On vacation, the only thing better than your aunt’s sweet potato pie is the piping hot family tea that comes with it. increase. I get all the gossip: whether my cousin graduated from college after becoming a mother, whether my uncle finally tied the knot with a “female friend” of 20 years, whether my aunt really Find out if she converted to Buddhism (she didn’t say she did, but speculation remains high among my relatives) and so on.
Chatting about your loved one is just as inevitable as last-minute gift-wrapping. If you think you’re over gossip, the data shows you’re not. Social Psychological According to a 2019 study published in the journals and Personality Science, the average person goesssip for about 52 minutes a day. But it’s not all smack talk. After listening to the conversations of 467 people over several days and capturing them on recording equipment, the researchers found that most of the gossip was neutral, rather than negative or positive. (FYI: participants knew they were being recorded, but the study lasted so long that people were compelled to show their true selves.)
The urge to discuss family drama has actually been found to be helpful, and it’s quite natural.
What lies behind our natural need to gossip?
The reason people gossip is simple. “It kind of connects us as humans to be concerned with what’s going on in the lives of people who are socially important to us.”
Contrary to popular belief, talking about someone who isn’t there isn’t inherently malicious. “People usually define gossip as something bad,” he says McAndrew. “But if you sit down with your family and start talking about your cousin who’s about to get promoted to a big job, well, it’s gossip.”
We often celebrate victories, like my cousin getting a full scholarship to a historically black college. This information is also useful for us. (Not only are historically black colleges and universities distinguished and known for having culturally rich campuses, but I also get to see my cousins playing soccer all over the country! )
Gaining insight into the people around us has been practiced since the early days of society, says McAndrew. “I needed to know what other people were going to do, people who had powerful friends and people who didn’t, who were scammers and who could count on their cooperation,” he said. increase. You’re unlikely to expose your family’s dirty laundry to casual acquaintances, notes McAndrew (after all, your clan’s reputation may reflect on you as well). We want to know that you are wasting your family’s money. Also, after learning that a relative has a hereditary heart condition, motivation to undergo a physical examination may arise.
Moreover, sharing information can be a vulnerable act, one way to build trust and bond with others. Gossiping is a social skill, and in human history, he says, McAndrew says that if you don’t have a social skill, you can be left behind.
So if you’re looking forward to the latest family drama, don’t be too hard on yourself. Gossip has a purpose. As long as you’re exchanging stories the right way (yes, there are rules!), cooking is fine.
The difference between good gossip and bad gossip
It’s important to know when you’re taking care of your business and keeping quiet, says McAndrew. Negative gossipers spread information to make others look bad and put them on a pedestal. Careless gossipers say things without thinking about the damage the conversation might cause. You want to be a good gossiper, someone who is careful with sensitive information so that your family members feel comfortable sharing it with you.
Before telling someone else’s story, do a quick gut check to make sure you’re not stupid. Are you trying to make yourself look better? Is it bad if the person you’re talking to finds out about your convo? Nedra Grover Tawab says. Setting Boundaries and Finding Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself.
If someone is gossiping with you and you’re not interested in it, it’s best to communicate directly, Tawwab says. You can also delete “I have nothing to say” or “That’s not my job”. Have the speaker finish his or her thoughts, then move on to the funny TV show you just saw or talk about parenting plants. Or get out of the conversation. Now let’s say your cousin is irritated because you don’t want to get involved. Remember to do what you think is right, he says Tawwab. If you’re worried about looking rude, don’t do it.
One final piece of advice: think twice about opening up to people who are constantly gossiping, adds Tawwab. If her sister-in-law is always fussing about other people, she’s likely to do the same with you, so be careful what secrets she shares with her. Are you ready to kick off this year’s festivities? Remember to pause before spouting your own feverish rumors and ask yourself if it’s good to share what you know. You can join in or change the subject (“Who wants to see pictures of my new puppy?!”).
As for me, I plan to scroll through Facebook for traces of my uncle’s secret wedding and hand over the goods to my family.