The psychology of office gossip: It’s a medieval world

Everyone gossips. Or so some say. I don’t readily believe that. There are some who are vaults and can take a secret to their grave. However, I do believe 99.9% do gossip. But there is a spectrum. Gossip can go from mild and vanilla to spicy and a smorgasbord. Not too sure that’s the right analogy. Yet, I will let it be.

Now, office gossip is one of the most pernicious there is. The office assembles a bunch of people, who sometimes cite that they are a family, but who readily and gleefully will undermine and malign others. The workplace, at the end of the day, is a place where people go to spend some time (notice I didn’t say work) to earn some money. It’s a place where people readily have placed a monetary value on that time. As such, gossip comes into play in such a marketplace.

Gossip, is an old-school medieval, bartering system. Let’s see the implicit ground rules. No one gives up gossip for free. Gossip is to be valued and repaid. Gossip is also used as an old-school weapon such as a catapult. They pelt out the gossip and see who gets hit. Gossip supposedly gives the gossiper power over the receiver as well as the target (or protagonist) of said gossip. But only if you let it be so. A gossiper who shares gossip with you, will one day gossip about you. They may very well share the personal information you so willingly gave, when you received gossip. Medieval bartering.

Some psychological research notes that gossiping can be good in that it helps people often bond and that three-quarters of the time gossip may be benign. It could be you are sharing the type of television shows someone is watching. In a village community, gossip can be good to help cement kinship of sorts, and perhaps accordingly protective behaviors.

However, try gossiping in a big city workplace. Kinship tends to go out the window. Instead, gossip is just a commodity to trade upon to make it in the bright lights. It makes people feel good about themselves. Makes them seem like they have connections and insights.

As such, I say if you feel you have to participate start a false rumor that has no ill intent or bearing on someone’s reputation. But have fun with it. Start a rumor about the main gossiper and how they are pregnant with Elon Musk’s baby or that they are being adoptedby Angelina Jolie. Seems very well a possibility.

2 replies »

  1. SMiLes GoSSiP iS A PecKinG Order
    Used to Peck Others Down and Vault
    Others Up in Terms of More Comfort
    Of Serotonin Boosting Self-Esteem That Way
    in my View of Course
    Hehe On the Other
    Hands Folks Who
    Generate THeir
    Own Complete are Basically
    Teflon to Bring Down HAha
    Yet Imagine As Others May
    Let Them Rule THeir Life As They Will
    Up or Down
    With Solo Hands
    In Some Places
    THere is No Left
    Or Right to Add or Subtract
    Naked Enough Whole Complete
    Required to Be A LoNe ‘Emperor’ THiS Way…
    Yet of Course Let’s Face it As i Surely HaVE iN
    A So-Called Work Place for Pay As Others Do
    Actually Rule Us in Some Ways As Slaves True THeRE
    Is No Getting
    Around it one
    Is Never Truly Free
    ThiS Way For Others
    to Rule Them That Way
    Carrots And Sticks Carrots
    And Sticks What’s Up Doc
    i No Longer LiVE iN That Stale Hell Now..:)


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