The Phoenix

Friday, May 26, 2006

Gossip Brings the World Together

Humorist/writer Dave Barry once said, "The most powerful force in the universe is gossip."

It seems Mr. Barry was right. Gossip is not only powerful, but most recently it has been found to be good for you. In an article being published in June in the journal Personal Relationships, a study found that mildly negative gossip can actually forge and solidify friendships.

Did you hear the one about Tina?
Some say she's much too loose.
That came straight from a guy who claims he's tastin' her juice.

Dr. Jennifer Bosson of the University of Oklahoma explains: "Although shared positive attitudes are indeed important in friendship, there seems to be something especially delicious about the process of sharing our grievances about other people." In other words, bitching about someone you mutually don't like will help you become closer with your fellow complainer.

Did you hear the one about Michael?
Some say he must be gay.

I tried to argue but they said that if he were straight he wouldn't move that way.

Dr. Bosson conducted three studies. The first one included 30 participants. The second one included 88 participants. They each were asked to think of a best friend, and then recall the likes and dislikes they learned they had in common with their newly found friend. Researchers found that the participants “recalled sharing a larger percentage of negative than positive attitudes” when talking about other people.

The third study listened to a fiction conversation between "Melissa" and "Brad." Then they were asked to jot down likes/dislikes concerning the character of "Brad." The participants were then paired up according to their likes/dislikes and then were asked to predict how well they thought they might "click" with their newly assigned partner. Overwhelmingly, students that were going to be paired with someone that had similar dislikes for "Brad" believed they were going to feel closer to their new partner, when compared to the individuals that were paired up because they shared a bunch of positive opinions of "Brad." In other words, my enemy's enemy is my friend.

Did you hear the one about Tina?
Some say she's just a tease.

In a camisole she's six feet tall, she'll knock you to your knees.

The researchers aren't advocating gossip as a means to make or strengthen friendships.

“Indeed, some researchers are beginning to conceptualize gossip as a form of indirect aggression that can have harmful consequences for both gossips and gossipees alike. Still, if there is a positive side of gossip, we believe it is that shared, mild, negative attitudes toward others can create and/or amplify interpersonal intimacy,” Bosson and her collegues write.

Will you look at all these rumors, surroundin' me everyday
I just need some time, some time to get away.
From all these rumors, I can't take it no more.

My best friend said there's one out now about me and the girl next door.

Personally, I'm not surprised about the findings.

The human being is such a social animal, and gossip is just one way we create relationships with our fellow homo sapiens. Most of us believe gossip is wrong, but in one way or another - we ALL do it. Whether it's talking trash about a common enemy to your best buds, or rolling your eyes along with the other two people standing in line at the store because of the slow cashier...sharing your hatred brings you closer.

Will you look at all these rumors, surrounding me everyday...


Blogger Keshi said...

why only women's pics? :)


5/25/2006 11:18 PM  
Blogger vani said...

LOL- I can't say I've never gossiped before..but honestly I can't stand people who gossip about everyone. YOu know, the nosy, gossipy, foul mouthed, abnoxious kind, who use the info for evil. I just described an ex-coworker of mine whom everyone in the office hated. That woman was an old hen! LOL

5/25/2006 11:30 PM  
Blogger Phats said...

haha i found this post pretty comical thanks for the laugh.

I think everyone has gossiped at least once right?

5/25/2006 11:36 PM  
Blogger Pixie said...

I would admit to the odd bit of gossip here and there ;)
I still get emails from people letting me know the goss from my old job heh.

5/26/2006 1:03 AM  
Blogger O Ceallaigh said...

Phoenix, you're on to more than you're letting on here.

Ever wonder why it always seems that the characters on TV are so dumb? It's so that when you gossip about them, you'll feel that you're better than them ("I would never do anything so stupid"), and so feel good about yourself. And the show. And the gimcracks that the show is selling. ka-CHING!

Would American Idol be so popular if you didn't think you could sing better than most of the contestants? ka-CHING!.

Aldous Huxley in Brave New World used gossip, both conversational and in the media, to bind individuals to their caste and keep the castes well defined and separated: "I wouldn't be caught dead with a Gamma. They're so crude".

Yep, the psychologists have it right. A little dissing does you good. But every pleasure has its price. And there are a lot of palms extended, itching to be greased, for this little stroke of joy.

5/26/2006 2:25 AM  
Blogger Shamus O'Drunkahan said...

Just because it's gossip, doesn't mean it's not true.

5/26/2006 7:00 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

keshi, they are all pictures of Phoenix, but don't tell anyone

5/26/2006 7:10 AM  
Blogger BrianAlt said...

Have you heard about The Phoenix?
Some say he's really cool.
But I'm Mr. T and I say, 'I pity the fool.'

Gossip makes the world go round.

5/26/2006 7:14 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

keshi, I do have one pic with two guys gossiping!

vani, I think some people do it out of insecurity.

phats, Everyone does it - more than once. The subject of gossip can really even be anything - like the weather. "Damn, it's so hot!" you say to strangers at the store or at the ballgame. It's not gossip, per se, but you are sharing your negative feelings with complete strangers. It's how we connect...through shared misery.

pixie, And that helps you keep in touch with your ex-employee friends. Excellent example.

o ceallaigh, TV sitcoms are especially notorious. The viewers love the fact that they can feel superior to the characters on TV - especially if the characters are having a crappy day. Or if doom falls upon them. As a viewer, you can say - well, at least my life is better than theirs.
Escapism through voyerism.

shamus, Who said that? Was that Oscar Wilde???

jim, Look at all those rumors!!!

brianalt, You could be a songwriter. Any song with Mr. T is kick ass.

5/26/2006 7:26 AM  
Blogger Denny Shane said...

gossiping is good for the heart. it makes people feel good at the same time. yep, very healthy.

5/26/2006 7:49 AM  
Blogger ozymandiaz said...

I NEVER gossip. Unlike this guy I work with. He his always goning on about someone and what they did and what they said and how they dress. It just isn't right. Like jus the other day he was going on about Edgar and his wife and the problems they are having like HE has such a great relationship with his wife cause they are always fighting and she drinks WAY too much. And he damn sure shouldn't be talkin about how anybody else dresses being a monkey would pick better clothes than he does. I mean, cummon, doesn't he have a mirror?
Yup, I never gossip.

5/26/2006 8:01 AM  
Blogger angel, jr. said...

Hell ya gossip seals friendships. I once got into a fight, huge fight with a really good friend of mine.
What brought us back together? She came to me to talk about a mutual friend of ours (one that we kinda sorta talked about all the time). We were friends again after that.
In actuality--I don't remember what we were fighting about. She's a chick and I'm sure I did something irrelevant to piss her off. See she's the type of chick that gets her feelings hurt because I didn't offer her a drink first, before another buddy. And so I know that the fight was our fault, although I can't remember why.

5/26/2006 8:07 AM  
Blogger angel, jr. said...

P.S. Blogrolling must be off or something because I had no idea you had this many posts this week. It didn't show up on my blogroll.

5/26/2006 8:08 AM  
Blogger Sherri said...

I have to admit, I have been guilty of gossiping from time to time myself. But, here's the thing, everyone always assumes it's women who are the worst for gossip. I'm here to tell you, that is not always the case. Most of the gossip I hear on a daily basis comes from the MEN I work with, swear to God. My husband, he's got to be the king of gossip.

5/26/2006 8:12 AM  
Blogger ozymandiaz said...

Yo, phoenix, have you seen this?

5/26/2006 8:28 AM  
Blogger Curare_Z said...

Gossiping is least when you're the gossiper. If you're the gossipee...well...that's another story.

5/26/2006 8:37 AM  
Blogger DaBich said...

Yup, yup. By the way, Phoenix, did you hear about Sar?

5/26/2006 8:48 AM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

It's true that if you want someone to talk about you then just walk out of a room.

5/26/2006 9:11 AM  
Anonymous amber said...

I live in a small town, and gossip makes the world spin in small towns.

I have seen gossip destroy lives here. Lives fall apart, sometimes even marriages and families split because of small-town rumors. I know people in this small town that are afraid to leave thier houses. It's a pity really.

I, myself, prefer to START rumors about myself, I tell strategic people my "secret", and sit back and laugh as the town hears all about my sordid tale. It's hilarious!

One time, I drove up to the local gas station in a car that belonged to my friend. When they asked whose car I was in, I simply replied "my boyfriend". Well... the town gossips thought that was worthy of spreading all around town. It was only about 15 minutes later, my husband got a call (at work no less!!!) telling him I was cheatiing on him. He asked the person for more details, and then once he figured out who it was, he simply replied "thats ok, he's been my best friend since we were kids, we share EVERYTHING"

Sometimes gossip can be so much fun!!!! LMAO

5/26/2006 9:40 AM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

In my experience men can be worse gosspiers than women.

However, I have a love hate relationship with it. I was involved with some "friends" and the gossip started out as innocent/general stuff. I came to a point where I couldn't stand myself and what I was doing, needless to say it destroyed that relationship. They didn't see anything wrong with trashing people in one breath and being best girlfriends in the other.

O Celleigh has some very valid points, which can be seen in the success of Jerry Springer and Maury Povich, even Dr. Phil. Hell, I admit I watch Supernanny and "Honey We're killing the kids" and feel like a superior parent.

Interesting post!

5/26/2006 10:01 AM  
Blogger Grafs said...

Yeah I noticed this. Everytime I start a new friendship, I vow I'm not going to gossip. It never works.

5/26/2006 10:35 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

denny, apparently the research supports that.

ozy, You have an iron will.

angel jr, Tell me more about her...
Blogrolling hasn't been working for a couple weeks now.

sherri, Men gossip as much if not MORE than the ladies.

curare z, Being the gossipee isn't fun. But most of the time, you have no idea.

5/26/2006 10:47 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

dabich, Give me the juicy details while she's on vacation!

fuzz, These days, gossipers aren't even that stealthy.

amber, can USE gossip to your advantage. I need to try that.

jennifer, Super Nanny makes me feel like Father of the Year.

grafs, The need to make friends is a strong need indeed.

5/26/2006 10:49 AM  
Blogger Erin O'Brien said...

I've called out your friend Flamingo. He's got until Monday, May 29, 2006 at midnight.

5/26/2006 10:59 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

ozy, your link was cut off. Which story was it? The AIDS found in chimps???

erin, Where is the Flamingo???????

5/26/2006 11:58 AM  
Blogger Jay said...

I think this must be especially true among coworkers.

5/26/2006 12:14 PM  
Blogger Mimi said...

I am unfortunately not surprised by this one.

5/26/2006 12:33 PM  
Blogger DaBich said...

Amber ~ Love it! lol

Phoenix ~ No, no we must get together in person :X

5/26/2006 1:02 PM  
Blogger Etchen said...

OMG I haven't heard that song in forver-I feel like I should be in leg warmers playing the Atari.

5/26/2006 1:07 PM  
Blogger michele said...

I don't like gossip,especially
if it's about me!

5/26/2006 1:14 PM  
Blogger Dirk the Feeble said...

People who talk shit about other people so DO NOT strengthen my friendships with them. I hate people like that.

Now if my partner was someone who wanted to join me in my lifelong quest of savagely torturing and eventually killing those people, then I think I might get along very well with that person.

5/26/2006 1:41 PM  
Blogger OnMyWatch said...

military basic training is pretty much based on shared misery - builds teamwork! :)

5/26/2006 4:22 PM  
Blogger Ben Heller said...

Keep going with your great blog


5/26/2006 4:32 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

jay, I think the workplace is just a breeding ground for gossip.

mimi, Yup. It's all around us.

debich, OK - sounds good to me.

etchen, It's one of my 80s favorites. I think the beat is radical!

michelle, That's what curare said. It's fun to be a gossiper, but not the gossipee.

dirk, Bonding over the best laid plans? Think trench coat mafia.

onmywatch, Also, it's breaking a person down and having to rely on others to build yourself back up. Cub Scouts taught me that. NOT!

Ben, thank you, sir.

5/26/2006 5:14 PM  
Blogger Kyahgirl said...

How about blogs that are completely built on ranting. Some of those I really enjoy. Is this part of the same weird phenomenom?

5/26/2006 6:43 PM  
Blogger Jon Cox said...

Haha, it could be! :o)

5/26/2006 8:06 PM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

How true this is. Shared likes AND DISLIKES really do make for a good friendship.
I'm not into badmouthing and gossiping though.
I don't like to hang around negative people.
For instance, I don't read blogs that are people's rant diaries. I can't take too much of that.
But, a little shared negativity is a good thing.
I would assume that most of us could talk about Donald Trump's horrid hair and really bond on that point.

5/26/2006 9:24 PM  
Blogger Kyahgirl said...

what!? JD, you don't like 'The Donald's' hair? its fab.

5/26/2006 9:59 PM  
Blogger Carmel said...

Although I don't gossip, my ears seem to love listening in on it. Maybe that's just as bad as being a gossiper =)

5/28/2006 3:01 AM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

Kyahgirl: You KNOW his hair is hitonious!! It defies logic.

Phoenix: This post reminds me of the song in Oklahoma! called Pick a Little, Talk a Little.

5/28/2006 3:13 PM  
Blogger crallspace said...

Just like computers and brings us closer, yet drives us farther apart.

5/28/2006 4:36 PM  
Blogger Jillian said...

Shut...UP Phoenix lol!! Yeah I can't say I've NEVER gossiped before - and hey, keshi has a good point about the only-female pictures?! Eh Phoenix?? ;-)

5/28/2006 7:45 PM  
Blogger Cari said...

Ahhhh...the antics of office chatter.

Yes there are gossip mills everywhere!!!!

I stand alone, aside from the chitty chatty women in my office.

BUT have to say once in awhile I get sucked in the sweltering chitty chatty hole


5/29/2006 6:15 AM  
Blogger PDD said...

Your enemy is your best friend.

Yes, this makes perfect sense.

Church then must be really healthy, especially catholic church filled with Italians. All that Gossip could add 25 yrs on ones life.

5/29/2006 8:36 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

I think some blogs that are rants are popular with a lot of people because the audience can relate. Misery loves company.

Guys gossip just as much as women...that's for sure.

5/29/2006 9:00 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

PDD- The Anglican church is just as bad. Thats why I stopped going (and it was against what I personally beleived in).

It seemed to be a contest over who was dressed better and what people were putting in the plate.


5/30/2006 10:00 AM  
Blogger ObilonKenobi said...

I love to gossip. I told this great story the other day about my fellow blogger, the Phoenix...

5/30/2006 2:34 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

Look at all these rumors!

5/30/2006 4:14 PM  

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