We’ve been brought up to think that bitching is bad. Very bad. But a new study could be about to change all that.
We know, we know all do it. Sometimes you’re just so narked that you just HAVE to grab your pal and let rip. But obviously you wouldn’t dream of actually saying it to the person’s face, oh no.
Still, you always end up feeling a little guilty afterwards, right? Well, you might need to relax. Because social psychologists are claiming that having a bit of a bitch is actually GOOD for us.
‘When we talk about someone behind their back, an emotional bond develops with the person we’re speaking to,’ lecturer Dr Jenny Cole told Marie Claire. ‘And that bond is stronger when the information is negative.’
We can kind of understand that – it’s not unusual to feel like you’re BFFs with your bitching partner after a hefty session, is it? But why is that?
‘Because it’s riskier to share a negative view, so the trust between you and that person becomes greater,’ Dr Cole explains.
Of course, there are limits. And having too much negativity in your life is never going to lead to a happy, healthy you.
‘Carried to extremes, [bitching] can of course be harmful,’ Robin Dunbar, professor of Evolutionary Psychology at Oxford University, added. ‘But I think its primary function is to maintain the stability of the little community you belong to by establishing a collective view.
‘If so-and-so is behaving in a way you think is wrong, you hope eventually they’ll get to hear of it through the group.’
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Of course, being 2016, bitching has become alot more complicated now that social media and email are involved. In fact, it’s pretty much always a bad idea to send a snarky email – above anything, you never know whose hands it could end up in!
It can also leave your comments to being misinterpreted, which no one wants. ‘In person we’ll say, “Did you hear about what X did?” and whether or not we carry on will be based on the body language and expressions of the other person,’ Robin added.
‘Online, we don’t get that feedback, which is why you often get a lot of people hitting “send” before they’ve really considered the response!’
So there you have it. Bitching can be good for bonding, but if you ask us? It’s much better to play nice.