Gossip and its Effects

In Sissela Boks Secrets, she quotes the American Heritage Dictionary for the definition of gossip. It is defined as, trifling, often groundless rumor, usually of a personal, sensational, or intimate nature; idle talk. Gossips very nature brings along danger. People risk friendships, jobs, and other important parts of life everyday to engage in it. Where does an innocent conversation about current events cross over to gossip? Why participate in gossip? What makes it so dangerous? According to Bok, The seventeenth- and eighteenth-century New England Puritans illustrate in their writings the intensity with which human lives may be raked over, both in soul searching and in talking about the lives of others. Gossip entails talking about the lives of others. Telling a friend about another friend in Italy on a vacation does not fall under the category of gossip. Talking becomes gossip when the conversation takes a turn to the dark side. When evil intentions carry the conversation, when a giddy tone is in the dialogue telling of the friends habits with respect to relationships, when all the dirty stories are toldthen gossip has been committed. There are a few more restrictions on what true gossip is. Bok writes, Gossipis not only about persons but about persons absent, isolated, or excluded. It is never about the participants themselves. Thus, to qualify, gossip must be in secret of this sort. Gossip is not what paved the road to heaven. Why then, do we do it? Answering a question with another may be more confusing, but it brings forth a good point. Why do people break the law? Gossips malevolence is clear and plain, yet people still participate. We know it is perilous to friendships, jobs, maybe even life itself in extreme cases. Bok gives many explanations. In one of them, she states, Part of the universal attraction of gossip is the occasion it affords for compar…

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