Gossip is a social skill - not a character flaw
Now I want to preface this by saying how much this article upset me when I read it, only to realize that it upset me because I realized there was some truth to it. Let me distill the points.
- Gossip is a highly social, evolved behaviour
- Avoiding gossip could get you socially isolated, or even fired
- Fear of being talked about keeps us honest
- Trust is formed by mutually dissecting a 3rd party
- Gossiping establishes group norms
- Gossiping allows us to establish a social hierarchy
That's an impressive list of endorsements for something that is generally agreed to be ugly behaviour. Having been on the caboose of the gossip train a few times, I've always prided myself on staying principled and keeping my mouth shut about people, unless I felt the conversation was constructive. I've actively said 'Why are you telling me this?' in response to gossip. But what I gained in respect, I may have sacrificed in political gain.
What are your thoughts of gossip in the workplace, or in social circles?
Check out caRpetbomBer's picks in this thread.