Everyone likes to share juicy information with their friends from time to time, but you don't want to be that person who overshares private information or is constantly focusing on the life of others. To make sure you're not going overboard, you'll want to watch out for these signs you gossip too much. It's one thing to talk about your old high school friend who just got engaged on Facebook, but it's another to reveal personal stories that potentially put down another person or breach their trust.
According to therapist Carrie Krawiec, LMFT, some discussion about other people is good for us, as it helps us to process and understand the world around us and connect to others in order to gain awareness of our own dynamics. However, there are forms of gossip that are worse than others. "Usually with gossip we are not trying to process our own experience of another person we are trying in some misguided selfish way to build our selves up, tear someone else down, or feel superior like we are 'in the know," she says in an email.
To make sure you're not making others feel bad or breaking their trust, you'll want to make sure you're keeping your gossip to a minimum. Here are seven ways you can tell if you gossip too much.
1. The People Around You Love Drama
When you spend your time constantly gossiping, you'll find that the friends you attract tend to be negative. "People that are attracted to gossip usually also enjoy drama and don't really care who gets hurt," says psychologist Michele Barton PhD over email. "You may be the ones spilling the gossip today, and tomorrow you could easily be spilled with it."
2. You Can't Wait To Tell Secrets
You know that you gossip too much if you notice that as soon as you hear a secret, you start thinking about who you can tell," says therapist Sarah E. Clark, LMFT, LMHC, CVRT over email. "People who don’t gossip feel honored that someone has confided in them rather than wanting to pass on the latest info."
3. People Stop Sharing With You
When people hear how often you share information, they're not as likely to trust you, and they may be more cautious about divulging their own information. "If you notice that people stop confiding in you, it may mean that you have developed a reputation of being untrustworthy with secrets because of your habit of gossiping," says Clark.
4. You Have Trouble Coming Up With Other Conversation
"Many people who have developed a habit of talking about others often find that they don’t know what to talk about if someone else isn’t the topic of conversation," says Clark. "Talking about other people is one of the easiest forms of conversation, so you have to dig a bit deeper when you want to kick the habit."
5. You Feel Better About Yourself When Sharing Info
There are numerous reasons that people gossip, but most people enjoy it because it gives them a fleeting, feel-good moment. "Whether it is because it distracts you from your own life for a bit, you like the feeling of being the center of attention, or because it gives you a boost to put someone else down, you are gaining something from your habit," says Clark. "The downside is that you often feel worse after that moment is over."
6. People Come To You With Juicy Information
Your more private friends may shy away from your loose lips, but other gossips will be drawn to you and know you enjoy a good piece of information. "If you notice that most of your friends and coworkers come to you with gossip, it may mean that you have participated in it often enough to give the impression that you enjoy gossip or hearing others put down," says Clark.
7. People Are Talking About You
"If you have been labeled as someone who gossips all the time, you will notice that others will start talking about your habit," says Clark. "They will gossip about your gossiping. If you are lucky, someone might even bring it to your attention directly. Once you recognize that you gossip too, often you can start to break the habit."