Click here for an easy to email or print Adobe PDF version of this note.
At its best, good gossip is important for emotional health and growth. Good gossip is the place where we can fully express whatever is on our minds or in our hearts. Good gossip is a sign that we have a relationship that is trustworthy and safe. There is nothing like a no-holds barred gossip with a good friend.
In fact, when I went and looked up “gossip” in a dictionary, I discovered that it comes from combining the words “god + sibb” – a god-sibling, crony, or companion. In other words, a good friend, a soul mate.
However, as we all know bad gossip, especially in social networks like work or church, can be highly toxic and destructive. Sometimes organizations try to ban or discourage gossip. But that is impossible. We all need good friends, and good friends – by definition – gossip. What every organization needs is clarity about the differences between good gossip and bad gossip, and commitment to encouraging good gossip and discouraging bad gossip.
To help start that conversation, here is my list of the differences between good gossip and bad gossip.