Gossip Power: The Good, The Bad, & The 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 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.
Good Gossip Opens Doors In Relationships
- ignores or breaks stereotypes
- creates connections between individuals and groups
- increases understanding
- encourages growth
- builds cooperation
- rights or prevents wrongs by emphasizing connections and promoting understanding
- can lead to unimagined benefits
Bad Gossip Closes Doors In Relationships
- uses stereotypes
- creates distance between individuals and groups
- erects barriers to understanding
- limits growth
- encourages rivalries
- creates wrongs by justifying distance and barriers
- can lead to betrayal and sabotage
Ugly Gossip Slams Doors In Relationships
- uses stereotypes
- hurts, humiliates, and blames individuals and groups
- prevents growth
- destroys relationships
- hides the hurting, humiliating, and blaming intentions of ugly gossip with accusations that ugly gossip victims have been hostile and have committed offenses
- can lead to revenge, backfires, even murder
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 that other people see your respectful behavior. Your open door actions will invite other people 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 Kramer opened a slammed door and reaped an unexpected reward.
All the information on gossip applies to both personal and professional relationships.
© Paula M. Kramer, 2015
All rights reserved.
Updated June 13, 2018