Why do We Gossip?


Gossipy Gerties… They’re everywhere, in every demographic, age group, country, class and creed. So why do we gossip?

Why do people talk about people? We all do it. Even those who are the sweetest, smartest and strongest in character and conviction have a vent about someone or something now and again. There does seem to be a fairly strong and interesting correlation between clever and content people NOT engaging in gossip or smack talk, and rather building others up even in their absence. We all ought to engage more in the building and less in the tearing down.

Excellent observation!

Excellent observation!

So where was I going with this?

Oh yes.

It is no secret that I can be pretty judgmental, in positive and negative lights. I form very strong ideas, feelings, and opinions about people and things. I do not suffer fools and if I feel wronged by someone or disagree with their actions they’ll almost certainly know about it. Perhaps that’s why I am not often surprised when it gets back to me that people have been saying vile or mean things behind my back.


What goes around comes around I guess. And frankly, the chances are, I probably earned some of the smack talk. Then, again, I’ve been handed back some pretty malicious and cruel words and thoughts from the mouths and hearts of people who I thought were friends, or at least on my side as I was on theirs. Those instances hurt. But the sting is softened by the army of advocates who speak kindly of me as I do of them. Kind and true words make everyone feel better and stronger. Being a jerk about someone behind their backs is just going to make the person dishing out the negativity look bad in the long run.

The truth also comes out in the wash. People will believe the lies and embellishments of fools or meanies for a time, but the truth and a person’s character will shine through.

True douchebags can be well admired and supported for a time as well, but again, the general talk about them will change when the truth about their dark dealings, dubious decisions or distinct douchebaggery finally comes to light.

Mean spirited or nasty people may be admired and spoken well of for a time, but the way they treat others and the way they act  will be noticed and one day their reign of BS will end. No need to speak ill of them, they will seal their own fate.

Mean spirited or nasty people may be admired and spoken well of for a time, but the way they treat others and the way they act will be noticed and one day their reign of BS will end. No need to speak ill of them, they will seal their own fate.

So why do people talk about others? Why do haters hate and spend precious time and energy dragging other people’s reputations through the mud by saying mean or hurtful things behind their backs?

Well, in my 30 odd years of passive research on this matter, I’d say it could be owing to a number of things. Here’s some of them:

  • Jealousy
  • Insecurity
  • Boredom
  • They are just mean
  • You did something gossip worthy, out of character or dumb, and people talk about it because it makes them feel better
  • They just do not like you.

I’m aiming to keep my thoughts a bit more brief and succinct, so I shan’t unpack each of these points too much.

Perhaps the vast majority of gossip is just entertainment. But none of us find it very entertaining when we are the subject of other people’s chatter. So think about that before or as you engage in mean or hurtful gossip. Also think about what the person dishing dirt to you may be saying while you are absent.

So I shall endeavor in earnest to speak kindly of others and not engage in mindless or inane gossip about people I do or do not know. I’ll try and get back to you on how it goes. I am guessing it should pan out rather positively, for me and the people I am either not talking about, or speaking fondly of.

Have a great rest of the week.

Thanks for reading!

2 thoughts on “Why do We Gossip?

  1. I just read this tonight and it really made me think. I try to find the good in all but sometimes you just can’t. But it really does no good to say bad things because in the end someone always gets hurt and in my mind it usually is me. As you said “there is really no need to speak ill of someone who may have been nasty because in the end they will seal their own fate”.
    I also tend to speak my mind (could we be related) especially if I feel an injustice is happening or maybe it is just what someone says or does that just does not sit well with me. I likely will say something and sometimes it comes back to haunt me or sometimes my opinion is taken gratefully and thankfully.
    You also have a great week Dee and thank you for bringing to light a lot of things that so many people do not want to admit that they too could raise their hand and say “yes I do that also and maybe it is time to just not”.
    Love ya.

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