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Gossip Is a Social Skill, Not a Character Flaw

Fear Of Whispers Keeps Us In Check

The awareness that others are likely talking about us can keep us in line. Among a group of friends or coworkers, the threat of becoming the target of gossip can deter “free-riders” and cheaters.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Gossip Is a Social Skill, Not a Character Flaw

Gossip Is a Social Skill, Not a Character Flaw

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/out-the-ooze/201601/gossip-is-social-skill-not-character-flaw

psychologytoday.com

4

Key Ideas

We’re Hardwired To Gossip

Our prehistoric ancestors lived in small intimate groups. To survive they needed to cooperate with in-group members while also competing for mates and limited resources.

It was fundamental to know who was reliable, trustworthy, a cheater, a good mate and so on. To that end, an intense interest in the private dealings of others was beneficial and favored by natural selection.

Social Isolation

Sharing secrets is one way people bond, so avoiding gossip may lead to social isolation. Someone skillful at gossip can be socially informed and have a good rapport with others. On the other hand, someone who doesn’t gossip may become an outsider, neither trusted nor accepted by the group. 

Gossip also helps to integrate newcomers into groups by exposing group norms and values.

Fear Of Whispers Keeps Us In Check

The awareness that others are likely talking about us can keep us in line. Among a group of friends or coworkers, the threat of becoming the target of gossip can deter “free-riders” and cheaters.

Celebrity Gossip's Purpose

Our interest in celebrities may feed off of this thirst for learning life strategies.

Our fixation on celebrities is reflective of an innate interest in the lives of others and an artificial sense of familiarity which tricks us into thinking they are important to us. But they also serve as “common friends” that serves as a safe subject of gossip to facilitate interaction between people.

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Policing Behavior

Gossiping is a good way of identifying friends and foes. We are either judge, jury or executioner when we gossip — and we use the information we cull to keep immoral influences at arm's leng...

Keeping Us Safe

We ensure our well-being by exchanging information about the world around us (and the potential dangers it contains) with as many people as possible.

Building Social Bonds

Gossip is a key social skill that helps ensure our healthy integration into human society. 

Gossiping with somebody is a way of bringing people closer within your social group, checking that they share your views, and bonding over shared positions and judgements. The people you gossip most with, therefore, are the ones with whom you're the closest.

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The Bad Reputation

Generally, gossiping has a bad reputation. It is called the faceless demon that breaks hearts and ruins careers. It is also termed as the three-pronged tongue that kills the teller, listener, and t...

Facts About Gossip

Gossip is malicious only 3 to 4 percent of times and seems to bring people together, as when two people talk about a third one, having a common 'adversary' creates a bond between them.

The Good Side of Gossiping

Gossip can make us better people, according to some researchers.

  • Positive gossip inspires people while negative gossip makes people proud of themselves.
  • People learn about themselves through the grapevine.
  • Many people decide to reform themselves because of the gossip they have heard.

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The Negatives Of Gossiping

If you gossip negative things, like insulting someone or talking down their achievements, it may put both you and the person you are talking to at risk of losing the group’s trust and eac...

It's Not All Bad

Spontaneous trait transference works with positive talk. If you're discussing someone and you describe them as kind and generous, people are more likely to see you that way too.

Small talk and gossip help us build and analyze the relationships we have with other people, as well as work out each other's social standings and traits.

We’re Wired To Gossip

People's names trigger the brain in a unique way so you can recall information about them. Gossip works as training for the information gathering capacities of the brain.

Research also found that people were much better at processing information about people they had just met if they had large social groups. By talking with and about people more often, they were using those parts of their brains regularly.