Could You Give Up Gossip?

In today's Independent, writer Lucy Silag describes her attempt to give up gossip after fighting with her friends over and over: "I resolved to entirely eradicate any exchange of information about the affairs of other people, positive or negative, true or untrue," she explains. No surprise, but Lucy found not gossiping to be extremely difficult. She had very little input in discussions with coworkers, her boyfriend and her boss, and reasons that bonding and making a new friend would be impossible without gossip: "After all, the way we often pass judgment on another is by seeing who they've passed judgment on."

Silag found that she became aware of how little of what we discuss consists of real opinions about things that actually matter. "No one ever says in passing, 'I hate it when guys make more money or get promoted faster than women,' or 'Oh my God, our ecological balance is falling apart and no one even realizes it," she says. But before her anti-gossip campaign fell apart, she was basically mute. (Her boyfriend called her "pensive and dull.") After a month or two, her "heart was no longer in it" and Silag went back to gossiping: A little at first, then full-steam ahead. "It felt liberating and cathartic," she admits.

A psychologist weighs in at the end of the article, noting that harmless gossip builds bridges between people. So why does gossip get a bad rap? And what would happen in your life if you stopped gossiping? Could you stop? Would it be tough? Would you become pensive and dull? Would you even be able to do your job? Because uh, we'd be in serious trouble.

The Art Of Gossip: 'No! I Don't Believe It!' [Independent]