Why Do People Gossip And What To Do About It

why do people gossipWhy do people gossip? Here’s some interesting research on the evolutionary reasons behind gossip. Plus I’ll help you to feel less hurt about those who might be gossiping about you.

First, I’ll start with some interesting research about gossip – which shows gossip to have a positive benefit – research you might find surprising!

Then I’ll explore how best to deal with gossip!

According to psychologist Robin Dunbar we’re evolutionary hard-wired for gossip.

It is the human equivalent of the “social grooming” seen among our primate cousins – where they pick out nits and twigs from each other’s fur, to bond and feel close.

Hmmm….you know that positive phrase “to keep in touch with someone”? It sorta sounds like the definition of animals’ “Nit-n-Twig Plucking with each other”… doesn’t it?

Here’s another unusual theory on why people gossip…

gossip quote about reputation and dignityAccording to psychologist Geoffrey Miller, gossip evolved as a helpful courtship device – as the human equivalent of a peacock tail.

Basically, gossip is what we humans use to compete for and attract sexual partners, because it’s how we ‘advertise’ or ‘self-promote’ our social status, values, and intelligence.

According to Miller, gossip can be a “Do I Bond Or Not Bond Determinator”!

It’s what reveals which behaviors you and other people find acceptable – or unacceptable – and thereby if you find your gossiper or gossipee acceptable or unacceptable for further socialization purposes!

With this in mind, if you want to become a far more popular member of a group (aka your office, an organization, a local community) just listen more carefully to this group’s critical gossip.

You’ll quickly discover people’s boundaries and rules – and thereby know what to do – or not do – to make sure you’re a welcomed member of this group!

why do people gossip and a suggestion for stoppingHere’s another unusual positive benefit to gossip!

Gossip has been shown to improve health!

Just as “social grooming” between primates stimulates endorphins, making animals more relaxed – the “vocal grooming” we call gossip has also been researched to relax humans and lower blood pressure.

It’s what keeps us feeling connected and bonded – like we are part of a group – rather than socially isolated. The more connected people feel, the better their health.

Obviously all of this research offers a wildly positive outlook on gossip.

Meanwhile, back in reality…  let’s face it: gossip can hurt!

I don’t know if animals feel pain in their “social grooming” version of gossip – when they’re picking out nits and twigs from each other’s fur!

However I do know that in our human version of gossip, picking on one another can feel highly painful!

gossiping quote about guarding your thoughts and wordsWhat to do if people gossip?

If someone’s gossiping about you negatively, here’s a helpful tool.

You must remind yourself that they are trying to bring you down to raise themselves up.

Basically, they feel low self esteem.

If you want to be happy, you must forget about people who gossip.

Stop wasting time wondering what others think about you. It’s more important what you think of you.

  • Are you living true to your heart?
  • Are you kind to the hearts of others?

why do people gossip quoteFeel free to check in with yourself – and often.


If someone has a full and happy life, they won’t have time to sit around talking about you!

And if you really want to bond and connect with someone, do so by sharing what you love.

As soon as someone tries to gossip with you, switch the conversation.

Start to talk about all the things each of you appreciate, value, and dream about!


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