Gossip (Tratsch) is everywhere, both at work and at home and both men and women do it.
But gossip doesn’t have a good name (steht in schlechtem Ruf) and many people think it is a waste of time , often damaging relationships and making teamwork difficult. All that talking behind your back ( hinter deinem Rücken reden) just can’t be good.
When is gossip positive?
- Gossip helps to build relationships (Beziehungen aufbauen) and strengthen groups
For sure there is an element of bonding involved when people confirm that they have common values and express similar opinions. As long as (solange) there is no malicious intent (böswillige Absicht) this bonding can really bring people closer.
- Gossip is an important Information channel
Gossip is a kind of informal networking. Those informal chats (Schwatz/Plauderei) in corridors or at the coffee machine can be a very important source of Information. Gossip is a way to get to the truth about what is really going on or what people really think.
So a kind of grapevine (Buschtrommel) through which important Information is spread.
- Gossip can help to spread good news
Gossiping about good news and positive thoughts about the performance of others can help to spread success stories about staff and their projects. Rumour has it (es wird gemunkelt) that managers are using this aspect of gossip more and more.
So gossip isn’t always negative, especially when some subjects are kept off-limits (tabu). Combined with small talk and networking, gossip can form a powerful Information channel and provide an opportunity for relationship building. To decide whether gossip is negative or positive we need to look at the intention behind it. Do we talk about someone in order to support and understand them or rather to undermine (Autorität untergraben) them? So make sure you are a positive gossip and don’t forget
whoever gossips to you will gossip about you
Now have fun practising the vocabulary with this short quiz:
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