“You know I don’t like him. He talks too much and is very arrogant. The other one is a nerd. When he talks, he makes no sense. Boring. The girl we just saw is weird. She told me that she doesn’t like you because of the thing that happened the other day. Come on man. She is not that smart you know. Oh and she is always talking behind people’s backs.”
“Dude, aren’t we doing that right now?”
This is an addiction. I am sure about that. I bet it raises the level of some obscure hormone in our prefrontal cortex so that we feel intoxicated while gossiping. It is a process that is hard to stop when it starts. And it is often hard not to start.
There are explanations for it in many domains, including evolutionary and group psychology. So be it. Any benefits though? It seems to be a complete waste of time. There is absolutely no creativity involved. No contribution to ideas. No learning. No value. No use. It’s more like a shot of tequila than a proper conversation. And one never stops at one shot.
If there is no way around it, perhaps there is a way to transform the content, make it useful. Instead of talking about the man or the woman, what they might have said or done, we could talk about their ideas. And only ideas! Who knows, that might generate a new set of ideas, which can be the topic of another session between other people.
Addictions are hard to get rid of. Bending them to give them a positive spin is almost impossible. In this case, that might just be possible.