If you're a human being, then it's safe to say that you have been part of gossip or a topic of one, don't worry because it's natural and everyone does it. Don't believe it? Here's the science to prove that.
Why Do People Gossip?
Social scientists have done a study that everyone and they mean everyone is hardwired to pay attention to gossip and would join in on the conversation one way or another. This is because it's an evolutionary adaptation or human nature to do so.
Frank McAndrew, who is a psychology professor at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, said: "We're the descendants of people who were good at this ... In prehistoric times, people who were fascinated by the lives of other people were more successful."
McAndrew, who is an expert on human social behavior and gossip, said that to thrive during the time of cavemen, they had to know what was happening to the people around. So it was a trait that was necessary to evolve.
He said, "Who is sleeping with whom? Who has power? Who has access to resources? And if you weren't good at that, you weren't very successful,"
How Much Gossip Do You Hear Per Day?
In most cases, researchers define gossip as talking about someone or something which isn't present and sharing information that isn't widely known.
Based on the analysis by researchers at the University of California Riverside, the average human being spends about 52 minutes per day with or without them knowing it.
The majority of gossip is harmless, however, and only 15 percent of gossip is the negative kind. Neutral gossip, like for example, "he's late for work" or "she's stuck at traffic," helps build friendships, community, or even learn information that's vital for having a social life. Megan Robbins, a UC Riverside psychology professor, said it's the basis of human interaction.
"You can establish a relationship by talking about other people and finding out something about others in the group ... Even for those types of gossip that are evaluative, you're saying, 'I'm trusting you with this information.'
Gossip Isn't As Bad As You Think
The practice only becomes harmful when the conversation isn't going to help social learning, scientists have said. Rude or hurtful comments are examples of gossip that isn't socially helping.
Robbins also mentioned that there is compelling research that gossip might also serve as a moral behavior check on people by deterring potential slackers or cheaters in a group setting. This is because people care about their reputations in general and avoid being the one being gossiped about.
Also, it can be a way to figure out sociably acceptable rules in a setting like a workplace. Canteen or water cooler talks help find out what is socially acceptable behavior and who to approach when needed.
McAndrew also said that "Sharing gossip with someone is a bonding mechanism ... It does kind of increase morale."
So knowing all this, you might find that gossip is not as bad as you think since the time of the cavemen, this is already being done. As long as it is constructive gossip, then everything is fine.