How Karma drop kicks the negative gossipers while you get on with business

Here’s a comforting thought for those whose intention to try and do something to shake up their life is – to a lesser or greater degree – confounded and challenged by malign gossipers:

The people whose reputations they trash the most are their own.

It sounds like wishful thinking, of course: After all you might pin a desperate hope to a prayer wheel for karmic justice to drop-kick some righteous vengeance on their yapping head. But it wouldn’t really happen. Would it?

The good news is that real data says the drop-kick is real. A study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology says  – to me – that gossip karma is lashing out.

The study showed that prolific gossipers are perceived as weak and moreover that negative gossipers were not just weak and lacking social power but also unliked. Sweet!

Alas, we all gossip to some degree. Other studies have shown how important gossip is to enable the spread of information within a society. But the study found that the more you gossip the more your social power diminishes.

However, those of us who say nice things about people behind their back are at least liked. Those of who say unpleasant things about people behind their backs are disliked.

In other words the negative attitude of the malign gossiper becomes associated with them.

And so it goes.




Is gossip power? The inverse relationships between gossip, power, and likability.

Sally D Farley, University of Baltimore



When the ones who dislike become the ones who are disliked.

Bertram Gawronski, University of Western Ontario

Eva Walther, University of Trier