Eline Cordie (33) has been a go-go dancer, cotton candy saleswoman and failed fashion model for the past fifteen years. Now she writes for Glamor about everything that concerns her.
Recently I was having lunch with a friend when suddenly a juicy gossip came to mind about a mutual acquaintance. It took all my willpower to shut up and start talking about something else. I had recently decided to stop gossiping, or at least reduce it considerably. So far I am not doing so well. I regularly catch myself shooting into active gossip mode at the slightest silence in a conversation.
I am not proud of it, but it turns out to be quite difficult for me not to gossip. I still have the decency to keep the deepest soul secrets of my friends in front of me, but the rest – from relationship troubles to office gossip – go down the drain.
I also feast on sites such as People.com and N u.nl/achterklap . And after carefree consuming someone else’s private life, I almost always feel guilty. What do I care if Justin Bieber is married and with whom? I don’t know that guy and I don’t care. Then why am I reading it and why is it so hard to quit?
Why do we gossip?
Hardly anyone wants to admit that they like to gossip and yet we all do it. According to this study , the tendency to gossip is ingrained in our brains: in prehistoric times, we lived in small groups in which we were mainly interdependent. Exchanging information was essential: we needed to know who did it to whom, who to trust and who not to increase our own survival. A small call round among my friends shows that they also gossip (probably also about me). “I don’t really know if I gossip a lot, because it is often on the verge of discussing what ‘everyone is doing now’ and gossiping”, says girlfriend A. “Yet I have thought about a wine-filled dinner by bike: this conversation was not necessary. ”
I also wonder what exactly the definition of gossip is. Sometimes you exchange neutral information about a person who is not there at the moment, but I wouldn’t necessarily call that gossip. It only becomes problematic if you deliberately bring someone down, disclose a secret told in strict confidence, or spread a rumor about someone that is not true at all.
Gossip men too?
Gossip is often dismissed as a women’s hobby. But I know from experience that men are just as bad, if not more gossiping, than women. My friend has a WhatsApp group with friends in which all the creamy facts and rumors in Amsterdam are discussed in detail. A tea wreath is nothing. And I don’t feel that they feel very guilty about it now. They see it as an innocent pastime, and perhaps it is.
In addition, it is also useful: by gossiping – for example about a knowledge that cheats – we test whether our interlocutor shares the same standards and values as we do . And sometimes you just have to say your egg to a third person about an annoying trait of a friend, but that is not immediately called ‘speaking bad’.
The only thing you might notice about gossip is that you make entertainment out of another’s problems. But how long can you talk about the beautiful new shoes from Pietje or the nice holiday from Marietje? That is a lot less interesting than the fact that Pietje secretly had a hair transplant done.
So drastically I might not have to stop gossiping. But I still wouldn’t recommend telling me your secret just to be sure.