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Gossip

Idle talk or rumour, especially about the personal or private affairs of others.

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"Who gossips with you will gossip of you"--old Irish saying

  • Oct 15, 2009
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Rating:
-5
When we think about a topic such as "gossip" it just might be useful to take a look at what scripture has to say about it.  In Proverbs 18:21 we read that "Death and life are in the power of the tongue."   Meanwhile,  the book of James reminds us that "no one can tame the tongue;  it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison."  These two quotations make it abundantly clear that "gossip" has been an extremely destructive force since Biblical times.  And the power of "gossip" to injure good people and destroy lives has certainly not diminished over the centuries.  It is as much a problem today as it was when Christ roamed the earth some 2000 years ago. 

Why do we do it?  Why do human beings feel so compelled to make derogatory remarks about others?  Why do we find it necessary to talk about the faults of others behind their backs?   Psychologists tell us that most of us engage in "gossip" because it is a convenient way to prop up our own fledgling self-esteem.  Depending on the situation "gossip" is a great way to make us seem more important and appear more knowledgable than the person or persons that we are talking about.  Meanwhile, some of us resort to  "gossip" as a way to retaliate against someone whom we percieve has done us wrong.   A lot of people would argue that a lot of the  "gossip" we participate in is really quite harmless.  This may seem to be true but cumulatively our need to "gossip" tends to erode important relationships in our lives.   "Gossip" seperates friends and can deeply wound people.  And if we allow ourselves to engage in "gossip" for mundane matters then sooner or later we are probably going to slip up and hurt someone badly about something much more important. 

So how can we resist the urge to "gossip"?   It is not easy but here are some suggestions.  If you have something to say to someone then have the courage to confront them directly.   Secondly,  refuse to listen to it.  People tend to run their mouths because others will listen.  When you hear it do not react.  If nobody listens then a whole lot of "gossip" will disappear.   You might also consider reading more.  Why?  I once read somwhere that  "folks with great minds talk about ideas, folks with average minds talk about events, and folks with small minds talk about other people."  I believe there is an awful lot of truth in that observation.  Finally,  it might be helpful if we were all a bit more willing to acknowledge our own failures and foibles.   We need to lighten up and realize that as human beings we all have weaknesses. "Gossip" is one commodity that this world could use a whole lot less of!
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October 15, 2009
There's a lot of gossip in the corporate world. They are not necessary derogatory but I know what you mean by it. It's been known that I do not go to lunch with cliques of colleagues as I find it most common for colleagues to gossip when they are in cliques and since I've friends in every group, it's hard not to be drawn in. But, after I leave the company, then I go lunches with these people individually. People gossip a lot less when they are alone, that's what I observes. In any case, sometimes we are less aware of the damage we do by all the idle talks in the world. Humans, esp. women, loves rumors and gossips. That's why some magazines sell exceptionally well, esp. when gossips are what the publishers are selling!
 
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Paul Tognetti ()
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I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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Wiki

Gossip is idle talk or rumour, especially about the personal or private affairs of others. It forms one of the oldest and most common means of sharing (unproven) facts and views, but also has a reputation for the introduction of errors and other variations into the information transmitted. The term also carries implications that the news so transmitted (usually) has a personal or trivial nature, as opposed to normal conversation.

In the last decade, gossip has been researched in terms of its evolutionary psychology origins.[1] This has found gossip is an important means by which people can monitor cooperative reputations and so maintain widespread indirect reciprocity[2] Indirect reciprocity is defined here as "I help you and somebody else helps me". Gossip has also been identified by Robin Dunbar an evolutionary biologist as aiding social bonding in large groups.[3]

The term is sometimes used to specifically refer to the spreading of dirt and misinformation, as (for example) through excited discussion of scandals. Some newspapers carry "gossip columns" which detail the social and personal lives of celebrities or of élite members of certain communities.[

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