Saving gossip for the hallway


Marianna Marsden

(photo illustration)

Kitty Knorr, Writer

When the bell rings, students flee from class and flock into hallways. Passing periods host hallway chatter, students giggle…about other students, because gossip plagues teenage minds. Gossip has existed ever since man could communicate: Ancient Egyptians were tattle-taling on one another in hieroglyphs and then Romans were caught spreading secrets in the forum. Nowadays passive aggressive attitudes have produced passive aggressive subtweets –but the art of gossiping has remained ever present and popular.

The dictionary defines gossip as “a conversation about other people, an instance of gossiping; a person who likes talking about other people’s private lives.” While gossip forms one of the oldest and most common means of spreading and sharing facts and views, it also has a reputation for the introduction of errors and other variations into the information transmitted. The term also carries implications that the news shared tends to be personal.

More often than not, high school gossip is used in a way that is mean and sarcastic. However ironically, sharing gossip has been proven to create close ties –as humans tend to bond over a mutual dislike of a third party. So if you’re wondering why people spread stories that may or may not contain the truth, it’s simply due in part to the social norms of human nature driven by the desire to be liked. However, humanity is also raised to believe in treating others how you would want to be treated.

While spreading personal news about someone may feel like a great idea, more often than not, it’s terrible. When we are on the receiving end of the gossip, it’s easy to giggle. However sometimes instead of hearing the latest buzz, you are the buzz. And while all situations differ, approach any situation with maturity before you decide to partake in the gossip’s journey across campus.

The negative effects of gossip include strained relationships, mistrust, anger and even decreased productivity. Typically routine gossips tend to be more insecure than others. So it makes sense for high schoolers to hear the brunt of gossip–as a crowded group of low self-esteem youths share information deemed “juicy.”

Gossip is a very powerful tool–and with great power, comes great responsibility. So learn to step back and think before you speak. No one should ever have to compromise his or her integrity to tell a story. Be a good listener, consider the source and even though it’s way easier said than done, never take other people opinions of you too seriously.