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Science Says Gossip Can Make You A Better Person

Science Says Gossip Can Make You A Better Person

Gossip: “The unsanctioned evaluative talk about people who aren’t present”, as defined by Timothy Hallett, associate professor in the Indiana University Sociology Department.

Gossip is pervasive in our society, and our penchant for gossip can be found in most of our everyday conversations. There are various notions prevalent in our society about gossiping, from childhood we are taught not to gossip, but all know its hard to resist.

Various opinions

Different people hold different opinions. Here’s how different people view gossiping differently.

“I wouldn’t advocate a no-gossip policy,” Professor Hallett said. “The point is, if you know how gossip works, you can manage and control it.”

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However, Pope Francis recently warned gossip ‘fills the heart with bitterness and also poisons us’.

But a new study suggests that gossiping may in fact be good because we use evaluative information about others (i.e., gossip) to improve, promote, and protect ourselves.

The Experiment

To understand the reason why people are so inclined to know about others’ failures, promotions, demotions, and achievements a study was conducted at the University of Groningen. The motive behind the study was to understand the effects of the gossip on the recipient.

A group of people including both men and women was asked to recall an earlier incident when they were told gossip about other individuals, then they posed certain questions regarding the way that gossip impacted them.

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The Results: Men vs Women

And voila! Our researchers studied the results and found that most of the gossip forced the individuals to compare themselves and thus helped in self improvement as well confidence building.

But, the results clearly stated that the impact is gender specific; both men and women do not interpret the gossip in the same manner.

“Women who receive negative gossip experiences higher self-protection concerns possibly because they believe they might experience a similar fate as the person being the target of the gossip. Men who receive positive gossip experience higher fear, perhaps because upward social comparisons with competitors are threatening,” says Elena Martinescu at the University of Groningen.

Basic Conclusion

She adds that gossip provides individuals with indirect social comparison information and provides an essential resource to reflect on their behavior.She suggested rather than trying to block out gossip, we should ‘accept gossip as a natural part of our lives and receive it with a critical attitude regarding the consequences it may have on ourselves and on others.’

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There is more to it!

In another scientific study it was found that women who get to chat for awhile on a daily basis stay happier and healthier.

Reason behind this idiosyncrasy is a hormone named progesterone which is famous worldwide as stress reducer and mood enhancer; it gets secreted in women when they gossip.

I guess this means gossiping makes me healthy as well.

So why are we asked not to gossip?

Not surprisingly,a lot of people do not accept the fact and some are still strictly against the concept.

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Beth Weissenberger, co-founder of the Handel Group, an executive coaching company, says the first thing she does when consulting is to ban gossip. “Gossip is a manipulation,” she said. “It’s a form of being a chicken.”

If gossip is meant for providing insight into a situation or getting to know the whereabouts of people, it’s good. But, if the choice is taken to invade someone’s privacy or to slander someone’s reputation, then it’s a vice and not a virtue. Understanding this little difference can take you miles.

So in layman terms, scientific evidence has shown that healthy gossiping makes you a better person. Isn’t that good news? Yes, it is to me too.

To read the detailed study on how gossip can be a virtue, click here.

Featured photo credit: Google via s3.amazonaws.com

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Last Updated on January 18, 2019

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

1. Limit the time you spend with them.

First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

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In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

2. Speak up for yourself.

Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

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But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

Why else would they be sharing this with you?

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5. Change the subject.

When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

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You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

7. Leave them behind.

Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

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