according to a new study, gossiping may in fact be good for our self-esteem because it allows us to compare ourselves to others.
A group of Dutch researchers have found out that hearing positive and negative gossip about another individual boosts self-reflection and self-evaluation. Elena Martinescu at the University of Groningen said:
- Women who receive negative gossip experience higher self-protection concerns possibly because they believe they might experience a similar fate as the person being the target of the gossip. Men who receive positive gossip experience higher fear, perhaps because upward social comparisons with competitors are threatening.’
Professor Martinescu added gossip provided individuals with indirect social comparison information and provides an essential resource to reflect on their behavior. She suggested that rather than trying to block out gossip, we should ‘accept gossip as a natural part of our lives and receive it with a critical attitude regarding the consequences it may have on ourselves and on others.’