Do you like talking about other people?

I have a dirty little secret.

I like talking about other people. In fact I don’t just like it, I love it. It’s one of my most favourite things to do from a conversational point of view.

Back in my triathlon days, where all my friends were triathletes, Mr X couldn’t think of anything he’d rather do less than sit down in a room of triathletes. That was because all you guys do is talk about triathlon. Correction Mr X. Sure we talked about triathlon, but more than anything we talked about each other.

Which brings me to a little story. Just recently I was chatting to a fellow blogger (let’s call her Jen*) about another blogger we both ‘know’ (ie as much as you can know someone you have never actually met in real life. Let’s call her Jerry*). Jen mentioned something about Jerry that made me laugh so hard I actually crashed into a fence (Jen and I were riding along a bike path at the time). After Jen herself had a little crash of her own (oh the fun we had that day!) she said make sure you tell Jerry she was responsible for my first bike crash!

As I was riding home that morning I thought to myself – how on earth do I relate this little (hilarious!!) story to Jerry? I will have to start with the fact that we were talking about her and I know there are a lot of people out there who do not like being talked about – they consider it gossip.

Here’s the definition of gossip:

Now, for all that I love talking about other people, I do not consider myself a gossip. I think gossip is nasty and I while I am not going to pretend that I have never gossiped, as a general rule I do not do it. I don’t want to know the salacious details of a person’s life. If I am talking about someone with someone else, my motivation is something else entirely.

You see, people fascinate me.  I want to know what makes them tick.

Human behaviour fascinates me. I want to know what makes someone react a certain way to a certain situation. What makes them screw their nose up or roll their eyes or squeal with delight. I love knowing everything I can about pretty much anyone – whether I’ve met them in real life or not.

If I drill down deeper I find this: I don’t like upsetting people. I don’t like saying something inadvertently that could be seen as insensitive. At the same time, I don’t want to be second guessing everything I say just in case I might offend someone. The more I know about someone, the more relaxed I can be around them and the better I can connect with them.

And that’s why I LOVE talking about people. That why I love talking about YOU with someone else that knows you. It’s because I truly believe the better we all understand and KNOW each other, the lovelier the world will be!

What do you think?

Am I just trying to justify being a dirty, rotten gossip? Or is it possible to talk about other people in polite society today without feeling bad?! Let me know your thoughts!


P.S. The lovely Maria just reminded me in the comments of one thing I do adhere to when I am talking about other people to other people. I am not perfect, but I do try to stick to the adage of never saying something about someone that I wouldn’t say directly to their face. I definitely think the world would be an AMAZING place if we all stuck to this one!


* Not their names of course :) Notice the fictional names both start with J though? That is because when I was little and I used to write stories, ALL my main protagonists had names starting with J. How funny is that?!



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  1. says

    Hi Kelly,

    I find people fascinating too and their motivations. But I have a rule, I wouldn’t say anything about them I wouldn’t be comfortable saying directly to them. I often tell people if I’ve talked about them. I haven’t come across anyone who has been upset when I’ve told them.

    Love & stuff
    Mrs M

  2. says

    I agree Kelly, finding out what makes people tick is so interesting, and sometimes I might talk about other people’s behaviour and motivation to a close friend in order to get a different take on why people do or say certain things. So I guess I do like to gossip, because I do talk about other people – but only in a nice way, and in an effort to understand them better. I would never put someone down. I think the word “Gossip” as a noun has the connotation of being nasty because it implies that a Gossip is somebody who says nasty things about people in an effort to discredit them somehow or to get the upper hand in some way.

    • says

      I am so glad to hear we are in agreeance Johanna! I love talking about people, but do NOT love talking about people in a malicious or nasty way – and I definitely think gossip is more about the latter than the former!

  3. says

    I thimnk life would be pretty boring if we didn’t talk about other people!! I also find it’s a great way to broaden one’s community and network of friends.

    But if it’s done with ill-intent, to make the person you are talking to think less of the other person, then that is a whole different kettle of fish!

    And I live by the rule that it will all get back to them anyway, so you’d better be ready to back it up! lol

  4. Betty says

    I agree, it’s a natural part of everyday life, talking, questioning, laughing, learning. We couldn’t do any of this if we didn’t talk about one another.

    • says

      Ha! I will tell you the story if ever we meet ;) It was one of those ‘of course, I can’t believe I didn’t pick up on that’ type of situations!

  5. says

    First, you are not gossiping you are relaying a funny story. Just like we all do with our blogs. It is a real life RT if you will.

    Secondly, Moo had to write a story to get into a selective entry school. Her story was deemed so good she got in without interview. All the characters had names starting with J. Coincidence?