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Why Do People Gossip?

How often do you find yourself talking about other people, especially those who's lives don't directly affect your own? Is it really healthy to gossip about other people in order to socially engage ourselves with our peers? Although it may seem like harmless chit chat, gossiping is a much deeper problem then most even realize. First of all when you gossip or speak negatively about the lives of others, you are judging the way someone is handling or living their own life, based on limited and sometimes even false information, which is usually obtained by hearsay. Why is it so entertaining for people to sit around examining the hardships and difficulties of others instead of talking about something positive in their own lives? The answer is simple, but also a bit sad.

People who are engaged in the lives of others are avoiding their own and in a way, they enjoy focusing on the trials and tribulations of someone else, mostly to take their minds off what we as human beings all find ourselves going through during one stage of lives or another. What gives people the right to dislike and defame someone they don't even take the time to have a conversation with? Most times our own inferiorities are the basis for the prejudgment we impose on others because it's too difficult to admit our own imperfections and issues to ourselves and others. It's pathetic to watch a group of people sit around putting down someone who isn't even there and has done nothing to anyone but live their own life the best they can. Instead of going with the flow when you get around negative people, stick up for whomever it is that's being bashed. Make a statement and be positive. You'd be surprised what kind off reaction you get, mostly because others don't think about what's being said or going on until it is brought to their attention and then processed individually.

Think about it, do you encourage your children to bully others or to act cruel to children that are different? It's very doubtful, especially because that kind of behavior is frowned upon in schools and is deemed unacceptable. So why do adults teach their kids to be good kind people without being that way themselves? The truth is because it's easier to focus on the hardships of people we have no emotional attachment to, instead of focusing on the aspects  we don't like in our own lives. Once you see there is a problem the right thing to do would be to improve it, but that would mean hard work and having accountability, something many people are just too lazy and scared to do.

As I write this I find myself wondering what kind of a response my opinions might induce. My intention is to get people to reflect about themselves and why being negative or judging others is simply a waste of time, not to mention unkind and ignorant. Nobody is perfect, even I catch myself talking to girlfriends about so and so or what so and so was doing etc. However, it's a rare occurrence you'll find me caught up in the middle of a group bashing of anyone, especially if they aren't there to defend themselves. I suppose I might be more popular if I'd shut up instead of disagreeing with everyone in the room by saying that it's none of our business and that unless we have been in someone else's shoes we have no right to comment on what we would do or what they should do, regardless what my own personal opinion about that person might be. This is especially the case when it comes to people who don't have children talking about how someone else's child rearing abilities are not up to par. Perhaps I feel this way because I too have been on both ends of the spectrum when it comes to having an opinion about something I hadn't yet experienced, only to find myself acting exactly the way I had so strongly denounced before hand. It wasn't at all on purpose and it made me feel terrible that I was doing something I new was wrong. However it opened my eyes to see that we are all human beings doing what we can to survive through our own emotional and physical struggles, which make up our lives and shape who we are.

Having an opinion is fine, it's just the way we form it is what can be dangerous, especially when it comes to dealing with other human beings. We as people have such inhumane ways in which we treat our fellow man, perhaps it's the fear of someone being better then you and being threatened by feelings of failure. Who knows? All I do know, is that helping those in need can never be a bad thing, even if you take a loss because of it, at least you know in your heart that you did what was right and that is something that can't be disputed.

Where does all this tie in? Well I guess it all comes down to taking control of your life and being the best you can be. Gossiping is merely one of the many distractions which keeps us from focusing on improving ourselves and having happy and fulfilling lives. If you're too busy judging the lives of people you hardly know instead of wishing them the best and worrying about how to help yourself, nothing good or productive will ever be in the final outcome. In other words you'll stay stuck in that rut of negativity while the people you spend so much time talking badly about will eventually move on and find themselves in a better position in life because they overcame the struggle of hardship. No thanks to the people who were consumed with the joy of expecting them to fail. I would rather be a social outcast because of my ability to overcome adversity and to correct my own short comings then those that were left behind who are still talking about how terrible everyone else is. Now that I think about it, weren't most of the world's greatest leaders just regular people with the ability to rise above the rest and take charge regardless of what other people thought? How much gossiping do you think John F. Kennedy did, what about Bill Gates or Gandhi? When you are driven to succeed I don't believe there's an awful lot of time to waste on the everyday problems of mere acquaintances, there are too many obstacles to overcome in their own lives so that they can one day succeed in reaching their goals and then living their dreams .

Do you have what it takes to be successful? Take the first step by cutting out the gossip and you might be surprised how your own personal success follows suit. Or would it hurt too much to try?

Thanks for reading!

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Comments (16)
Lily

I strongly believe that people who gossips are those with mental problem due to their unresolve personal issues. They need to be seen by a good psychiatrist. However, people also gossips because they were not raised by their parents in a proper way or it really runs in their blood, I would say hereditary.

Shara

There is this mom from my daughter's class who is constantly pulling me aside to gossip about the other mom's who she is not friends with .

This mom will insult the intelligence of people to make herself appear smarter, try to make people feel ashamed of themselves to make herself seem pure and righteous, and try to put people down who's children are not as refined as her own. I have to admit, her children are very refined and polite which is a really good thing. But this woman will try to make negative assessments about other people's kids based on little information or evidence, and just flat out label kids as being "bad", when in truth young children are in the process of still learning the difference between good and bad at different speeds and levels. I'm very easy-going, so she will call me out on the most trivial things that my daughter does, like not sitting up straight in class. This mom can be so toxic that I would sometimes rather eat dirt then to have to listen to her complain and make me feel bad about myself.

Interesting article. I have often wondered why gossiping seems to be so populair, but still don't really understand it. Oscar Wilde once said: 'There's only one thing worse than being talked about, and that's not being talked about.'

Well done on this article

irish golda escalona

There is not one single person in this earth who has not been guilty of wrong doing in one form of another, so again, why should people gossip if at some point it may come back to them? In fact, there is a very old wise saying that “you should not throw stones if you live in a glass house.” So, while we all live in glass houses, why do people insist on continuing to throw stones at somebody else’s glass house? :)

greg reagan

well said ms irish golda

mary

Thanks for the article! I'm working in a place were gossiping is like an oxygen to everyone. Now, I'm motivated to be a good person and let them enjoy gossiping while I'm on my way to success.

Thanks for all the insightful and interesting comments to my article. It surprises me how many others feel strongly enough about the same things I do to write about their own experiences and views after reading something I wrote. To Mary, your comment made me feel GREAT! I'm so happy I might have helped you in any way to feel better while going through a less then joyful time in life (lol.) I truly believe keeping the same attitude you have is what will help you achieve the success you want and deserve. To Shara, I feel for you. Just try and remember that her kids my seem refined but imagine how difficult it must be for them having a mother as negative and critical as theirs. Now think of how your kids feel having a more easy going and positive mom like you. If that doesn't make you feel better about your parenting style and skills, I don't know what will!

Bradford

I greatly enjoyed your informative and plain view explanations as to why people enjoy crucifying the reputations and lives of others especially, as you stated, the ones that we know little to nothing about and most based on false information. Having been a target of such ruthless gossip, I know first hand how hurtful, detrimental and destructive the careless and thoughtless judgements of others can be and yes it is too often based on information that is untrue and false. I have always observed others when they were gossiping about someone and always found that their own lives were a reflection of what they were actually accusing others of doing or being. We all suffer hardships and instead of extending a heartfelt act of compassion, it seems people had rather judge how they are handling it instead of helping. I have always been amazed at how much power a lie has and how powerless the truth is in situations where people want to persecute another. I have lost all my childhood beliefs about truth and lies and the true goodness of people. I, like you, believe that if only one had the courage to stand up in the face of the group of gossipiers and bring to their attention their actions that it would make a great change but it is rare to find one with noble and honorable qualities. My hat is off and my admiration to any who does call into question the thoughtless words of the gossipier and change such a negative situation. We never know when we're going to be the next in line and the next target of such hurtful gossip.

Bradford

Thank you so much for your well written and thoughtful article on "gossip". An act that has ruined so many innocent lives, reputations and happiness. People should be held accountable for their words as much as their actions. Just as you so intelligently and plainly pointed out, it is usually a reflection of how someone handles their own life and avoiding what needs to be addressed in their life. It is not harmless and innocent. It is Bullying. A negative thought expressed to another will remain stronger than any positive thought. Gossip is usually based on false or untrue information or at least, completely distorted information that gets more distorted with each telling until it is completely untrue. Having been the target of such unmerciful attacks on my life I have tried to ponder why people are even so interested in something that if were indeed true, what would it even matter to their life? I can say that elaborate attacks are usually started by someone who is highly jealous of another and is a bully, They have enough influence over people's opinions as they tend to be leaders and then with enough time on their hands, can ruin you and everything you have ever worked for and believed in. The truth is I have almost always found with compulsive and negative gossipiers is that they are indeed jealous hearted people with no compassion for those they are supposed to care about, have family problems constantly and negative views about most everything. My hat is off and my admiration to the one who is noble enough and honorable enough to stand up to a group of gossipiers and bring it to their attention. If more people would realize how easy it is to fall victim and prey to these silent bullies then more people would stand up and call them out. Like you said, it's all about being the best we can be and helping others. That is called "Humanity" and when we loose that, we have lost all that truly matters in this life. Thank you again for your article.

Mia Stubbs

Recognizing That Your Are Gossiping...

         

Psalms 41:6 “And if he come to see me, he speaketh vanity: his heart gathereth iniquity to itself; when he goeth abroad, he telleth it.”

It is not hard recognizing when you’re gossiping.  Ask yourself these three questions to determine if you are a participant of gossip:

If God was standing right next to me, would He approve of this conversation?

Is the person I am discussing, present, to defend themselves?

If the tables were turned, would I like this to be said about me or one of my loved ones?

If the answers above were each answered “yes,” then there have not been any errors of one’s character being destroyed. 

Outside of asking if God would approve of the conversation, the most important is; is this conversation something we need to ask a person that we care about?  And should it be asked in private?  In no way should anyone be placed in a position to be embarrassed and made to feel that their private details true or false are the root of conversation, for entertainment and amusement for the group for that day, or any other day!

Individuals that gossip can be cured of their disease, very quickly!  And this is by; placing the shoe from the foot of the person (s) they’re attacking with the rumors, and placing it directly on their own foot. 

God is asking you to stop gossiping, will you do this for Him?  He really loves you, and He really loves the person (s) in whom are being gossiped about.

 

Author: Mia Stubbs

www.stopthegossiping.com

Mia Stubbs

Recognizing That Your Are Gossiping...

         

Psalms 41:6 “And if he come to see me, he speaketh vanity: his heart gathereth iniquity to itself; when he goeth abroad, he telleth it.”

It is not hard recognizing when you’re gossiping.  Ask yourself these three questions to determine if you are a participant of gossip:

If God was standing right next to me, would He approve of this conversation?

Is the person I am discussing, present, to defend themselves?

If the tables were turned, would I like this to be said about me or one of my loved ones?

If the answers above were each answered “yes,” then there have not been any errors of one’s character being destroyed. 

Outside of asking if God would approve of the conversation, the most important is; is this conversation something we need to ask a person that we care about?  And should it be asked in private?  In no way should anyone be placed in a position to be embarrassed and made to feel that their private details true or false are the root of conversation, for entertainment and amusement for the group for that day, or any other day!

Individuals that gossip can be cured of their disease, very quickly!  And this is by; placing the shoe from the foot of the person (s) they’re attacking with the rumors, and placing it directly on their own foot. 

God is asking you to stop gossiping, will you do this for Him?  He really loves you, and He really loves the person (s) in whom are being gossiped about.

 

Author: Mia Stubbs

www.stopthegossiping.com

What an uplifting article! My family has been gone through some tough times as of late ¬– my oldest son is in a drug rehabilitation center, I have personal health problems, (not cancer or anything life threatening, but definitely life-changing), and my employer is downsizing and my job is being eliminated, so I'm told. So yes, I'm a little stressed out. I try to look at my health problems as things could always be worse; I don't have cancer. Thank goodness. I’ve confided in two people, one neighbor and one co-worker about these problems; aren’t that what friends for? To confide in when you need someone to talk to? When one of these people ask how I feel I tell them (or at least used to). More importantly, I always make sure that I ask how they are doing because I care about them too. I make this is point because I really care about them and their families; I know that life isn’t always about me. About 9 months ago, I noticed my co-worker always had something to say about someone in the office. She is in a position of some power (secretary to an Exec VP), so she is privy to confidential information that she openly shares with several people. As her friend, I've tried to tell her that she should stop sharing that information, but she continues. If it's not one person, it's another. Several months ago (I’m on short-term disability to have a double fusion in a couple of weeks) I realized if she gossips about my other co-workers, the people she "calls" her friends, then she must be gossiping about me too. I'm not that naive to think I'm the only one she doesn't gossip about. I always try to cut the conversation off or try to get her to look at things from the other person's perspective. More recently I found out that this so-called friend told everyone that my son is a drug-addict when I specifically asked her not too; I trusted her. Now the whole office knows. She talks about her boss to; looking up his criminal record online to confirm his two DUI convictions and has also spread that information around the office. I told her about the things I’ve been going through because I thought she was my friend and I just needed someone to talk to and I really thought she was my friend. I always comforted her when she needed someone to talk to; most recently after having a miscarriage - having been there myself (5 times) I mostly listened and gave her a shoulder to lean on, never sharing a word of our conversations with anyone. I realize our situations are different, but in a way they are the same; we needed someone, a friend. The only difference is I didn’t gossip about it and she did which has now ruined my professional reputation because having realized that she gossiped about it I often got emotional while in the office. Next, my next door neighbor, (someone I really considered more than a neighbor, I considered her one of my BFs) is a stay at home mom. She's very strict with her children and very spoiled by their wealth. She always told me that she wanted to know if anything ever happened between our children or anything I knew about her children so she could deal with it. When they're outside playing she sits on the front porch and jumps in at every little mishap between them. I on the other hand feel there is a time to step in and a time to let children work things out on their own. As long as things don't get physical or verbally inappropriate I think that kids should be given the opportunity to handle everyday arguments over a toy, etc. by themselves. I believe this teaches them to stand up for themselves and to be able to resolve problems on their own. I must admit, it is difficult and heart-breaking to see my daughter be picked-on, but I also feel it gives her an opportunity to learn how to handle herself in such situations. Recently, she received a text from my next door neighbor's daughter (the mom who wants to know everything right away), the text was not only obnoxious by included the "f" note as well as telling my daughter she sucks. These girls are 8 and 9 years old. This text was a result of my daughter saying she didn't want to play because she was watching a movie with her dad. When my husband told me about the text which he and my mother both saw we decided it was definitely something that had to be addressed with her mom. However we didn't act on it for about a week and a half because they had left on vacation the next day and it wasn't something we wanted to email to them. Finally I had the opportunity to bring it up (unfortunately) through an email when I was responding to the mother on a different subject. I explained to my neighbor that we, my husband and I really wanted to talk to her about this in person because of the wording used in the text message. Long story short, although the mother responded by saying she wasn't mad, she hasn't spoken to us since, hasn't included us in the church car-pool that we've been involved in for years, and is gossiping about us, specifically about our oldest son's problems. I am heartbroken that she could treat us this way; I truly considered her one of my BFs! She won't look our way and she completely ignores us. I guess the thing that bothers me the most is the gossiping about us; maybe she is gossiping because she knows that this is a very sensitive subject with us and that this would hurt us the most? I don't know! I just know that we've been nothing but supportive when she lost her parents last year among many other things like mowing their lawn when they were away, etc, etc, etc. I guess what I'm trying to say is that your article is so true, in that people should always consider what's going on in a person's life before they start gossiping and defaming the characters of other people. I find it so sad that I confided in two people I thought were so warm-hearted only to be slapped in the face by both of them. I cry everyday wondering what our other neighbors and my other co-workers are saying about me/us. Why do I care? And why does it hurt so much to be betrayed by the people you trusted the most? I apologize for the long post, but please if you have taken the time to read this do one thing, always consider your words and actions before you judge someone because you never really know what's going on in their personal lives. And if someone is gossiping about other people in your presence and you can't stand up for the victims of the gossip, please let the gossip stop with you! Realize that everything you do or say has an impact on someone's life, good or bad. Be a good person, don't say anything if you don't have anything nice to say! My life has been turned upside down because I trusted two people I thought were my friends.

What an uplifting article! My family has been gone through some tough times as of late ¬– my oldest son is in a drug rehabilitation center, I have personal health problems, (not cancer or anything life threatening, but definitely life-changing), and my employer is downsizing and my job is being eliminated, so I'm told. So yes, I'm a little stressed out. I try to look at my health problems as things could always be worse; I don't have cancer. Thank goodness. I’ve confided in two people, one neighbor and one co-worker about these problems; aren’t that what friends for? To confide in when you need someone to talk to? When one of these people ask how I feel I tell them (or at least used to). More importantly, I always make sure that I ask how they are doing because I care about them too. I make this is point because I really care about them and their families; I know that life isn’t always about me. About 9 months ago, I noticed my co-worker always had something to say about someone in the office. She is in a position of some power (secretary to an Exec VP), so she is privy to confidential information that she openly shares with several people. As her friend, I've tried to tell her that she should stop sharing that information, but she continues. If it's not one person, it's another. Several months ago (I’m on short-term disability to have a double fusion in a couple of weeks) I realized if she gossips about my other co-workers, the people she "calls" her friends, then she must be gossiping about me too. I'm not that naive to think I'm the only one she doesn't gossip about. I always try to cut the conversation off or try to get her to look at things from the other person's perspective. More recently I found out that this so-called friend told everyone that my son is a drug-addict when I specifically asked her not too; I trusted her. Now the whole office knows. She talks about her boss to; looking up his criminal record online to confirm his two DUI convictions and has also spread that information around the office. I told her about the things I’ve been going through because I thought she was my friend and I just needed someone to talk to and I really thought she was my friend. I always comforted her when she needed someone to talk to; most recently after having a miscarriage - having been there myself (5 times) I mostly listened and gave her a shoulder to lean on, never sharing a word of our conversations with anyone. I realize our situations are different, but in a way they are the same; we needed someone, a friend. The only difference is I didn’t gossip about it and she did which has now ruined my professional reputation because having realized that she gossiped about it I often got emotional while in the office. Next, my next door neighbor, (someone I really considered more than a neighbor, I considered her one of my BFs) is a stay at home mom. She's very strict with her children and very spoiled by their wealth. She always told me that she wanted to know if anything ever happened between our children or anything I knew about her children so she could deal with it. When they're outside playing she sits on the front porch and jumps in at every little mishap between them. I on the other hand feel there is a time to step in and a time to let children work things out on their own. As long as things don't get physical or verbally inappropriate I think that kids should be given the opportunity to handle everyday arguments over a toy, etc. by themselves. I believe this teaches them to stand up for themselves and to be able to resolve problems on their own. I must admit, it is difficult and heart-breaking to see my daughter be picked-on, but I also feel it gives her an opportunity to learn how to handle herself in such situations. Recently, she received a text from my next door neighbor's daughter (the mom who wants to know everything right away), the text was not only obnoxious by included the "f" note as well as telling my daughter she sucks. These girls are 8 and 9 years old. This text was a result of my daughter saying she didn't want to play because she was watching a movie with her dad. When my husband told me about the text which he and my mother both saw we decided it was definitely something that had to be addressed with her mom. However we didn't act on it for about a week and a half because they had left on vacation the next day and it wasn't something we wanted to email to them. Finally I had the opportunity to bring it up (unfortunately) through an email when I was responding to the mother on a different subject. I explained to my neighbor that we, my husband and I really wanted to talk to her about this in person because of the wording used in the text message. Long story short, although the mother responded by saying she wasn't mad, she hasn't spoken to us since, hasn't included us in the church car-pool that we've been involved in for years, and is gossiping about us, specifically about our oldest son's problems. I am heartbroken that she could treat us this way; I truly considered her one of my BFs! She won't look our way and she completely ignores us. I guess the thing that bothers me the most is the gossiping about us; maybe she is gossiping because she knows that this is a very sensitive subject with us and that this would hurt us the most? I don't know! I just know that we've been nothing but supportive when she lost her parents last year among many other things like mowing their lawn when they were away, etc, etc, etc. I guess what I'm trying to say is that your article is so true, in that people should always consider what's going on in a person's life before they start gossiping and defaming the characters of other people. I find it so sad that I confided in two people I thought were so warm-hearted only to be slapped in the face by both of them. I cry everyday wondering what our other neighbors and my other co-workers are saying about me/us. Why do I care? And why does it hurt so much to be betrayed by the people you trusted the most? I apologize for the long post, but please if you have taken the time to read this do one thing, always consider your words and actions before you judge someone because you never really know what's going on in their personal lives. And if someone is gossiping about other people in your presence and you can't stand up for the victims of the gossip, please let the gossip stop with you! Realize that everything you do or say has an impact on someone's life, good or bad. Be a good person, don't say anything if you don't have anything nice to say! My life has been turned upside down because I trusted two people I thought were my friends.

Tammy Thompson

The article came at a time in my life when I can truly speak to it. I'm a 50 year old woman who works with others in my career and also in my personal life. I've had an interesting life and have always put myself forward doing things that most people won't because of fear and insecurity. I've known what it is like to have someone live through my experiences vicariously and supported those with low motivation to seek, grow and experience their lives instead of being spectators. I think when we speak of famous people it creates a sense of ego in the conversation. The truth is, we just need to be authentic whatever that is. When we are authentic, happy being ourself and comfortable in our skin the sky is the limit. We don't have to all be pro football players or moviestars. There is a need for each and everyone of us. We are all designed with our own special gifts. Some don't know how to do anything but live in the negative. If we cross over into the negative with them, its not accomplishing anything. Some of us are better teachers or communicators. Therefore it is imparitive for those individuals to speak or write about how to create a connection between the positive and negative.

We do it by demonstration. When you spoke about bullies, that especially made an impact because of all the internet bullying that is happening and the deaths that followed. It is our job as parents to parent. However, not all parents know how to parent. It does take a community to raise our children so instead of just writing about it, why not take action in your community against bullying. Have a "BULLY AWARENESS DAY" at your school!

We have a place to grip.. which is good for us. It is the action that makes the change.

Peace and warmth friends,

Tammy

Mary C.

I really connected with this article. I have had so many negative, hurtful, untrue things said about me that I'm thinking about moving away (i live in a small resort town). I am so disillusioned about everything. There are too many to even get into specifics, but I really, really hope that if people take away nothing else after reading this article, they at least realize the numerous, real repercussions that their idle chatter has on the life of another human being, one who hasn't even done anything to them. My heart goes out to the people on here who have been victims of malicious gossip- I know what you're going through, and it's not fair, or right. Good luck to you.

Some times people are addicted to gossiping; because they have made it part of their daily routine. At what ever cost, it is a wisdom to avoid gossips from some ones life as time is so precious resource that we need to use to contribute to our society and to our selves. 

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