Friday 11 June 2010

Gossip . . .

Only after meeting Dr. Graham McFarlane in Queen's University, Belfast, I realised that no matter how much we raise our brows when we hear the word 'gossip,' we all do it eventually. Dr. McFarlane's doctoral research was on gossip. What a nice topic to research upon!!

Everyone irrespective of age and class, gossip. Perhaps the only exceptions are children who are quite innocent to do so. Gossip is not harmful or negative; talking about a person in their absence is gossip. We do it all the time. Earlier I always associated gossip-mongers with people who have lots of time on themselves and so idle talk their time away but NO. A stray remark about someone's hairdo or harmless talk about the food-habits of X is also gossip. 

I remember as kids, we would be fascinated when my aunts and uncles would gather together after dinner and start talking about our relatives and friends. For them it was just an exchange of information (of course with their two bits to it) but technically they were gossiping.

I think the majority of the human race would be quite incomplete without their daily dosage of gossip. One must remember that gossip requires a dash of creativity and thus is prone to a bit of exaggeration. Gossip also should be distinguished from rumours and  back-biting, both which have negative connotations. 

Research reveals that gossip is healthy as it fulfills the need for talking out what is within us; Many conversations comprise of 15% gossip. But what makes talking about others interesting? I have not conducted any research but from my own experience, I can say that there is a certain amount of thrill involved while doing so. If one is talking about someone in the next room, then the whole talk is peppered with side glances to be alert if the person is approaching. And believe me, this involves a lot of multi-tasking: Soft tones, not referring to the person by name, being alert and so on.

Many social anthropologists have conducted many researches on this topic and they are quite interesting to read. One worthwhile observation is many people when charged with gossip bluntly deny the fact claiming that they are quite busy to be gossiping but incidentally the truth is something else. Every individual gossips. 

So did you hear . . .

Photo courtesy: Internet


  1. Haaaa....Gossip, is such an intereting subject of discussion:)

    creativity... of course, some extra drama to the real episode ;)

    And fulfills the urge to talk... haaa haa:)

    U have something to read:

    Love and more love Sus

    ps: I love neruda...:)

  2. to add:
    That template looks so fresh and welcoming.. those birds and the colour :)

    in love with it :)

  3. Great post Susan!
    Love the topic, love the photo.
    jeanne :)

  4. Interesting post Susan! you know I really admire your ability to come up with such simple topics which otherwise have such a profound affect on our lives!
    made up for a good read.. :)
    hope you have a nice evening
    love and warm regards

  5. Good one Susie n so very true! i also remember the post- dinner "gossip session" that my uncles n aunties attended, especially when everyone comes down for a wedding in the family. oh, by the way, we(Tony n I) love the new look of ur blog!
    much love,
    Tony n Ann

  6. Oh, great post! And so true about everything.;) I agree with you, even my own family gossips.;) I recall too as a teenager that the highlight of my days was the dinners when we talked about our day and gossiped.;) Likewise, everyday when I got home from school, me and my sister would talk and gossip for hours.;) I so miss talking to her today the way we used to...
    I am still very much guilty of gossiping.;) And I wonder how many out there do gossip about me, hehe.;)

  7. Oh, totally forgot to comment on that great new look here.;) I like it.,)
    Have a lovely Friday,

  8. we are all inherent gossip mongers - no doubts on that :p

  9. Totally agreeing Susan. Every individual gossips. No doubt there !!! :)

  10. Fascinating post...and very true, I confess to being prone to the occasional gossip, I think everyone is in in truth. It is only natural, I believe, to study other people and fellow human beings.

  11. No matter how we want to dress it up, it does boil down to some form of gossip.. else we might have have nothing to initiate 'conversation' with ... (lol).

    True true..


  12. Ash:

    You are so kind and warm with words and I love you for that. Gossip yum yum!!!


    The photo is great. I don't know how many actually understood it. I appreciate your eye for detail :)

  13. Ruchi:

    Thanks again. I think I have to keep thanking you. Now it is slowly becoming a cliche. Have a great weekend.


    Even we use to gossip so much and we do so even now (wink). Thanks for the visit, I appreciate it. My love to Tony as well.

  14. Zuzana:

    Ah! It's so juicy and irresistible. There are so many types: academic, family, celebrity, friends and so on. I am sure you will agree on the types as well :)


    You just said it. Cheerio!

  15. Sukanya:

    It is so communitarian and creates a bonding. We only gossip with those who are close to us so it is very personal as well.


    You don't have to confess. Everyone does it so nothing new to confess. I guess even angels gossip :)


    Oh yes. Initiate or whether it is the only conversation -- We all do it.

    Joy always :)

  16. The next time you hear someone gossiping, ask them if you can quote them on that? There response will often reveal the level of harm his/her words were.
    You really think it is only 15%? Whew...:)

  17. Ah me!!! no way. What if they ask the same to me?!?!?! But everyone knows that I am a mighty one who exaggerates. And this is no mean task.

    Great Sunday GQ.



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