Are you the office gossip?

Or the gossip in your group of friends? Well, here’s how to know the difference between being a social butterfly and an information vulture.

Do you IM all day long? Instant message, that is? Well, then you’re probably a gossip. British researchers found that instant messaging is the most common way MEN share gossip. So here’s how to get a handle on it. Maintain this rule: Don’t IM anything you wouldn’t email. That’s from the book, "Business Etiquette For Dummies."

Next, what type of information revs your engine? Well, it’s probably obvious, but if you love to dish the dirt – and can’t wait to spread the news when bad stuff happens to people you know, that’s selfish and hurtful. Bottom line, you’re a gossip. But if you pass on good news, people will think of you in a more positive light.

Then, check your motives. Bad gossips are looking for attention or power – rather than simply sharing information. So resist the urge to add a negative spin on things when you don’t know the full story. Like, "Bob got called into the big guy’s office. I bet he’s getting canned!" You don’t know that.

He might have been called in and offered a promotion.

And the final sign that you’re a gossip – you don’t feel guilty about gossiping until you get caught! Psychologist Tracy Turner says the worst gossips don’t feel any conscience pangs until it’s too late. So before you start spreading rumors, ask yourself, "Would I say this to so-and-so’s face?" If not, don’t say it to anyone else. And if others are gossiping and trying to get you to chime in, simply say, "I’m not going to talk about people who aren’t around to defend themselves." Your friends may roll their eyes, but when push comes to shove, they’ll be more likely to trust you with information and think of you more highly.

Comment on this story

Related Stories