We’ve all gossiped, whether it is about a celebrity or that new temp in the office, but doing so can leave us wondering whether we’re good people.
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Gossiping has long since been held as something only immature or impolite people do, so it’s only natural to cringe and enjoy it a bit at the same time. Luckily, gossip may actually be good for you, as long as you remember some basic guidelines.
Here are three reasons why gossip can be a great thing, as long as you don’t forget to put the brakes on occasionally!
1. Boosts Self-Esteem And Self-Evaluation
When you’re engaging in gossip, you’re comparing yourself to someone else, if only on a subconscious level. This can boost your self-esteem and encourage you to take a closer look at yourself in the process.
Keep in mind that gossip can negatively affect you as well. Researchers at the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Groningen found that women who received negative gossip were more concerned about self-protection, possibly because they didn’t want to meet the same fate as the gossip subject.
Men, on the other hand, felt more fear if they heard positive gossip, which researchers surmised was a result of feeling threatened by competition.
Be aware of the affect gossip has on you. You don’t want the negatives to outweigh the positives, so steer clear of the type of gossip you know has a downing effect on you mentally if you can. Don’t linger on gossip you know is upsetting you or causing you to react defensively in any way.
You also need to learn to accept that some gossip is going to come your way whether you enjoy it or not. Gossiping is a natural part of life, so you don’t have to give yourself a guilt trip over taking it on as long as you’re critical of yourself while doing so and you stay mindful of the effect the gossip may have on other people.
Evaluate the gossip you do take in with an eye on what it can do for you. If you hear about someone having a failed relationship, for example, take some time to look at where your current relationship is at.
If a co-worker has got a great promotion, consider what they have done at your company so you can get yourself on that same track for success. Learn from the mistakes of others to help you avoid making some of the same ones!
2. Kickstarts Self-Improvement
Positive gossip can help you self-improve. If you hear that an old classmate just got a big promotion, for instance, that may motivate you to work harder at your current job.
Hearing about a former co-worker starting a successful business may be just the bump you need to finally realize your dream of being your own boss. Use the motivational push you get from positive gossip to propel yourself forward and focus your energy in a positive way.
Don’t let yourself fall into the pity trap over positive gossip! It can be easy to feel disheartened or even depressed over news that someone else is doing well if you’re not where you want to be in life. Remind yourself that there is still time to achieve your goals, and work toward making those dreams a reality instead of wasting time feeling discouraged.
3. Increases Alertness
One interesting thing the University of Groningen study showed was that both positive and negative gossip increased the receiver’s sense of alertness. Researchers had surmised that positive gossip receivers would be more alert because they can learn something from the information, but those getting negative gossip were also more alert to what was going on around them.
Use your increased alertness to take better note of your life and surroundings, so you can work on your life in a positive and focused manner.
When it comes to gossip, for all its benefits, there are pitfalls. Always consider the gossip source and what it could mean for the gossip subject if the information was widely spread. Step back from gossip that can be truly harmful to the subject, like gossip that threatens jobs or could result in someone’s total humiliation.
Even if the subject is a stranger to you, put yourself in their shoes before you decide to spread the gossip any further or get more information. If you feel that same type of gossip about you would have a significant negative impact on your life if it were spread, it’s probably best to avoid it as much as you can.