Rumour has it that men gossip less than women. For a long time, I believed in it.
One time, I stormed out of the office pantry and approached a group of chattering male colleagues. I remembered saying two things to them: (A) Which one of you drank my coffee? (B) What are you guys chatting about?
Knowing well that they were chatting about our colleague who got fired two hours ago, I didn’t describe their nature of conversation as gossiping. In fact, it didn’t feel natural to use that word at all.
My close friend, who was equally baffled by this, shared the same sentiment.
“Guys gossip all the time,” she said while adding that they rarely admitted it.
Urban Dictionary describes gossiping as ‘talking shit about someone as soon as they turn their backs’.
Call yourself a sinner or a saint; we’re all guilty of it.
Out of all the men I spoke to, only one stood his ground and said he has never gossiped about anyone. Little did my guy friend realised, we talked about our friend’s relationship drama not too long ago.
And that counts as gossip.
The rest confessed to indulging in gossiping sessions of their own. In fact, they were open to sharing their thoughts that lie beyond the stereotype.
Now that we’ve been invited to join their circle…
What do the men gossip about anyway?
1. They gossip about someone they know
Izham, a student, agrees that men gossip as much as women. “Personally, it’s because I am one myself and I do gossip a lot with other people,” he confessed. “Guys who are accused of gossiping would be defensive and try to hide behind the guise of not calling it gossiping.”
His last gossip happened recently when Izham found out that his female friend screwed up. “We were talking behind her back,” he said. “It was a hot topic and we also see it as a way of spreading information among each other.”
Why he did it: “Honestly, it was because we were bored and the topic just came up,” he admitted. “My friend mentioned her name and the story flowed instantly.”
I loved it when digital manager AC* said that the gender stereotyping of ‘only women gossip’ is as true as ‘only women need oxygen to breathe’. When it comes to this social habit, he believes the only difference is that women are more dramatic when sharing information.
In fact, gossiping is as simple as that. For AC, it was merely an act of sharing information about someone to another person.
One time, he found out that one of his colleagues was leaving the company. When he heard the news, he decided to share this information with his closest workmate.
Why he did it: “It was surprising news,” AC declared. At that time, everyone was curious about the said colleague’s decision to leave the company. Hence, that news prompted him to share this information with someone else.
2. They gossip to vent out frustrations
IT manager Joel Fabian Don openly admits that he hasn’t spread a rumour about anyone. However, he confessed to gossiping when he meets his friends for drinks.
Joel described a real-life scenario where a particular gossip circulated around his friend (let’s call him, Aaron*).
Apparently, Aaron owed money to some people.
“So I was gossiping to the rest about what he had done and everything. Eventually, Aaron found out what I did and we fought,” he explained. “He has changed into a better person now. I guess gossiping isn’t a bad thing.”
Why he did it: Joel happened to be one of the people that Aaron owed money to, which explains why he gossiped out of frustration. “Aaron dented my trust. Finding out how irresponsible he was disappointed me further.”
Freelancer Kevin Chen* shared that expressive or egoistic men have a higher tendency to engage in gossiping, especially when a third party is seen as a threat or rival. “Sometimes, a clash in personalities and belief can also result in active gossiping on one or both sides.”
Kevin used to work in an agency and experienced his fair share of office politics. When frustration from a boss or colleague mounts, gossiping was his way to vent his frustrations.
“We were having lunch. While we were discussing workplace issues, we somehow ended up gossiping about our superior,” he summarised. For him, the gossiping topics revolved around problems or conflicts with friends and workmates.
Why he did it: Kevin needed it to understand if his situation was a common workplace issue that everyone faced in the office. That time, he also wanted to ensure that wasn’t put into the situation due to someone else’s personal agenda at work.
3. They gossip about relationships too
For women, cracking the code on our boyfriend’s or spouse’s feelings is tough. It may take a while for men to open up their feelings, but it’s a different scenario among close friends.
One time, content executive Henry C* found out that his friend has a crush on a girl. Coincidentally, he knows the girl’s sister.
“The two were getting along and all of a sudden, the girl ditched my friend for someone else.”
Surprised by their split, Henry sat down with the girl’s sister to find out the reason behind the break-up.
Why he did it: “Call it weird, I did it to make sure that my friend didn’t feel down about it,” Henry recounted. “I tried to get some scoop out of her sister, so I can understand why the girl did it and find out what my friend could have done wrong.”
Investment manager TJH* believes that men gossip as much as women. He also admits that it’s common for both men and women to be curious about the lives of others. TJH does not wish to disclose about what he normally gossiped about, but a friend’s relationship status pops up once in a while.
Why he did it: “My friends and I have always been curious about a friend’s love life, given the secretive nature on this particular subject,” TJH shared. “So when we meet up, the topic normally comes up whenever we see a new social media post by the said friend.”
How do men feel about the stereotype that only women gossip?
While talking behind someone’s back is a social habit that is frowned upon, gossiping is part of human nature.
When stereotyping that only women gossip, Henry feels that it’s a form of toxic masculinity, as if men don’t have their own gossip sessions as compared to women. “We pretty much do the same thing. The only reason why we categorise it as such is that we have been fed that women tend to do it more than men,” he shared. “In reality, it’s very similar.”
Izham disliked it completely. “People attach a negative stigma to women who just want to talk and discuss the current happenings in their lives. It’s not only women who gossip, everyone does,” he opined.
Kevin also stepped forward by agreeing that the gender-based stereotype is wrong. In fact, the gossiping nature between men and women are the same.
“The difference would be based on their purpose and delivery. Some men gossip for the sake of tarnishing reputation or boost their ego, while others do it to keep themselves and others informed about the latest news. Again, it depends on a person’s personality,” he concluded.
At the end of the day, we have to agree on one thing.
Whether we’re sharing information to someone or venting our frustration, gossiping is the guilty pleasure that everyone is guilty of.
*Names have been changed to protect their privacy
For more articles which sound like gossip, read I Had a Series of Wild Tinder Dates. Here’s What Happened, and Worst Dates Series: Horror Set-Up by a Friend.