More Gossip

I know that I gossip. So, I have consciously tried to stop talking about other people altogether. But it turns out, that really doesn’t have to be the goal! (Thank goodness, because I don’t know what else I would talk about. LOL.)

The following is from PositivePsychology.com (…with some slight rearranging of ideas for the sake of flow of reading):

Whether we admit it or not, everyone gossips. It is human nature to do so.

In simple terms, gossiping is talking about people who are not present. The average person spends around one hour each day engaging in some form of gossip about work colleagues, friends, family, or other people.

In evolutionary terms, gossip helped our ancestors collect and share knowledge that was once essential for survival, and it continues to have many social functions to this day. For instance, to build and maintain relationships with others, define our social status, and influence the behaviour and opinions of others.

There are 3 different types of gossip behaviour:

1) Neutral gossip: Talking about others solely to share information. It is generally harmless.

2) Negative gossip: Perhaps because of our insecurities or to increase our social standing, gossip is used as a weapon against others. It is sharing information that has potentially damaging effects on an absent third party. This kind of gossip behaviour may be detrimental to the gossiper and the victim. For instance, frequent negative gossipers are perceived as more aggressive, less amiable, and less popular. Talking negatively about people can make others assume that you will also talk about them in the same way and, as a result, damage existing relationships and weaken trust within the group. Targets of negative gossip exhibit less proactive behaviour and heightened emotional exhaustion. Being the focus of negative gossip is hurtful, isolating, and it can undermine a person’s abilities and damage their self-esteem. 

(My words: To summarize, negative gossip is not good for anyone. Period.)

3) Positive gossip: It is a social currency that builds and fortifies relationships. This prosocial behaviour includes praising an absent third party or sharing positive information with good intentions. It provides opportunities to learn from the examples of other people. Positive gossip is a low-risk way of demonstrating social support. Talking positively about people can make others assume that you will also talk about them in the same way and, as a result, build trust and strengthen social bonds in groups. 

We can all benefit from positive gossip.

What would be different if we would talk freely and positively about other people - their behaviours, accomplishments, and contributions?

Let’s gossip even more!

Here’s to conquering stress.

With heart,

The Stress Experts

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