Gossip - the worldwide phenomenon.

Gossip is defined as idle talk or rumor, especially about personal or private affairs of others.
its one of the most common social behaviours seen worldwide.

Be it a party, a meeting, a social gathering... a small group of men or women will be seen laughing loud, "gossiping" about someone.

As a psychiatrist for me, Gossip is one of the most wonderful human psychological behaviour patterns to observe.
I will try to share some of my observations with you -

Why do people Gossip?
there is no one reason why people gossip. Gossip is a reaction to multiple psychological issues troubling a person at a time. The few major reason for gossip are -

1. Moral Policing.
We all have different moral values. We can try and put forth our values onto someone, but in most cases we keep quiet.

The irritation of someone going against our moral code stays deep inside us, and comes out as a gossip.

2. The lack of courage -
Tony was always treated badly by his boss at work. He couldn't do anything to reply back.
Slowly he became frustrated, angry and eager for revenge.
Since Tony lacked the courage to confront his boss face to face.. he started gossiping about him.
He created rumors about his private life and spread them.
Because he couldn’t take revenge directly and so he was trying to take it indirectly.

3. Feeling of Worthlessness
We live in a society were everything is marked and judged by the amount of money or power you have.
Only one of a million are able to become rich.. and only one in a million are powerful.
Yet thousands who feel worthless, use gossip/rumors to "falsely increase" their worthiness.
"Did you see that guy driving a BMW, I bet he earned it all through illegal activities"
...is just another way of saying "I am nothing less than him"

When people feel less worthy than others or when they feel inferior they start gossiping about others in order to feel good about themselves.

4. Jealousy and hatred.
Sometimes main reason for gossiping is jealousy.
When you are jealous of someone and want people to also be jealous or hate that individual you tend to gossip.

Is gossip good or bad?
Gossip can be good or bad at the same time...

One has to first understand were is the gossip coming from. What is the basic emotion behind it.
Gossip is bad when it induces subconscious negativity. This is when gossip -
a. is done to harm someone else.
b. is meant to spread negativity - through false images about other person.
c. is meant to cover ones own jealousy or lack of courage.
d. is used to create a bond between 2 people by spreading negativity about a third person.

I have observed in my clinical practice that chronic and addictive gossipers, have extreme amount of mental restlessness. They are insecure and have very high frustration levels. They are in constant state of denial, and will never look to seek counseling/treatment for the same. Preferring to live in the negative mind set.

Gossip is good when it increases honesty and love. This is when gossip -
a. is plain simple, honest exchange of experiences/knowledge about others with no lying or false fabrication of stories.
b. its used as a way to lower stress by honestly accepting one's own short comings.
c. its used as a way to motivate others by teaching the positives truths of others life.
d. its used as a way to counsel others by helping them become more courageous, more straight forward and more honest in life.

don't feel guilty if you indulge in positive gossip...
but do control yourself if you indulge in negative gossip.

Ask Questions to -

Dr.Hemant Mittal (MBBS, DPM, MD(mindmantra))
(Psychiatrist, Motivational Writer and Counselor)
email – eksoch@gmail.com
website – www.mindmantra.in

clinic address- 15, shreeji plaza, next to ice n spice restaurant, opposite seawoods station, seawoods (east)
Navi Mumbai

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