Everyone loves a good old gossip….
This week, my ‘running buddy’ and I went for our last run before he went into hospital for a nasty knee operation. During the run, our conversation turned to ‘therapy’. He joked to me that he thinks that ‘we all need a bit of therapy’. (I think he really meant me!). I replied that for me, going out running, having a good old chat and a gossip, is therapy in itself – because I do find it very de-stressing.
But it got me thinking… So when I opened the newspaper to see an article about research into ‘gossip’, I read it avidly. And it really struck a chord.
According to this research, the ‘scientists’ have concluded that by sharing our negative thoughts, we also offload stress. Imagine for example that we witness someone doing something we feel is immoral or wrong – by sharing this information with others, we offload the stress this knowledge places on us, and ‘society’ is made better, because of our uniting to disapprove of the behaviour.
The word ‘gossip’ has very negative connotations. We imagine whispering behind hands, gaggles of bitchy women, or schoolgirl nastiness. All very female centric. But in their own way, men are equally as guilty. They may present it differently – without all the female embellishments – but they gossip nonetheless.
Personally, I would hate to be thought of as a ‘gossip’. Generally, I shy away from groups of women that I regard as being ‘gossipy’, but maybe I’ve got it wrong.
As much as I loathe hearing women bitching about their husbands or other people’s marital woes, I wonder, had I been more open and discussed the issues I had with my own ex-husband’s behaviour, whether I would have felt less isolated. Would I have had a chance to see earlier on that the situation was destructive, and maybe even sought counseling? Could it have saved my marriage – or made me leave sooner? Who knows…
Having gone to an all girls school, witnessed the bitchiness and ‘whispering behind hands’ gossip, I have tried to avoid female only company for most of my adult life. But since I have been single, I have spent more time with female friends than I have in my entire adult life! And I have been pleasantly surprised by how much I have enjoyed it.
There will always be women who are ‘bitchy’ – just are there will always be men who are aggressive ‘shits’. But there are plenty of women and men who participate in a bit of gossip who are none of the above.
Whilst I do not want to divulge the details, someone recently ‘gossiped’ to me about a very attractive man I know – a man who had made me turn my head – and what HE (yes it was a man gossiping!) told me really shocked me.
Had I not known this information about him, I have no doubt that I would have pursued my interest. And I am sure I would have ended up deeply hurt by him.
Hearing people gossip about other’s behaviour has made me feel human. And when I say ‘human’, I mean accepting of my own weaknesses, in light of the fact that I now realise the degree to which we are all flawed.
Gratuitous spiteful gossip is never acceptable. But when it gives us useful information, it also empowers and protects us.
So, as long as it’s done for the right reasons… Be my guest. Gossip away…