Can You Believe These 5 Benefits To Gossiping?

If you love getting together with your friends and catching up with some chit-chat, you're probably also engaging in a really good gossip session. You might talk about that one girl you all know or what your ex is up to now. By definition, gossip means "a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others" or "chatty talk," per Merriam-Webster.

Gossip and the act of gossiping usually carry a negative connotation with it. Psychology Today says that gossip gears towards the negative aspects of a person's behaviors, appearance, or achievements, but another mild form of gossip can include discussing general information about others. But did you know that gossiping can actually be good for you? This is, of course, with boundaries set in place. Gossip isn't always necessarily a bad thing, depending on your intentions when engaging in it. Many professionals say it's a part of human nature to gossip. It can actually bring you many benefits as you sit and bond with the people you're gossiping with.

Social skills and bonding

Because gossiping usually involves engaging in conversation with others, it helps you build better relationships and stronger bonds with them. Additionally, it helps build up your social skills. A study published in Current Biology further showed that gossip helps build relationships, facilitates learning, and encourages cooperative group behavior. The study looked beyond gossip being known as "trash talk," describing it as "a rich, multifaceted construct that plays a critical role in vicarious learning and social bonding." In this case, gossiping can play a role in regular human behavior, often involving deeper conversations and connections.

Helps with anxiety

Gossiping can sometimes be compared to venting. It's a conversation where you may feel the need to release information that you are holding in about yourself or others. Letting these thoughts, feelings, and emotions build up can cause or increase anxiety or stress. When you are gossiping, it helps let it out and relieve any tension you may be holding in. "It makes you feel positive and calmer than ever before," psychiatrist Dr. Rahul Khemani tells Health Shots. It can often feel therapeutic to do so.

It builds empathy

Gossip isn't always a bad thing. In a blog post, author, social science researcher, and workplace consultant Karla McLaren M.E.d. says that gossip can build empathy by helping you connect to others, understand human connections, identify your social position, and help set social rules. McLaren describes gossip as a "powerful thing." When people are gossiping, whether about themselves or others, they can learn from the experiences they're discussing. McLaren says you can use gossip in an ethical way when you are not doing it to harm others. She adds that you can use it as a tool to make some change in your life.

Problem-solving advice

When gossiping, you may be discussing some problems you may be having or dealing with. This could be struggles you're having internally, with others, or a situation you may be involved in. Sharing this information, or gossiping about it, with someone else can help bring you new perspectives or advice from their point of view. You and the person you're sharing this chat with can learn to work cooperatively to talk through the situation, often leading to some helpful problem-solving and solutions (via Health Shots).

When it's bad to gossip

There is no denying that gossip can be negative. Gossip stops being beneficial when someone's intention is to hurt, harm, or constantly judge others. It can sometimes be a form of bullying. "Gossip has a very bad reputation in the general public, whereas in social science, gossip has exceedingly good press right now as a behavior guided towards sociality," gossip researcher Konrad Rudnicki tells the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "One does have to be mindful of the infinite potential of humans to bully each other and to gossip about things that will not be beneficial." Additionally, negative gossip can lead you to exclude others. When you begin scrutinizing others, you'll begin doing it to yourself as well.