“Can you imagine? Her husband…“ ”Did you see how awful she looked yesterday?“ “He is not a good specialist, actually.” ”Their children are so impolite!” We’ve all heard phrases similar to these, and, unfortunately, we’ve all been guilty of talking about someone behind their back. People like to spread gossip. A recent study has found that discussing intimate details about other people makes up about 80% of all our conversations.
Why do people gossip?
According to psychologists, the main reason we do it is our desire to simplify the process of building social bonds with others.
- Dislikes shared by two or more people are a more powerful tool for binding them than common likes and interests.
- People feel a certain thrill when they divulge confidential information about others.
- There are gossips out there who take pleasure in someone else’s failures or mistakes, comparing themselves to those less fortunate individuals.
How can we stop it?
It seems that gossip is everywhere, and we can’t discourage people from this bad habit. But psychologists have revealed a simple phrase that can stop it immediately. Whenever someone is trying to draw you into a negative conversation about another person, ask them:
“Why are you telling me this?”
This phrase seems very simple, doesn’t it? However, it is very effective.
- Firstly, this question dispels any self-serving motive from the gossiper.
- Secondly, this phrase makes your interlocutor understand that you’re uninterested in being involved in such a conversation.
Gossip is not a harmless practice. Words have great power. Spreading rumors or lies about someone can have devastating consequences for them. It’s important to remember that when you gossip, you’re hurting another person, whether directly or indirectly. So the next time someone attempts to pull you into gossip, remember that a simple phrase like “Why are you telling me this?” can stop dirty rumors from spreading.