April 27, 2009

I love gossip. I’ve accepted that most girls do. I have not accepted that guys do, or rather I haven’t accepted that they gossip in the same way girls do. Maybe this is because most of my guy friends don’t (at least when I’m around). Or maybe I was just oblivious to it. Or I always felt like it was one way – me gossiping to them. Now, certain guy friends of mine have started gossiping and I haven’t quite wrapped my head around it. This was suppose to be one of those things I didn’t have to worry about when hanging out with boys.

I read an article on why gossip is a good thing. Essentially, it helps enforce and propagate the rules of a social group. Through gossip, it becomes clear whether a group of people will accept or disapprove of a specific behavior. It creates an ingroup, and those in the know feel more connected. Sounds all well and good, right? But when a group is new, all the rules haven’t been solidified yet. Trying to work within unknown boundaries is extremely difficult. Eventually certain opinions will have to rise to the top, and if you’re not on the same page, you could be in the outgroup. It’s much easier to just not think about what others could be saying. Even better, get rid of that ego and assume you’re not interesting enough to be the topic of discussion.



  1. Do you feel there’s a difference in whether the gossip is proven true or speculation? I always felt that gossip of the latter kind is harmful whereas the former is information that you wouldn’t say in front of the person because they’d be embarrassed.

    • Obviously, if the gossip isn’t true, it’s causes unnecessary harm. Whereas, if it is true, the damage is somewhat deserved. But either way, it still has the benefit of enforcing the rest of the group’s acceptable behavior (unless the group has questionable acceptance). For example, spreading a rumor of cheating. Assuming the group disapproves of it, they will probably judge/shun/tease the person who supposedly cheated. If he didn’t do it, yes, that sucks – and hopefully he’s able to explain that. But the response to the rumor should prevent those in the group from cheating in the future. I guess gossip would malicious if you knowingly spread lies because you want someone to be in the outgroup.

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