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Gossiping Can Be Good, Research Says

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Gossiping can be good for self esteem, according to new research. CBS 3 Medical Reporter Stephanie Stahl has details.

We’re supposed to hate gossiping. Talking about other people behind their back has always been considered so mean. Now some new research says there could be an upside.

Gossiping can make the person doing the talking feel more connected and good about themselves, according to the new research.

“No, I totally disagree with that. I never believe in gossiping about anyone. It just never ends out being a good situation,” said Sharon Kwartnik, who works out at the Aquatic and Fitness Center in Bala Cynwyd.

Gyms are notorious for gossiping, but the new research says it’s not always catty or destructive.

“You’re sharing a secret. You’re sharing a moment. It’s that little bit of specialness between two people, so it does create a level of connectiveness in our own kind of little world,” said Dr. Jennifer Hartstein, a psychologist.

But the research says there’s a good and bad side of gossiping. Speaking kindly of others can improve positive emotions by three percent. But speaking badly can increase negative emotions by 34 percent.

“What you want to spread, things like good news, positive encounters, positive joy, and happiness,” said Dr. Hartstein.

“I guess gossiping can be good. As a trainer, I hear a lot of people at the gym and some good, some bad,” said Heather Perry, a popular trainer at the gym. She hears a lot, but has learned to be discrete with her clients.

“If they want to talk and let it out, I have to listen, and I try not to share other gossip with other people,” said Heather.

The research of 160 people was presented at the British Psychological Society Conference. And it confirmed something that many people believe, men don’t gossip as much as women, historically or in modern times.

Reported By: Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3

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