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Would you count this as "gossip"?

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I was reading some gossip magazines (my mom loves those, lol) and it made me think of the saying that "Hollywood is High School with a Paycheck."  I got to thinking, and I realized I don't think I ever "gossiped" growing up. 

Or did I? See, I'll admit what I used to do was vent about my friend's behavior. Some hypothetical examples:

  • "Ugh, I called her at 2 and she didn't call me back until 4!"
  • "She told me her necklace was from Kay jewelers, and then admitted it was from K-Mart! Hmpgh, why did she lie like that??"
  • "Why does she like that TV show? It's so dumb."


I'd say genuine examples of gossip would be more like this...

  • "She got a nose job last Summer and now her nose has permanent damage inside of it. Plus, she's taking out a bank loan for a high-quality boob job in Mexico."
  • "Tasha doesn't even like you that much. She said you cheated off her on the SATs."
  • "He ate his whole lunch under the table because he was so scared of her."

Gossip is obviously making up a lie(s) and telling everyone about it. I never, ever did that. As I said above, I admit I used to vent about my friend's behavior. Then the Summer I was 15 I decided to stop doing that. (I ended up having nothing but guy friends as a result, lol.)

I am curious though; would you say that my venting was still a form of gossip? Or was it simply that: me venting because obviously I was so annoyed/upset that I had been duped in some way?

All opinions/feedback welcome.  🙂   Thanks!


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According to Merriam Webster



Definition of gossip

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1adialectal British : GODPARENT


c: a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others; the worst gossip in town

2a: rumor or report of an intimate natures; preading gossip about their divorce

b: a chatty talk

c: the subject matter of gossip; Their breakup was common gossip.


So yes, while it frequently involves false or uncertified informations, telling everyone how your friend has a fake necklace is still gossip. You revealed intimate information your friend said to you to other people. "Venting" would be emotional expression. For example you telling how she didnt call you is venting. Telling everyone personal information other person wouldnt want them to know is gossiping. Doesnt matter if its true or not.

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Gossip just as frequently involves truth as it does lies.

Just because something is true doesn't mean it's nice to talk to others about it.

If your intent isn't to build that person up (such as, "Sarah graduated at the top of her class!!") then it's gossip and potentially hurtful.

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2 hours ago, TulipWriter said:
  • "Ugh, I called her at 2 and she didn't call me back until 4!"
  • "She told me her necklace was from Kay jewelers, and then admitted it was from K-Mart! Hmpgh, why did she lie like that??"
  • "Why does she like that TV show? It's so dumb."

Context and intent matters.


VENTING - You're annoyed she did this to you again, so you express your irritation to a friend.

GOSSIP - Linda the receptionist is talking about how Anna is annoying and you chime in with that sentence.

Edited by greendots
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Gossip to me is talking about someone behind that person's back and especially when you would not say it to them.  Exception -even though still gossip it's ok if the intention is true concern, imminent danger/harm to the person.  

It can be truth for sure -it's still gossip.  I think it puts you in a bad light -the examples you gave -you're telling a person who knows the other person critical things about that person that you may or may not have said directly to the person.  But, for example, I'm comfortable repeating something to my mother about my husband that I already discussed with him - like "I told him I didn't think he should wait to go to the dentist because it could become an emergency."  As opposed to "my husband won't even go to the dentist when he has throbbing pain. what is wrong with him?"  But if I knew my husband didn't want me to talk to my mom about his toothache I wouldn't share this with her.

Some gossip is much worse than other gossip but I find that people trust me because I am extremely careful not to gossip.  So they know they can confide in me.  Your comment about how dumb it was to like the tv show puts you in a bad light -it's mean spirited and designed to trigger more gossip. 

 Or, what I'll do is talk about a person my friend does not know, not use any names/details so I can vent or get input without harming the other person at all.

One situation where I am even more careful is in a work situation.  I absolutely will not talk about anyone behind anyone's back. And if I send an email to one person that refers to another person, and the other person has not yet been privvy to that information, I cc the other person.

  I will say something positive about a coworker but be careful -because even a positive comment can then trigger a negative one and then you are part of the gossip issue.  

Here's an example.  I met someone from my FB mom group in person a few years ago.  We were talking about work/jobs.  She is in a similar industry.  I mentioned my boss.  I mentioned how much I like working with her and how highly I respect her.  Technically "gossip" as she wasn't there but nothing I wouldn't say directly to her.  Well, turns out that my new friend went to the same place of worship as my boss -very coincidental.  Can you imagine if I had vented about my boss (hypothetically) and turned out this woman knew her??

Edited by Batya33
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Gossip could be completely true but it's usually shared in a snarky way.  As someone else mentioned, things said with bad intentions.

Don't talk about other people.  that's how you avoid being a gossip.  If it's not your story to tell, then just don't.

If someone does something to annoy you, tell them or drop it. If they are super annoying but you don't want to say anything, distance yourself from them.

Don't be a fake friend.

Edited by Lambert
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41 minutes ago, Lambert said:

Gossip could be completely true but it's usually shared in a snarky way.  As someone else mentioned, things said with bad intentions.

Yes, and what I learned a long time ago -which makes such good sense to me -is even if you're talking about someone in positive ways because you're talking behind their back the listeners might take it as an opportunity to counter with negative.  And you didn't but you've then triggered the mean-intentioned talk.  Like "did you see Ann's new home -it's beautiful - I know she always wanted to live in that neighborhood" Listener "well I heard that she wanted to show up her in-laws who couldn't afford a home in that neighborhood".

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The problem with venting about someone by name is that the person who hears you will likely wonder what complaints you vent to others about them.

So the technical term of 'gossip' is kind of irrelevant because we can still erode the trust of others by being critical of another.

A safe rule of thumb might be to limit venting to people who don't know one another, and keep it nameless. Make it less about complaining and more about problem-solving.

For instance, asking for advice about how to handle an issue with someone nameless and unknown to your listener can still get your needs met while presenting as a legitimate desire to make your relationships better rather than coming off as though you just want to tear down someone else.

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