Most of the time we talk with someone, we talk about other people, but can we say that it is gossiping? Is there a difference between gossiping and sharing information?
This is what I will try to clarify in this article since the differences between those two might go unnoticed, and we might believe that anything we say about a person that is not present means that we are gossiping.
Talking about other people is a big part of most people’s conversation and with that many quotes about how weak you are because you are gossiping is hard not to feel like trash. So let’s go to the differences between gossip and sharing information.
5 Differences between gossip and sharing information
There is a fine line between those two, even a finer line than between bragging and sharing.
Here are the five main differences between gossip and sharing information.
1. The purpose
If your purpose is to share interesting information that you know, the person in front of you will enjoy or will benefit from it without damaging anyone’s reputation. In that case, you might just be sharing information.
On the other hand, if you want to look interesting, put yourself in a better light, damage someone else’s reputation, or other toxic intentions like those, you can be sure that you are gossiping, not just sharing information.
Sometimes there is a difference between what you want and what you achieve, but if your intent is good, at least you’ve done your best not to gossip. I have an article about being clingy vs affectionate and the purpose is a big difference there as well.
Read Also: Passive Aggressive Vs. Sarcasm
2. The tone
The tone we use when we talk about someone can make a difference, we all know when someone is gossiping judging by their tone.
It is funny because they might be whispering even in an empty room. So make sure you have a casual and confident tone when you share information if you don’t want to be perceived as gossip.
3. The secrecy
If it starts with” I tell you something but don’t tell anyone.” it’s gossip, and you can’t change my mind on that.
If you talk about someone, but you don’t want them to hear, that is a clear sign that you are gossiping and not sharing information.
There might be a situation where the information you want to share about someone you know might help the person in front of you, but you know that the person you are talking about will not like that you are sharing that. This is a bit of a complicated situation if you are 100% sure it doesn’t affect them, but they are just paranoid or secretive. If you can avoid sharing their name, it would help in this situation, but they might find out due to the context anyway. So I can’t give you any advice in this type of situation because the circumstances are different from case to case.
If you are sure that the person you are talking about will not mind finding out that you’ve said that, or you might be willing to tell them that you shared that thing about them, you should not worry about being perceived as gossiping. It might still happen, but at least you know you’ve done your best.
4. The impact
Does it affect the person you are talking about negatively, positively, or not at all?
There are situations where talking about someone can positively impact their reputation, so it’s hard to be perceived as gossiping if that was also your intention when you talked about them. There are rare occasions when what you say has a bad intention, but it ends up being good for that person, but this is more like “any publicity is good publicity”, but you were still gossiping.
5. The authenticity
Sharing facts you know for sure helps reduce the chances of you gossiping while sharing rumors increases those chances. That doesn’t mean that you can’t gossip by telling the truth. It depends on the other factors we discussed in this article.
Is talking about other people all that bad?
As we said a few times, most people talk about other people around them, it is a natural thing to do. The worst thing you can do is to lie to yourself and try to avoid talking about other people at all, that will make you not open up with friends and family, which leads to surface-level discussions.
Sometimes talking about other people might help the person you are talking with. There are a limited number of experiences and personal examples you can use in a discussion when you want to help, support, encourage or motivate someone, so talking about other people gives you more options and more stories to tell.
Also, your personal experiences might not be relevant to the person in front of you, so you should not be afraid of talking about someone else’s experiences.
If you know your intentions are good, you should not judge yourself for talking about other people, even if you might be misunderstood, and people will think you are gossiping.
Good friendships and relationships come from being honest and saying what you think. Many people limit themselves because they are afraid of how other people will perceive them, and this way, they reduce the chances of making real connections and close friendships.
Read Also: Should You Tell Your Friends Your Salary?
There are some clear differences between gossip and sharing information, but knowing and respecting them might not mean that you can guarantee that people do not perceive you as gossiping. You just lower your chances, but people have different points of view when it comes to gossip, and it is very easy and convenient to throw anything in the “gossip basket”.