Why Do People Gossip?
The truth is, 80 percent of our everyday conversations are purely personal, with more of them being gossip than anything else, according to a 2009 study by Nicholas Emler, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Surrey in England. The main reason we keep going back for more: “It’s irresistibly fun,” says Frank McAndrew, PhD, a professor of psychology at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. (Woman’s Day Magazine, Jan. ’11)
The author, Ingela Rutledge, believes a few reasons are:
- to figure people out
- it’s part of our DNA “we can’t help ourselves”
- to reaffirm and share our own values
She says, the “upside” of gossip is:
- it bonds us and…
- the fear of being talked about keeps us from “behaving in unacceptable ways
And the “downside” of gossip is:
- it can be hurtful and
- it can damage someone’s reputation
But – what do you think? Why do people gossip?
I was in Jr. High when I first understood the potential fallout of gossip.
Which is why I disagree with the last sentence of the aritcle…
“Weigh the pluses and minuses before you say anything. Ask yourself, Will telling this harm someone else, or is it all in good fun? Then let the answer be your guide.”
How can gossip ever be “in good fun?”
Let’s define gossip.
- Idle talk or rumor, esp. about the personal or private affairs of others. (Dictionary.com)
- Conversation about personal matters: conversation about the personal details of other people’s lives, whether rumor or fact, especially when malicious. (Encarta)
Based on those definitions I just don’t see a time when gossip can be good or fun. Especially for the person being gossiped about.
My mother quoted Thumper’s mother often, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all!”
My mom hated gossip. Maybe it’s because she hated lies and gossip is typically biased even when it’s based on truth.
Solomon had a couple things to say about gossip:
A gossip goes around telling secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence. Proverbs 11:13
A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends. Proverbs 16:28
Wrongdoers eagerly listen to gossip; liars pay close attention to slander. Proverbs 17:4
A gossip goes around telling secrets, so don’t hang around with chatterers. Proverbs 20:19
Paul put gossip in some pretty nasty company.
Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. Romans 1:29:30
This makes it hard for me to think of gossip as “good fun.”
He also wrote the following to Timothy:
Remember this! In the last days there will be many troubles, because people will love themselves, love money, brag, and be proud. They will say evil things against others and will not obey their parents or be thankful or be the kind of people God wants. They will not love others, will refuse to forgive, will gossip, and will not control themselves. They will be cruel, will hate what is good, will turn against their friends, and will do foolish things without thinking. They will be conceited, will love pleasure instead of God, and will act as if they serve God but will not have His power. Stay away from those people. 2 Timothy 3:1–5
Gossip is nothing new. It shouldn’t surprise us. But we must stary alert and aware.
Because the dangers of gossip are huge. Gossip can:
- destroy friendships.
- ruin reputations.
- break hearts.
- end trust.
- harm gossiper’s character.
- cause the taking of sides.
- cause strife and eliminate joy.
- hurt everyone invloved.
So for today . . . I’ll leave you with this thought, something I learned the hard way…
Please join me on Monday for – How to Be Happier by Avoiding Gossip
3rd Week in August 2015
I’m changing up Around the Blogosphere a little.
Going forward the 3 posts featured will be:
1. Post with the most traffic from last week’s link party.
2. My favorite post from last week’s link party.
3. An inspirational post found while exploring the blogging world.
Kristi Woods shared…
I loved Rebecca at
Mary and Martha’s House
Laura Hicks writes about
Faith, Family, and Fitness
I loved her post –
Are You Striving to Be Worthy of God’s Love?
Now it’s time…