Is There Such Thing As Being A Good Gossiper?

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Good Vs. Bad Gossip

So, what makes gossip good or bad today? We don’t rely on it for our survival as much as our ancestors did, but, it still serves a function. Usually, when we gossip, it’s about something of which we can make a judgment. We are deciding: is this a good thing or a bad thing? Is this a good person or a bad person? But experts assert that, it’s actually not the content of the conversation that makes it good or bad – it’s how you use it.

Good gossipers use gossip to help others and even reduce the chances of exploitation within their network. An example of good gossip would be this: you learn that one coworker has been stealing ideas off of their colleagues’ laptops, pitching those ideas as their own, and getting the promotion that their colleague deserved. You share this information with the other coworkers, so they know not to leave their laptop alone with that coworker. In this case, you are using the gossip to protect people from harm.

Another example might be this: your good friend is looking for a roommate and has found someone she’s probably going to ask to move in. You actually know the last person this individual lived with, who tells you that they skipped out on the rent in the last place. You inform your friend so they know not to live with this individual. Again, you are trying to protect your friend with this gossip. Research published in the American Psychology Association shows that moral people regularly gossip as a way of protecting others.

Bad gossip is when you use gossip to your own personal gain and to the direct detriment of someone else. So, for example, maybe you are going after a promotion at work. One colleague is after the same promotion. You learn that this colleague is going through a divorce. So you gossip to your boss that that coworker is under a lot of stress from their divorce and probably not in the right state of mind to handle the promotion.


When you feel the urge to talk about others, ask yourself what the intent is. Are you trying to help or protect someone else, or gain something for yourself? That will help you determine if it’s good or bad gossip.

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