Monday, September 19, 2011


What is it that's so appealing about gossip?

It's so attractive somehow, to get together in little groups and talk about people behind their backs. Spread information that is private or that they would rather not have spread about. Why do we do it? Is it to make ourselves seem/feel important, as though we're in on something that no one else knows?

I don't know and I've certainly done my share of gossiping.

We've had an incident here in the office recently where someone started sharing some information that the original person would very much like to have kept private. It was a matter of an overheard private telephone conversation that was then disseminated to one of the biggest gossips in the office and now the personal issue is all over the office.

And that's terrible. The people involved are friends. I can't imagine spreading information like that about a friend until they wanted it spread. What makes it worse is that the person who shared the information in the first place wasn't even being confided in. They overheard something that wasn't meant for them.

I've always liked the Islamic imagery of gossiping/backbiting being like taking bites out of the other person. The more mature I get the more it makes perfect sense.


  1. I think it might be human nature. We can't help but want to know what is going on all the time. No matter how hard we try we still do it.

  2. LK,

    That's nosiness, another trait I possess in abundance. But why do we feel the need to share what we find out even with people who don't ask? Or knowing that what we're about to say will hurt someone?

  3. Fighting the urge to respond with the School House Rock theme song, which is what came to mind. Bah, I'm losing: "It's great to learn! 'Cause knowledge is power!"

    We like sharing information. Hearing gossip makes us feel like we're in the loop, whether we should be or not. And if we get to know, we should get to pass it on and keep others in the loop, right? It'd just be mean to keep them outside it.

    None of that is said seriously, in case that wasn't clear through text. It's totally wrong and awful, but it's also a rationalization I'm pretty sure I've given myself at least a few times. I think it takes a few massive screwups followed by a lot of guilt to start actually learning that it's bad to do this.

  4. Amber: I wish I had an answer. I tend to do it when I am annoyed at someone/something. Like with my office. I'm so upset as to how we are being treated when you find out some info that may help us "survive" I often pass it on without thinking. Should I? No because I probably wasn't suppose to know to begin with. But being aware of things like the fact that your bosses are trying to fire a few people while we are severely short staffed may be info people need to know. Yet I feel guilt afterwards and wish I had kept my mouth shut. Its done unconsciously because you yourself are upset and need to vent. At least that is how it happens to me.

    Probably answers nothing LOL

  5. I totally suck with gossip... I hate it and yet I have this urge to pass on info even if it's not my business and nothing good. I'm working at keeping my mouth shut as much as possible though - can't wait to be out of the office environment. I won't have anything to gossip about.

  6. Well, to me a lot of it also depends on the intention behind it.

    I'm not sure if the following is gossip or not, but, for me, if I was ending a relationship, I'd prefer to only tell a few of my closest friends, and then trust them to pass on the information (in the main lines). Is that gossiping? Maybe, but I'd rather people know than having to tell everyone myself.

    Also, is it gossip if you discuss an issue you're having with a close friend? My ex really messed up my mind when it came to this stuff. He'd forbid me to talk to ANYONE about problems in our relationships, and tell me it was gossiping...

  7. Candice,

    Gossip is addictive and fun. I do my best not to involve myself in it, but I usually do anyway. I just wish I understood the drive behind it better. Maybe if we did then we would have an easier time stopping, you know?

  8. Becky,

    I define 'gossip' as spreading information behind the persons back. They tell you something in confidence or you overhear something and you decide to tell people without the original persons permission.

    In your example, it wouldn't be gossip because you told the friends and then asked them to tell others. It's just dissemination of information. In this case the woman didn't even tell her friend. The friend overheard her and decided to 'share' that.

    I don't think it's gossip to discuss problems you're having with a close friend. It's how we get an outside perspective on problems. It's spreading information just for the sake of spreading it that's gossip I think.

  9. Amber, yeah, those were more so my thoughts, but like I said, I got really confused and messed up about some of these things while I was with my ex.

  10. Becky,

    Yeah, I get that. I've never had a boyfriend do that to me, but I've been manipulated into not knowing up fro down before. It's really hard to get around it and figure out what reality actually is.

  11. Yeah precisely... he'd make me feel bad about discussing "our" issues with my Mum or my closest friend...

    He, it was pathetic really. I'd say "you're too controlling it's not okay" and he'd tell me, you're crazy, you're overreacting, you don't love me, no one else would think this is a problem."

    I'd tell him "my mum and my best friend also thinks you're too controlling." and he'd say "so now you're putting them above me, you're too easily influenced, you can't think for yourself bla bla."

    I have no idea why I stayed in that relationship for so long.

  12. My completely not therapy based opinion: People stay in manipulative/abusive relationships for a couple of reasons. And every relationship is going to be different. Some stay because they're convinced that they can change the man. Some stay because they have such low self esteem that they believe that they *deserve* this man and no better. They know he's a shit but they think that no one else would ever want them. I worked with a girl in a relationship like that. She had been a bright, clever girl before this relationship. Then her parents got divorced, her mother announced that she was a lesbian and started sleeping around willy nilly. It destroyed this girls world and, you know, I'm happy for the mother that she finally felt strong enough and comfortable enough to be who she really was, but I can't help but feel that she should have spared some thought for how her behavior would effect the daughter who thought they had been so close. Anyway. On the tail of all this she got into a relationship with a drug addled loser. And she wouldn't leave him because she thought he was the best she could do. You couldn't tell her any different either. It was a change that had to come from inside of her and it did, eventually. She's left him and is engaged to someone else. So good for her, you know?

    And I think some women just fall in with men who are sociopathic. Not in the serial killer levels of the word, but selfish and manipulative. Clever liars. They slide into your life, make you feel special and important and then they start trying to reshape you. They cut you off from your friends, your family. They're narcissitic and want to be the center of your world. All of reality should come from them. It's frightening from the outside. But while you're in the relationship, every time you have a hint that something just isn't right, they turn it around on you. And you're so generally convinced that he's such a great guy that for a long time you brush off the problem and think that well, he must be right. Difference of opinion/culture/whatever. And it gets easier and easier to just agree to whatever he says because that avoids fighting and slowly you stop seeing any problems at all.


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