Us girls, and I guess some boys (although they'll never admit it), love nothing more than a good gossip session. When the urge hits, when you see something or hear something that's worth sharing, there's no stopping the gossip steam train – in fact with such an abundance of gossip fodder – in magazines, on television, online, and in the workplace - it is truly amazing that we find time for anything else!
I do consider myself to be somewhat of a gossip fiend, in both the gifted and mischievous sense. Admittedly my favourite goss point is the workplace. It's an ideal spot because there is usually so much material to work with - you've got the office pin-ups, the suck-ups, the nemeses, and of course, the icing on the cake - the office relationships. All in all it's a mind field of hot gossip opportunities.
In the absence of an office water cooler I have often found that in the work place the kitchen and infrequently the ladies bathroom dutifully serve as excellent gossip spots. Although in my last work place we did work out (somewhat belatedly) that the adjacent positioning of the men's bathrooms was such that they could hear everything we were saying (squeals and all) – and indeed on finding this out we were all relieved to recall that men don't gossip! (although I can't say I was completely reassured).
Anyhow, the office isn't the only playground for chatter. In this day and age we are confronted with a boundless array of resources for us to tap into to the goss grapevine - facebook, myspace, messenger, email, sms, and twitter - to just name a few provide us with ample means to satiate our hunger for the juicy stuff.
So what are the key ingredients that make for a good gossip session? With the assistance of some fellow gossip junkies I have put together a list of the essentials: -
1. Everyone needs to know who or what you are talking about. No-one likes to hold up the momentum of a good story with having to fill in the gaps for the less in-tune.
2. Trustworthy co-gossipers. Always be suspicious of a new face chiming in on the gossip band wagon, particularly in the workplace, no one likes a snitch.
3. Good sources. As technology evolves there is a list of ever growing resources we can use to collect gossip that is hot off the press so there are no more excuses for stale stories!
4. Gossip is a two way street. Make sure if you're participating in the gossip session you have something to add to the conversation. Something as simple as an affirmative “I noticed that too” or a simple head nod will often do the trick.
5. A secure gossip spot. As already noted, this is a very important factor. In the workplace, the kitchen was often a safe site more so after the morning coffee rush but you can never be too careful. And for those of you who think otherwise the partitions in offices are not sound proof even to whispering!
6. Nothing malicious. As they say, treat others as you would have them treat you, and yes while sometimes there can be a fine line between nasty and nice (as there is between insanity and genius) when it comes down to it, gossip (particularly about colleagues, and acquaintances) should be as far as is possible harmless. A good rule of thumb is to reason what the gossipee's reaction would be if she/he overheard what you were saying - if it's more in the order of a defamation suit than a giggle it's probably best to keep that bit of chit chat to yourself or if you must, between you and some trusted mates.
So there you have it. The ultimate guide to good gossiping. Now go forth and gossip!