Have you heard the latest? There's nothing wrong with gossip. Passing on juicy tidbits can act as a social lubricant, and a new study shows that kibitzers carefully control what they send down the grapevine: good things about friends and bad things about same-sex rivals. “It’s a social skill, not a character flaw,” a psych professor tells MSNBC.
The distinction might shed light on a recent switch in gossip mags' focus. Modern readers are more likely to view celebs as friends and are more interested in hearing good things than nasty dirt (although Paris might disagree). The study also reveals that men usually gossip with romantic partners, while women swap stories with both lovers and friends.