The last few days my friend has been feverishly texting me the latest gossip in the celebrity circle, including her disbelief over the unpredictable wedding between international pop diva, Mariah Carey, and the slightly boyish comedian/actor, Nick Cannon. I happen to think they make a cute couple, but I too was very surprised by the union.
Anyway, gossip is a natural cycle of our lives. Whether you’re sharing information with a family member about another relative, or you’re analyzing a friend’s decision with another friend saying, “can you believe she did that?”, or we’re reading tabloid magazines that relentlessly dish news we often need not know about our favorite celebrities – it’s all gossip. Before you vow to cease gossiping or get embarrassed, gossip can actually be good for you. If you remember a study was done several months ago by Frank McAndrew from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois surveying college students’ attitudes on fictional stories and how likely they were to repeat the information(there have been other studies done on this topic as well). Apparently, if you find out bad news about someone you absolutely can’t stand you’re more likely to share the gossip maliciously, but if it’s about a friend, you’re inclined to share it if it’s good news. And of course we’re much more critical on the decisions and actions of those we don’t know like high profile famous icons.
Also, as humans psychologically gossip helps us bond with others and develop common beliefs and ideas. However, McAndrew also said as a disclaimer that gossip is only good when it helps us socially, so no it’s still not okay to run off at the mouth at the first hint of a juicy story that you’re sworn to secrecy not to repeat. It’s important to analyze what you’re saying, sure gossip may bond people but you don’t want to become someone who can’t be trusted. If a friend tells you what they tell you is in confidence you still shouldn’t share the information. But gossip is the way we share and learn a lot of things. Think about it; gossip can be positive if you use your own resources to verify if it’s true. All news you won’t be able to fact-check but if you hear for example a place by you is hiring, or Obama is leading in super delegates or a friend of yours recently moved back in town, you can definitely can play detective and get that information for yourself.
Another interesting experiment to do is pay attention to your daily conversations and think about how many times you’re simply repeating information you’ve heard from other people, chances are you talk about others more often that you think.