Health And Wellness

Spread The Word: Science Says Gossip Is Good For You — Seriously!

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woman chatting together in group

In some of the best news you'll read all year, a 2014 study has found that gossiping is good for us. Yes! All that mumbo-jumbo about it being so bad for us and some sort of evil thing, in which only the lowest of the low partake, has just gone directly out the window. 

In fact, if you listen closely, I'm pretty sure you'll hear the angels above letting out a collective, "Hallelujah," and it's beautiful. Hear them? And right after, they're gonna go get brunch and gossip about their exes. Me too.

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According to Dutch researchers, both positive and negative gossip about others can turn up the volume on our own self-reflection and self-evaluation, and in doing so makes us feel better about ourselves as well as forces us to be more competitive.

However, before we get this party started, the researchers did say that the stories we choose to share about others absolutely must be treated with a "critical attitude." In other words, for all the fun gossip is, it can still be very harmful. So, basically, gossip responsibly.

The study also found that men have officially surpassed women when it comes to being the biggest gossipers. They also, as research has found, can't keep a secret to save their lives. We all knew the second part at least. I would pay to read a boy's group chat.

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A study of 2,000 Brits found that while women can keep a secret for up to three and half hours before passing it on, if they ever pass it on, dudes, on the other hand, will blab in less than three hours, with one in 10 guys saying they'll spill a secret in less than 10 minutes.

Yet, despite this, 92 percent of men think they're awesome at keeping secrets. HAHA. Oh, dudes. Oh, silly, silly dudes.

Lead researcher, Professor Elena Martinescu, says we can't eliminate gossip, so there's no sense in trying to, noting that we should, instead, "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." I think that's pretty reasonable.

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To recap: gossip is fun and makes us feel better about ourselves. It can lead to messy situations and even cause pain if we're not careful and aware of the possible damage it can cause.

It won't cure cancer, help us live longer, or even put an end to world hunger, but in responsible doses, we can better ourselves from it, because we're forced to do some hardcore self-examination. Perfect. We get to make fun of each other with the people we love while also learning our lesson. Gossiping can be good for the soul if it's done right.

So, the next time your mom or boss lectures you about your preoccupation with gossiping, show them this study. Then, they too will feel the freedom in knowing that talking a little smack and spilling some of the goods can be a-okay.

Amanda Chatel is a regular contributor to Bustle and Glamour, with bylines at Harper's Bazar, The Atlantic, Forbes, Livingly, Mic, The Bolde, Huffington Post, and others.

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