Gossip Power: Good, Bad, & Ugly

What are the other sides of each story in your life?
What are the other sides of each story other people tell you?

Paula M. Kramer has been researching gossip since 1988. Her definition of gossip is based on more than half a century of research by both male and female researchers.

Gossip is talk and writing about people
— both other people and ourselves —
in family, social, workplace, and public settings.

Men gossip just as much or more than women. They just call it things like “shop talk” or “shooting the breeze”.

The power of gossip is in the relationships it creates. In fact, gossip was a originally a relationship. Read about the first gossip (godsibb) relationship and how it evolved over centuries into a kind of talk. Relationships are still part of gossip as “gossip cells”. Read about the origin and evolution of gossip, why two researchers identified old men as the biggest gossips, and 3 factors for successful good gossip.

Origin & Evolution Of Gossip
1 page

Differences Between Men & Women Gossips
2 pages

3 Factors For Successful Good Gossip
2 pages

Each good gossip statement is a tiny triumph. Tiny triumphs add up to satisfying successes. Fight failure and spark success by purposefully using good gossip whenever possible. This might require creativity at times, but failure flares failure and success sparks success. Spark success for yourself with the tiny triumphs of good gossip statements.


Collaboration Up / Toxic Gossip Down


Good Gossip Characteristics
Opening Doors In Relationships

1.  Ignores stereotypes.

2.  Creates connections between individuals and groups.

3.  Increases understanding.

4.  Encourages growth.

5.  Builds cooperation.

6.  Prevents wrongs by promoting connections and understanding.

7.  Can lead to unimagined benefits.

8.  Gives bystanders reasons to trust.


Bad Gossip Characteristics
Closing Doors In Relationships

1.  Uses stereotypes.

2.  Creates distance between individuals and groups.

3.  Erects barriers to understanding.

4.  Limits growth.

5.  Encourages rivalries.

6.  Creates wrongs by justifying distance and barriers.

7.  Can lead to betrayal and sabotage.

8.  Gives bystanders reasons to doubt.


Ugly Gossip Characteristics
Slamming Doors In Relationships

1.  Manufactures stereotypes.

2.  Hurts and humiliates individuals and groups.

3.  Promotes hostilities based on misunderstandings.

4.  Prevents growth.

5.  Destroys relationships.

6.  Hides wrongdoing by accusing others of wrongdoing.

7.  Can lead to undeserved revenge.

8.  Gives bystanders reasons to avoid.


How do other people stereotype you? Read the Stereotypes category on my blog.

Strategies for opening doors in relationships require sincerity and open-mindedness. People opening doors have to be sincere. People with closed or slammed doors have to be open-minded. Insincere and close-minded people will seldom open their doors to your good gossip efforts, even sincere efforts. Insincerity and closed-mindedness are two clues that you should limit or walk away from a relationship when possible. If not possible, keep taking open door actions so bystanders see your respectful behavior. Your open door actions will invite bystanders to use good gossip about you. Open door actions also invite successes you didn’t know were possible.

It is sometimes possible to open a slammed door, but it will take time and effort. See People Success Example #5. Paula M. Kramer opened a slammed door and reaped an unexpected reward.

When necessary, defend yourself against bad and ugly gossip. Never use insults. Tell your side of the story with evidence and witnesses. Provide resources with more explanations and/or evidence. Provide information about any situation that led to the stereotypes behind the bad and ugly gossip. Acknowledge the difficulties other people face while still standing up for yourself.

All the information on gossip applies to both personal and professional relationships.


© Paula M. Kramer, 2015 to the present.
All rights reserved.
Last updated November 13, 2022.