Apparently, gossip makes us happy.
“According to research out of the University of Ghent in Belgium, our brain cells light up in positive ways when we gossip, or tune into tabloids. Gossip is an instant stimulator of endorphins, so when the dirt gets dished, we’re happy campers.”*
But does that make gossiping okay?
Even though my disdain with gals who gossip is well documented (check out the following Cool Broad rules here, here, and here), I was intrigued by the premise that we’re naturally predisposed to gossip. Also, I was struck by the fact that when I looked up the word gossip in the dictionary, the definition didn’t capture the mean-spirited or potentially destructive nature that spreading a salacious story often has.
Gossip: idle talk or rumor, especially about the private affairs of others.
And then this weekend, I found myself breaking one of my most important rules: Cool Broads don’t gossip.
This is how it went down: As I chatted with another mom at my son’s soccer game, one of our kids’ team members came up. The reason: he’s a disaster.
This child has routine tantrums in the middle of the game, tells our coach he’s “not a real coach”, grabs the ball and runs off with it, refusing to relinquish it to the referee who is simultaneously chasing the boy and blowing his whistle in frustration, and often just flat out refuses to play if he isn’t happy with how the game is going.
His behavior leaves the other parents on the team with their mouths hanging open, in complete disbelief. His parent’s response….nothing. Nada, not a thing. So naturally, we’re left wondering…what’s going on here?
Anyway, I brought up the child with the other mom and it was only after we clutched each other in camaraderie, relieved that we weren’t the only ones incredulous at the child’s behavior and the parent’s inability (or unwillingness) to keep him from distracting the rest of the team, that I began to feel badly that I was, in effect, gossiping.
Cool Broads don’t gossip, I told myself, so I quickly said to the other mom, “I feel badly about talking about this family behind their backs.”
“I don’t,” she responded, “They deserve it. They’re ruining the experience for everyone else.”
Still, I was talking about the personal affairs of another and I wouldn’t be happy if someone did that to me. It wasn’t mean-spirited and I certainly wasn’t getting a thrill (despite the endorphin-releasing theory), but still, I was conflicted.
So, what do you think? Is gossiping EVER okay?
*FoxNews.com, Health, June 17, 2008
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