For the record- I think gossip is mostly bad.  I try not to engage in it unless it’s about you.  Kidding.  But no, I’m not eavesdropping on conversations so that I can dish about it later.  If I see a friend’s kid doing something that I know his parents won’t like, I don’t rush to tell everyone else.  I try (the optimum word being try) to be as nice to, and about, people as possible.

But…..

Can gossip be good?

Example 1- About 8 years ago I was at girls night.  I had read an article that day about the number of married women who had affairs with their personal trainers.  I went on and on quoting stats, asking what people thought.  I asked if an affair with a personal trainer was just sex, or was it a relationship, or was the woman just seeking comfort, etc.  One woman was kicking me under the table- but I’m slow to take a hint.  After the night, the soccer playing friend texted me- “S is having an affair with her personal trainer.”

Yes, I felt like a moron.  (and yes, I have felt like a moron too many times to count) And the women having the affair was mortified.

And I know that telling someone about another persons extramarital affair would indeed be really big gossip.  But….if a group of women are out, and wine is involved, and these nights usually revolve around complaining about husbands and kids, and I usually pontificate about things….maybe a head’s up would have been nice.   Or maybe I have to be more aware of someone kicking me under the table.  Your call- who’s wrong me, or the woman who was being a really good friend by not telling a secret?

Example 2- Last year I was at a holiday celebration with my Husband’s family.  I innocently said to his Cousin B, “Where’s  K tonight?” (her husband).  Her reply- “Oh.  We separated about 3 months ago.  I thought everyone knew.”

Apparently, not everyone knew.

I went to my Sister in Law- “Did you know that B and K are separated?”  “NO WAY” she replied.  We found my Husband- asked him the same question, and he didn’t know either. Of course, he hadn’t even realized that K was not at the party, and if pressed, I don’t know if he remembered that B was even married…so…..

Then we cornered my Father in Law.

“Did you know B and K were separated?”

“Yes” he responded

“Why didn’t you tell us?”

“I didn’t want to gossip.” he said.

FYI- My Father in law does a lot of borderline ethical/moral things, so it’s funny to see him draw the line at gossip.

But is that even gossip?  Should news like a separation or divorce just be shared grapevine style amongst the relatives?  Did his cousin need to inform everyone individually?

I know that the majority of gossip is bad.  I know that people can really be hurt by malicious spreading of information.  I try to avoid gossip like the plague, both in telling and receiving.

But is there a place for gossip?   Or, should I just get over feeling awkward in a situation when I just didn’t know the situation?

What do you think?

 

63 thoughts on “I’ve Got Some Good Gossip….

  1. When I was younger, “gossiping” with my friends was a way for me to figure out how I felt about the world — but gossiping where it does harm is wrong. I think we need different words for the nuance of our conversations. Gossiping seems gratuitous. Sharing important information — like a recent divorce, lest you embarrass yourself asking why someone isn’t at a party, is not. At a certain age, I began to know gossip when I felt it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think you’re right- there are subtle distinctions. I think sharing info is a great way to put it because you’re stating a fact, and it’s probably helpful for others to hear it. I think certain people still have a stigma about divorce….I notice when people say the word, some people’s voice goes to barely a whisper

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s a hard one, one persons gossip is another persons news. I don’t think either of the above are gossip, you were just passing on information about the amount of women who have affairs, not talking about anyone in particular. The second one made me laugh, for years I sent a Christmas card to one of my husband relatives and her husband, it was many years later when someone asked me to stop because it upset her, they had been divorced for about 15 years, no one had bothered to tell us.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I definitely think gossip and the sharing of information is a good thing. It’s bad if someone does it strictly to make another person feel bad. Like we tell our kids, tattling is bad if you do it to make someone else feel bad, but it is ok for other reasons like safety.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t tell you to “just get over feeling awkward”, because awkward is my middle name. I feel awkward most of the time, even when the situation isn’t awkward at all.

    Gossip is one of those things I try to avoid, because early in my 12 step recovery isn’t had to focus on my recovery and had no energy for all the news of who’s cheating who. It had nothing to do with recovery, and my life depended on finding recovery. 12 years later, I probably have the energy for it but have no interest.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I seem to always put my foot in my mouth. I avoid nasty petty bullshit, but sometimes I think you need to say something. I think sometimes, people,like my husbands cousin, just assume I formation has been doled out. I see that ,out often with break ups….people just assume that you’ve heard about a relationship ending. I think the gossip is if you share the gory details

      Like

  5. To me, gossip is more of a malicious act, like sharing things said in confidence or putting a negative spin on someone’s life so the gossiper can feel better about themselves. Among a family, though, it can be hard to draw the line between gossip and general news, but telling non-immediate family that someone has separated or divorced really does prevent problems down the road.

    I guess, to me, gossip is like a tabloid: “Vengeful Queen Disinherits Prince Charles in favor of William and Kate” is gossip, whereas “William and Kate Expecting Third Child” would be useful family news. It’s all about presentation and intent, I suppose.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m jealous of people who are able to withhold gossip. I’m pretty confident that is the right thing to do, I just don’t have the discipline. I find it so interesting. I’m not proud of it. And I do consciously try to stay above it, but I’m not very successful.
    I definitely don’t think the friend who was being good by not telling a secret was wrong. I’m not sure you were wrong by bringing up a subject to discuss, though. If you had brought it up knowing your friend sitting there was living it, then you’d be wrong.
    Is telling someone that two people are no longer together anymore gossip or news? I would characterize it as news. Going further and gossiping about why they aren’t together or bad-mouthing one or the other of the former couple, that sounds like gossip.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Did you ever notice that people are quick to gossip about others’ failings, but neglect to share their triumphs? I am always cautious around gossips because I realize if they’re talking about others, I’m their next target. Sometimes I can even tell who’s gossiping about me. That said, I don’t think sharing the news of someone’s separation is gossip if it doesn’t include tawdry details. I call that information.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Your blog lead to me looking up on the exact meaning of the word gossip: ” casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details which are not confirmed as true.”
    So passing on information which is confirmed true and if it is something that the other person can know, shouldn’t be termed as gossip.
    The friend kicking under the table was funny. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. As I’ve gotten older I’ve taken more pleasure in not knowing what other people are doing than in knowing. As a result, I’m never embarrassed by awkward situations because my expectations of what I know are pretty low. Also, I’m good at telling myself: “oh well, whatever” when I make a social faux pas.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I’ve always thought of gossip as being “without good intentions.” (Not necessarily with malicious intentions, just not the best of intentions.) I don’t think it’s gossip to let you know that your cousin is divorced/separated. This can help avoid awkwardness on both your part AND your cousin’s part. But if someone told you the news wanting to talk smack about your cousin and/or his former partner… I feel like that would be gossip. It’s not helpful to anyone. I dont know if that makes sense lol. I have definitely been in similar situations where I say something without realizing that I’m accidentally creating a SUPER unpleasant/awkward sitaution for someone. For example i was joking with a new acquaintance about my husband and I being married so long and not had kids yet that people probably assume we are infertile… (why did i say this? i’ll never know). later I found out that she and her husband had been in infertility treatment for YEARS. they ended up adopting 2 beautiful babies a couple years after that. thankfully she didnt hold it against me and we are still friends, but boy did I feel awful for my insensitivity. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally get you point about good intentions vs bad….that makes total sense! And your story! I can totally relate! You don’t think you’re saying anything bad, but them wham….you find out sonething. Maybe we should just hand out resumes when we first meet someone

      Like

  11. Had to LOL … I don’t get hints at.all … and have been in those described circumstances more times than I can count lol …
    But I call the divorce / separation stuff, ‘information sharing’ … my girls usually get Me up to speed prior to a family ‘event’ so I don’t balls is up completely 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Lol … Same 🙂 And when I do get told something I always forget whether it’s supposed to be ‘a secret’ or not, so if someone asks, it comes right on out lol … My lack of ‘gossip’ connoisseur-ism and lack of filter has made for some rather interesting family events 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  12. In the first case you are exonerated! You had no idea about the friend’s affair and were just commenting. In the second case, surely you should have been informed of the separation! Your lack of information could’ve caused embarrassment for all involved.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This is a good question. I’ve tried to follow this rule: Never say anything behind someone’s back that you wouldn’t say in front of their face; this includes gossiping. I think this might also separate gossiping from common knowledge, maybe.

    Liked by 4 people

  14. I try not to gossip. The optimum word being TRY. I hear things all the time because people forget I’m around. Or that I usually have all my windows and doors open and I can hear what they’re saying. Sometimes it’s the knowing but not saying that is exhilarating. But there have been times that I’ve said something to someone I think they should know. “I saw your other half making out with someone, not you.” or I’ve told my manager of my clean and sober complex that I saw suspicious activity near this or that apartment. And yes, there have been times when I hear things about me. And it hurts. But it IS nice to tell the gossipers that I know what they have been saying. And if they gossip WITH you, they generally will gossip ABOUT you too.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. In my opinion, gossip isn’t just talking about mutual acquaintances…that’s just normal human interest in what our friends, neighbors and relatives are up to. But when the intent of spreading the information is malicious, or derogatory, then it is gossip, and we need to avoid that as much as possible.

    For example, telling someone that a person was recently divorced isn’t gossip. Telling someone that a person was recently divorced and then speculating that there must have been some sort of money troubles, infidelity, etc. as the reason for the divorce is gossip.
    Just my opinion!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I personally think gossip depends on the person. I know people who would only love to tell everyone about another’s misfortune, I tend not to get involved with this type of gossip. You know the kind where are a person says how bad they feel with a smirk on their face. Then there is the other kind, where a friend may tell you something because they know you are not going to blabbing to others. I think commenting on a separation is more of an observation, (unless you are the smirky kind). Gossip to me is telling others about an affair for example. The person you are telling might not know, best keep that to yourself. At the end of the day you can tell the difference between the ones being malicious and ones just stating a fact.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. As a general rule, if it’s not my story to tell I try not to tell it. In your situation both cases it wasn’t gossip , it was just a matter of you simply not knowing. Don’t feel awkward about that.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I agree it’s the context of the conversation, and whether you have facts or you are repeating news you can’t be sure is fact. I tried to install this in my girls, so I try to be extra careful in repeating news.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s