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Why do people gossip?

Why do people gossip? Let’s see what it really means. Gossip means to cause harm. It’s casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people.

Typically it involves details that are not confirmed as being true: i.e. he became the subject of gossip whether it was true or not. It’s mainly derogatory. 

It’s someone who likes talking about other people’s private lives, without due care  and attention.

A gos·sip·mon·ger  -Is a person who habitually passes on confidential information or spreads rumors or related to fake news

Conspiracy is a part of the gossip mill – the actions of plotting or conspiring.  The purpose of gossip is to bring down people around you, create negativity,  some say to trying to socialize, it’s not, it’s  spreading fake news.

What are the negative effects of gossip? 

Studies have found that for children, being victimized by social aggression (including gossip) is associated with poor self-confidence or self-esteem is not fully developed, especially for girls. Other studies show that victimization is associated with loneliness, depression and anxiety.

How Gossip can make you sick:

  • Exhaustion – mentally and emotionally exhausted as you may be the target of if and you don’t know how to stop or manage it
  • Anxiety is being nervous or wondering all the time what’s next. Characterized by excessive apprehensiveness about real or perceived threats, typically leading to avoidance behaviors and often to physical symptoms such as increased heart rate and muscle tension
  • Depression – I believe depression is being angry at one’s self for taking gossip in and not doing anything about it. Feelings self-doubt, losing hope, feelings of inadequacy and guilt, often accompanied by lack of energy

What’s more  all this negative talk can escalate to physical violence,  when it’s not addressed, it can also cause long-term physical and mental health issues, including:

It Kills Reputations:

Sharing information about other people whether it’s true or not can destroy reputations.

Why do people spread fake news or gossip?

PolitiFact  described fake news as fabricated content designed to fool readers and subsequently made viral through the Internet to crowds that increase its dissemination and socially popular. To create a division. This all became popular in 2016 during and after the USA Presidential election.

By spreading conspiracies of unlawful and harmful actions. The idea of plotting against a group of people, to have fake news to work.

Fake news is often things mean to  shock and offend because it elicits an emotional response and encourages us to avoid scrutiny of the information, but to share and pass along. No  one seems to check it it’s real or not.

Read more the dangers of fake news

Read more about “Citizen’s Guide to Fake News 

According to studies, gossip accounts for roughly 14% of our language (Robbins and Karan, 2020), and more than 90% of the workforce gossips (Grosser et al., 2012).  Why do people gossip?

How to stop gossip

Leaders of organizations have to be willing to step up to the plate and say “we are going to stop it“. It’s  possible. I became a manager of a very toxic workplace, many things to do to clean it up. 

The first thing I did was, to call a staff meeting and told the staff,” that the rules for gossip is going to change“.  As they go about their day, they are going to start looking for good and positive things about the customers, co-workers and  anyone else on the property.  Show your appreciation! It’s appreciated!

Yes, there was a lot of resistance about doing this, it’s an old habit that needs to change consciously. Even the President the Board told me, I didn’t have permission to do this. At the time I was shocked! Really?

The rules were if you aren’t a part of a conversation then it’s gossip. It’s really simple.

People would come up to me and say, “So and so is saying this about you  My comment was I didn’t want to hear about it. It’s just gossip. Spreading fake news.

Breaking the habit of gossip and fake news takes strength, courage and belief that it can be done.

Some other ways to kill gossip:

1. If you are going to gossip start by talking about other people with kind words. Appreciation, compliments the good things people are doing.

2. Wear a rubber band on your wrist every time you are going to share gossip with someone else, that you weren’t part of original conversation.  Snap yourself.

3. Remember when you had to put a $1 or $5 in a jar when you swore? Do this every time you share a negative or fake news or gossip about someone else. Break the habit. You’ll become rich soon!

4. Think 1st before you speak. Ask yourself “Do I want to be a part of this conversation or be the cause of the negativity that could come back to me?

5. If you hear someone or see people gossip tell them to stop, bring out the jar and collect money for their bad activities.

6. Don’t share anything unless you have the other peoples permission 

For fake news, check in with yourself and ask “why you are writing this or sharing it.” 

Think before you speak

  • What’s the purpose? 
  • Is it kind? 
  • Will it do good in the world?
  • Will you be proud of yourself? 
  • Will other people be proud of you? 
  • Does it build up the persons credibility or worthiness?
  • Are you increasing civility and kindness?

It destroys relationships, spreading damaging news,  breaks your friendships as you become someone who is not a safe to be around, it’s like saying, 

My desire to speak about you, is more important than my desire to honor you.

Read more about What Kindness can teach us and nominate a Kindness Hero

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