The Fine Line Between Sharing and Gossiping

Have you ever said something negative to a friend or significant other about someone else under the guise of “venting” or “sharing”? I obviously never have, but here are my thoughts 😉

There’s a fine line between sharing and gossiping, but let’s address gossip first: some people will tell you it’s a wholly negative thing but I don’t completely agree. We actually derive some benefits from sharing and gossiping:

1) It makes us feel closer to the person we’re speaking with. Like it or not, gossiping is a form of bonding and provides us with shared experiences.

2) It provides us with an outlet for venting and can validate our feelings by allowing us to see that others feel the same way.

3) It can provide an escape from a situation or relationship. For example, say you and a friend hang out with a third person regularly because you both think the other enjoys the third person’s company. Sharing might make you both discover that neither of you enjoys this person’s company, so you can both cut ties.

None of this is to say that gossip is all good. It can hurt the person you’re discussing; it can harm your other relationships if people consider you a gossip; and it can make you feel guilty.

So where’s the line between sharing and gossip? Clearly, I love finding the fine lines between things. When does it move from being a productive, meaningful activity to being careless or even mean-spirited?

My lifelong difficulty is that I have no filter. I say what I think around people I’m comfortable because I don’t believe in boundaries {which is a topic for another blog post though here’s one on blogging boundaries}. But every so often, I cringe a little inside after I carelessly let a snippet of gossip emerge in front of someone I’m close to…self-improvement time 🙂

Where is the line between sharing and gossiping? What are other benefits and consequences of the two? Which is more important: your motive or the outcome? 

P.S. Apparently a study showed that volunteers’ heartbeats increased when the people witnessed negative behaviors by others but leveled out when the person was able to tell someone about the incident. Psychosocial benefits of gossip, y’all!

P.P.S. There is some validity in this:

photo credit i, photo credit ii

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One thought on “The Fine Line Between Sharing and Gossiping

  1. Pingback: Weekend & June Recaps | Scintillating Simplicity

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