless gossip soon spirals into something a lot more complex. Perhaps you have even spent your entire Sunday afternoon talking with a friend about certain matters that appeared to drain your energy and as such lost the opportunity to use the same time to properly bond. Idle gossips are certainly not good because they usually are a reflection of the things we resent about things and people.
The easiest way to know if you have been involved in idle gossip is the way you feel after you must have finished doing it. As for good gossip, there is always a good feeling that comes after been involved with it. When you gossip positively about a person, you tend to feel closer to the world generally and the person you are gossiping about. The beautiful thing about positive gossip is that it can be quite informative and help you keep tabs with old friends. It doesn’t generate feelings of guilt, anger, and jealousy.
How Can You Mitigate Bad Gossip?
Gyms provide a wonderful environment for the spread of news. Just as it is in other communities, they provide a unique platform for the spread of certain kinds of rumor. One nasty thing about such kinds of gossips is that after they must have gone through different ears and mouths, they often have little or no semblance to the real truth. It should, however, be noted that in some situations you do have the mandate to let people know what you think of other people. For instance, if a friend of yours is considering dating someone who is known to be quite randy, it becomes your responsibility to inform your friend.
Having said, this, it is important to state that not all information needs to be spread around. Harmful communication can be defined as any piece of information that could cause harm and hurt to other people. It is not limited to words alone as simple gestures such as eye roll or the tone we use when talking to other people can also be quite harmful.
Furthermore, one other thing about bad gossip is its effect on your mind. Like we said earlier, negative gossip tends to leave behind a rather bad taste whether you are the hearer or speaker. The effect leaves behind in your mind is such that leaves a feeling of damage to your sub-conscious. You should also know that the negativity you channel to others will always find its way back to you.
What Can I Do About Gossiping?
If you see yourself as a gossip addict and you desire to change this habit of yours, you need to search deep within yourself and find out what you gain from gossiping. One of the main catalysts of people being involved in gossips lies in the thrill of being let in on a secret. In the case of negative gossip, it is often quite exciting to find out that you are not the only one with some toxic traits.
Also, by talking about other people, we find a way not to look at something rather difficult or painful in ourselves. It is an open secret that the primary root cause of all negative jealousy lies in the fact that we humans tend to be jealous. Many humans take pleasure in the smallest manifestation of misfortune in the life of other people. Humans by default have some measure of insecurity regarding the level of abundance which the world has. We also have this tendency to compare ourselves with our peers. Sometimes, we even feel that the success of other people affects us. It is at this point we often resort to gossip in a view to adversely affect our perceived rivals.
Some people gossip intending to get even with others. For instance, a person who got left at the altar and can’t seem to find a place in his heart to forgive the partner would certainly seek ways to get even. When such a person shares the story, you can easily sense the anger and resentment in his or her voice. There shouldn’t be anything wrong in talking to a friend about such a thing as it should give you some reprieve.
But you should note that there is a very thin line between gossiping and gossiping in a vengeful manner. It becomes vengeful when you find yourself talking about your part of the story and remove all elements of balance and fairness. You even go as far as exaggerating the story in a bid to make the person look evil. You begin to say things that make you look like the victim and your partners as the villain.
What Is The Way Forward?
It could be quite impossible for you to eliminate conversations about other people and there is no need for that. As an alternative, you could instead be more conscious and deliberate in your discourse. You should also seek to resolve the issues of emptiness which triggers a need to gossip. You should begin considering adopting the principles of silence sometimes. You should learn to ignore gossips no matter how juicy they may appear.
You can also seek to recover from a gossip addiction. First, choose a gossip pal, then learn to catch yourself when you are about to gossip. Also, never forget the aftertaste and learn to say no!
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