It is human nature to gossip. Every day, people are introduced to news about celebrities, movie stars, and colleagues. While some of this information might be important, most of what people hear from others is baseless information that is meant to create a certain perception about the one being talked about. In most instances, gossip is not meant to be harmful. However, gossip has negative effects, especially in instances where it is being used to taint the image and reputation of someone else. There are several causes and negative impacts of gossip.
People gossip to feel superior. As stated by Izuogu (2009), gossip is any form of derogator and unconstrained conversation about others. Most individuals that talk about other do not feel good about themselves and they choose to talk about others as a way of making others appear worse than them. This can be done through spreading sensitive information or making harmful judgments about others. Gossipers rarely think about the feelings of those they talk about, which makes it easier for them to talk ill about those they consider friends (Baron, & Richardson, 2011). The only way through which such individuals can feel good about themselves is if they paint others in a negative light.
Gossip also stems out of boredom. When people are in a social gathering, they tend to look for interesting topics to talk about. However, there are instances when it becomes impossible for such individuals to generate captivating conversation topics that are based on shared knowledge and ideas. This often gives rise to gossip as it is considered as one of the best ways through of rousing their interest (Cole & Scrivener, 2013). While some of this gossip may be founded on topics that affect them all, most folks choose to use this platform to talk ill of those they do not like. This might include a public figure, a grumpy waitress, or a former friend. Once they have come up with an interesting subject to gossip about, this group of people makes fun and derogatory remarks about others without caring about them.
Certain individuals gossip for attention and to feel as part the group. Divulging a certain piece of information about others often makes one the center of attraction for a period of time (Cole & Scrivener, 2013). This is despite the fact that giving out this type of information only allows one to gain the attention of others for a short span of time before they turn their attention to other news. Furthermore, divulging information about others allows the gossipers to feel as if they belong to a certain group. However, it is very unfortunate that most social groups tend to avoid individuals that are very quick to divulge private information about other, as they are also likely to divulge their information with others. Attempting to chitchat about others could therefore lead to one losing out on making friends and associates.
One of the negative effects of unfounded chatter is social isolation. This does not necessarily imply that the gossiper will be physically isolated, but it would be more difficult for such a person to make any meaningful friends. While people may continue talking and associating with such a person, their reputation as a gossiper will result in most people fearing to associate with them (Izuogu, 2009). Gossip does reflect negatively on an individual, and can result in one being resented by others.
Constantly gossiping about others makes it difficult for one to be trusted. Talking about others relentlessly is a precursor of being untrustworthy. This means that even though people might choose to talk to the gossiper, they will always hesitate to tell about anything serious. This fear is founded on the notion that if one finds it easy to talk about their enemies, then they would still find it easy to talk about those they consider friends (Izuogu, 2009). Lack of trust would lead to friends, classmates, colleagues, and even family members choosing not to tell one anything that they fear would be used as gossip.