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Gossiping Is Good for You!

Secretly, I always knew that.

A new study put out by the University of California, Berkeley, says that gossiping actually has health benefits. No, we're not talking about lowering blood pressure or the risk of cancer -- more like reducing your heart rate and stress level -- and this is only after you've gossiped about someone who did something wrong. Because that's the only thing we ever gossip about, right?

Let's ignore the fact that I, for one, gossip for the hell of it. It's not out of control, but it definitely isn't limited to wrongdoers. Sure, I'll talk about a friend of mine who cheated on her boyfriend, but I'll make sure it never gets back to either of them. Sometimes it just feels good to get something off your chest. Now that I think about it, maybe that's what they're talking about, the whole good-for-you thing?

Also found in the study: Researchers report that gossip actually "plays a critical role in the maintenance of social order." But wouldn't all the factors have to work out? One: The bad gossip gets back to the person being gossiped about. Two: The receiver of the gossip has a questionable conscience and is discouraged from behaving badly because of the gossip.

When I looked into the study further, I discovered that the researchers had covered their bases -- no surprise there. They call this type of gossip "prosocial." Turns out, researchers tested their findings in a number of different studies, and in one, the person being gossiped to was the next to interact with the wrongdoer, so the motivation for gossiping was a form of warning. I've repeatedly discouraged all of my friends from going to this one salon in New York City. I had a terrible experience there, and sure, morally they did nothing wrong, but it was bad -- as in our dog gets better haircuts bad.

So rest easy that your gossiping and scheming ways won't do you wrong; they'll actually be good for you (unless you're simply out to taint someone's name)! How do you feel about these findings? Are you going to gossip more or less?

-- Holly