changingminds.org

How we change what others think, feel, believe and do

| Menu | Quick | Books | Share | Search | Settings |

Gossip

 

Explanations > RelationshipsStatus Games > Gossip

Description | Example | Discussion | So what?

 

Description

Gossip is a very common activity where people share news and secrets in small groups. The talk is often about other people, what they have said and what they have done. The talk may also be scurrilous and critical, indicating disapproval of the target person and so reducing their status.

Gossip comments that can affect status include such as:

  • Who does she think she is??
  • I never knew he was that clever.
  • I wouldn't cross him if I were you.
  • She's really nice.
  • She's got where she is by using her female wiles.
  • He's just a bully, really.

To use gossip, first watch, then listen. Notice people going off in small groups to chat. Join them. Listen to what is being said about who. Notice who talks most and the sources of information, and hence identify the main gossipers. Befriend these, then feed them snippets that serve your cause.

Drop in positive information about yourself, but without bragging or otherwise making yourself the target of negative gossip. Do not gossip about the gossipers other than to praise them. When they hear you have been saying nice things about them (and so raising their status), they will be less inclined to spread malicious stories about you.

Example

People within an organization tend to talk a lot about one another, how nice and how successful they are. One person is known as a vicious gossiper and keeps the nastiest of comments for those who spread negative gossip about them.

A group of friends gossip about other people. Generally this is kind but there is strong criticism against people who transgress social norms.

A manager seeds gossip about change in order to get people thinking about it before the formal announcement, which is not as threatening as the gossip she started. The result is that people treat the announcement with relief rather than anger. 

Discussion

Gossip is a very common activity where people share news and secrets in small groups. The talk is often about other people, what they have said and what they have done. The talk may also be scurrilous and critical, indicating disapproval of the target person and so reducing their status.

It seems curious that many people hate being talked about yet happily gossip about others. This reflects out social nature and the intensity with which we play status games.

In companies and other larger social groups, the system if gossip is often called the 'grapevine' and is an important channel of information. It is through such informal conversation that people gain social status and hence power and influence.

Rumor spreads through the gossip channel and may be true, partly true or wholly false. The rate at which gossip spreads has more to do with interest and shock value than truth. Rumor of interest is often about events that will affect many people, such as company cutbacks or changes in senior personnel.

So what?

Listen to gossip: it is a source of status and power. See people who gossip as indulging in a very natural act. Notice the games of power and status that are going on under the surface. Beware of gossiping destructively about other people, or even endorsing such comments from others. If word gets back to the target person about what you said, you may find yourself on the receiving end of much anger.

One way of insulating yourself from direct accusation is to quote others. Rather than saying 'I think', say 'Sam said'. By attributing gossip to others, you are now simply a witness, a reporter. While you can still be accused of spreading gossip, you can claim innocence as to the content. If you want to protect the gossiper, you can just say something like 'I hear'.

See also

The Leader-Follower loop, Status Values

 

Site Menu

| Home | Top | Quick Links | Settings |

Main sections: | Disciplines | Techniques | Principles | Explanations | Theories |

Other sections: | Blog! | Quotes | Guest articles | Analysis | Books | Help |

More pages: | Contact | Caveat | About | Students | Webmasters | Awards | Guestbook | Feedback | Sitemap | Changes |

Settings: | Computer layout | Mobile layout | Small font | Medium font | Large font | Translate |

 

You can buy books here

More Kindle books:

And the big
paperback book


Look inside

 

Please help and share:

 

Quick links

Disciplines

* Argument
* Brand management
* Change Management
* Coaching
* Communication
* Counseling
* Game Design
* Human Resources
* Job-finding
* Leadership
* Marketing
* Politics
* Propaganda
* Rhetoric
* Negotiation
* Psychoanalysis
* Sales
* Sociology
* Storytelling
* Teaching
* Warfare
* Workplace design

Techniques

* Assertiveness
* Body language
* Change techniques
* Closing techniques
* Conditioning
* Conversation
* Confidence tricks
* Conversion
* Creative techniques
* General techniques
* Happiness
* Hypnotism
* Interrogation
* Language
* Listening
* Negotiation tactics
* Objection handling
* Propaganda
* Problem-solving
* Public speaking
* Questioning
* Using repetition
* Resisting persuasion
* Self-development
* Sequential requests
* Storytelling
* Stress Management
* Tipping
* Using humor
* Willpower

Principles

* Principles

Explanations

* Behaviors
* Beliefs
* Brain stuff
* Conditioning
* Coping Mechanisms
* Critical Theory
* Culture
* Decisions
* Emotions
* Evolution
* Gender
* Games
* Groups
* Habit
* Identity
* Learning
* Meaning
* Memory
* Motivation
* Models
* Needs
* Personality
* Power
* Preferences
* Research
* Relationships
* SIFT Model
* Social Research
* Stress
* Trust
* Values

Theories

* Alphabetic list
* Theory types

And

About
Guest Articles
Blog!
Books
Changes
Contact
Guestbook
Quotes
Students
Webmasters

 

| Home | Top | Menu | Quick Links |

© Changing Works 2002-
Massive Content — Maximum Speed