Feeling good about being bad:
Researchers say that a little bit of gossip is healthy. It's what keeps the culture going, greasing the social machinery.
It's almost like being told that cigarettes are good for you.
“It's a social skill, not a character flaw,” says Frank McAndrew a professor of psychology at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill. “It's only when you don't do it well that you get into trouble.”
Gossip is almost always mean-spirited and frequently destructive. I don't mean to sound holier-than-thou. I've engaged in my share -- more than my share, probably. But at least I've had the decency to feel guilty about it sometimes.
It may not be a character faw, but gossip is certainly a weakness that should be resisted. The same kind of self-doubt and envy that make us succumb to prejudice also fuel gossip. We spread bad rumors about others -- usually with absolutely no evidence -- in order to convince ourselves that we are better than the gossipee.