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Good gossip is the life-blood of community. Bad gossip is a virulent toxin that can poison and kill relationships. What's the difference? From time immemorial people have been gossiping around the well. Who is in love? Who cow had a calf? How's the harvest? What's for dinner? That's all good gossip. This might be bad gossip: Have you heard what so-and-so did to somebody? Did you know that who-and-who have been sneaking out to the next village in the middle of the night? How can you tell good gossip from bad?

As a rule of thumb, Good gossip includes 1) information you have permission to talk about and, 2) things you would be comfortable saying in the presence of whoever you are talking about.

As with all things, timing and circumstances must be considered, and it not always obvious whether a particular piece of gossip, even if it is Bad, is ok to share. But often gossip can be the type of intimate sharing that keeps people feeling connected and "in the know".


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