Why Some People Gossip

Why gossip? We humans gossip to deflect it from ourselves. If we are part of circles who gossip, we WILL become a target eventually, unless we find ways to deflect others looking at US, and how we do that is to point AWAY from ourselves, at someone else.

Gossipers are bent on maintaining their approval rating, just like people in the media, and just like politicians, they will use smearing for this purpose.
"Did you see what SHE did? Did you hear what HE did?! Look how he's dressed! Look at her car! Look at that hair! Does he/she even have a JOB?"

Projection usually plays a large part in Gossip dynamics. The person who is judging herself, or feels inadequate, for her housework is the one who is going to gossip about the housework of someone else. The person who is fixated on sex is the one who is going to think about and talk about the sex life of someone else.

Deflecting the judgments of others onto someone else keeps that same judgmental focus off of one's self. When we are the one pointing the finger (away from ourselves, AT someone else), we also give the impression that we are ENTITLED to be one of the finger-pointers, and therefore that we are "above" and one of the "authority people".

Gossipers HATE IT when people talk about gossip and negativity, or stand up against it, because they are heavily invested in keeping blame and negative judgment OFF of themselves. They may be terrified of being seen in a negative light, because they more than anyone are aware of how much harm gossip, slander, and ostracism can cause to a target's life; they don't want to be a target for anything.

There is one main reason people choose a specific person to gossip about; because they're an easier target. Those who are already treated with disdain or disrespect by others for petty reasons, those who others harbor envy toward, those who have already been slandered, and those who are isolated, natural loners, or who simply don't seem to have a large support network due to any reason at all (family lives in another town, friends have moved away, their supports have died, whatever) are easy targets. People who live in another area away from the gossip group are also easy targets.

The gossiper tests the water first to see how their criticism of this person will be accepted. If they find that others also harbor envy and/or disdain toward the person (picture the "fat kid" in school, or the "nerd/smart kid", or the "ugly girl", or the "rich kid" or "poor kid", etc.), they'll continue with their smear campaign, embellishing more and more, trying to provoke an emotional response from listeners. They know they've succeeded when the listener starts agreeing with them, going down the same slander road.

The process is not difficult at all, most of us do the same thing on some level, with all kinds different topics. Sales people often disparage another product to make their own seem more valuable, pointing out the "flaws" of the other product but hiding the flaws in their own. We even point out "flaws" in our own lives to explain why we changed something, such as saying how we "had to" get another car because the other one was flawed in some way (this may or may not be true, but we tend to make a point of saying it whether or not the person asks; we're probably afraid of being judged for buying a new car, ESPECIALLY if we live in a Gossipy area.)

Disparaging others in order to elevate ourselves, either to their face or behind their back, or both, is unfortunately commonly human, as is picking one's nose, eating too much, over-spending, passing gas, and ignoring the real plights of others. One of these things can't be stopped, but can be controlled. The rest of them don't need to happen at all, we choose to do them, which is the same thing as when we don't stop ourselves from doing them. (We can't "help" gas, but we can go in the bathroom. We CAN "help" doing the rest of those things.)

An extra note about gossip, those who do it seem to believe that everyone does it, and that those who don't simply just aren't one of the "in crowd" people, or they're "shy" or have "low self esteem". Those who don't gossip are much more aware of reality, and are much less likely to disparage YOU, or anyone else, because they are not worried about being accepted by the "crowd". They don't gain their sef-confidence from getting a feeling of acceptance or approval from other people, especially from those who disparage others.