Gossip

Gossip! We may not like it; we may denounce it, we may like to avoid it, but we can’t live without it. Gossip keeps us aware of the world we are surrounded with. We can’t be present everywhere  but  we  want  to  know  what  is  happening around us. We want intermediaries to appraise us of our surroundings. Often we get dependable intermediaries, often not. A  gossiper  doesn’t  mind  to  trespasses  into  other’s private territories. A gossiper’s reputation in the group is essentially determined by the potential and factual access he has to information about others’ private lives. We invest time and effort on it. On an average, we spend 6 to 12 hours a day in conversation; gossip time varies between a fifth and two-thirds of the daily conversation time.
It is a myth that women gossip more. “The only time when men spend less time gossiping than women do is when women are present” seems to me a very sensible general observation. The ‘perception’ of gossip among women and men, however, are different. What is known among women as ‘kitty party chit-chat’, men call it ‘networking’, or ‘exchange of ideas.’
Nothing is enjoyed so thoroughly or treasured as preciously as gossip is. Gossip can be used for gathering or disseminating information. Entertainment or recreational value is another function of gossip. Gossip less likely takes place between casual acquaintances or strangers. This is because shared social meanings and history are essential to understanding the subtleties of gossips. Only an ‘insider’ gets the privilege of becoming a member of the gossip club.
Gossip allows us to integrate large number of social relationships. Gossip helps us to find out a great deal about how other individuals are likely to behave and how we should react to them.
“Gossip is a policeman and a teacher. Without it, there would be chaos and ignorance”  summarises Jonathan Haidt.

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