Though gossips have been given a bad rep over the years, it’s actually essential to human life as we know it. Humans are social creatures, and as luck would have it, gossip is central to socializing. Here’s why— 2/3 of your conversation time is probably spent talking about others. When humans lived in smaller communities, you could keep account of pretty much everyone by observation alone, but as civilization would have it, we built walls and thus needed language. Gossip is a way for society to keep track of each other and uphold the rights and wrongs that make up social norms. Disparaging a misbehaving third party makes the gossipers remember to behave better, and eventually gossip will cause the third party to change as well. Studies found that if people knew a tit bit that was relevant to their general group but were unable to share it, they became agitated and annoyed. Being able to pass on the information actually made them feel better. Spreading news among a new friends is actually a good way to endear yourself to a new person. Moreover, if you spread negative news about a third party, it will aid social bonding more than sharing positive news. Studies show that after a good gossip session between friends or acquaintances, what people tend to get out of it are general life lessons, rather than judgements on the individual discussed. Hearing a story of your friend’s wild night out will more likely have you thinking “Alcohol abuse is a problem” than “He/She is a drunk”. Studies found that recent hires benefit from having access to workplace gossip. They adjust better to their new work environment and tit bits like don’t-ask-the-boss-about-her-marriage or He-flirts-but-he’s-married, are important, potentially job-saving, tips. Gossip is all about pointing out people who pushed social norms. While some norms ought to be pushed, many are in place for good reason. Hearing about people who rocked the proverbial boat makes you wonder if you have been making any negative waves. Everybody Gossips. Everybody Gossips about everyone. It’s not personal, it’s evolutionary Society tends to act like women are the tattletales, but men enjoy good gossip just as much as women. Infact a poll by onepoll.com showed that men spend more time gossiping than women do. Men spend an average 76 minutes a day tittle-tattling with their friends or work colleagues, compared to just 52 minutes for women.
But if (I mean when) you gossip, make sure it’s for gossiping sake, and not to hurt someone. People can tell the difference. ————– About the Author: This article is contributed by Uchechi Odikanwa, our intern.