Gossip People

12-November 2009

In this little town called Pagbilao, nosiness and gossipmongering are acceptable. The townspeople engage in it unabashedly. If you happen to be the unfortunate subject of their repartee, they would talk about you even if you’re within hearing distance. Some of them would even have the audacity to point at you, especially if their mate is having a little trouble identifying you in the crowd. I know this seems like a scene from a movie, but for once, they’re not exaggerating!

This morning, after I’ve taken my daughter to school, I thought I’d enjoy a few minutes of peace and quiet whilst I enjoy my first cup of coffee for the day when I suddenly heard a commotion outside. Somebody was running amok! Curiosity got the better of me so I peek outside my window to see what the ruckus is all about.

I didn’t see the man who’s just been cussing and hurling threats. However, I noticed that practically all my neighbors were standing outside, apparently enjoying the drama. Some of them were gathered in small groups, probably already analyzing the psychological makeup and assessing the family background of this emotionally disturbed bloke… I smiled at myself because I’m really not that different. I am, after all, also looking outside – except that I am probably more curious about my neighbors than about this man.

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In recent years researchers have turned to the study of gossip — our predilection for talking about people who are not present. As it turns out, gossip serves a useful social function in bonding group members together. In the distant past, when humans lived in small bands and meeting strangers was a rare occurrence, gossip helped us survive and thrive.

Only in the past decade or so have psychologists turned their attention toward the study of gossip, partially because it is difficult to define exactly what gossip is. Most researchers agree that the practice involves talk about people who are not present and that this talk is relaxed, informal and entertaining. Typically the topic of conversation also concerns information that we can make moral judgments about. Gossip appears to be pretty much the same wherever it takes place; gossip among co-workers is not qualitatively different from that among friends outside of work. Although everyone seems to detest a person who is known as a “gossip” and few people would use that label to describe themselves, it is an exceedingly unusual individual who can walk away from a juicy story about one of his or her acquaintances, and all of us have firsthand experience with the difficulty of keeping spectacular news about someone else a secret.

In his book Grooming, Gossip, and the Evolution of Language (Harvard University Press, 1996), Psychologist Robin Dunbar of the University of Liverpool in England suggested that gossip is a mechanism for bonding social groups together, analogous to the grooming that is found in primate groups. Sarah R. Wert, now at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and Peter Salovey of Yale University have proposed that gossip is one of the best tools that we have for comparing ourselves socially with others.

Source: The Science of Gossip: Why We Can’t Stop Ourselves

Juvenile and Restless

9-November 2009

Back in the days when girls were supposed to be all sugar and spice and everything nice, we were the clueless angst-ridden rebels who thought it’s more fun to defy the norms. Some of us were merely getting back at overly stringent parents, others were just into the identity crisis bandwagon and a few more were just hungry for a sense of belongingness. As for me, I was simply curious.

I wasn’t blaming my parents, teachers, the Catholic church, the school system or the government for my actions. I just really wanted to see what it’s like and how it feels. I just wanted to have a bit of fun.

Unfortunately, like most 14-year old kids, we weren’t very careful. We were impulsive and even boastful… We should have kept our mouth shut and just waited until we were past that juvenile delinquency phase.

Amazingly, it seems that the stigma has persisted amongst our peers even after a decade and a half later. During high school reunions, old classmates would still refer to us as the unruly bunch or the “detention girls” (batang guidance office). They would still look at us like we’re still the same “disturbed” kids. Never mind that some of us have become successful in our chosen careers, have turned out to be good parents or are now leading a much more “peaceful” existence.

But I reckon, I couldn’t really blame them. After all, everyone at some level are guilty of judging others based on impressions, little knowledge and a few bits of memories of their “wonder” years. We were sort of infamous then for our recklessness — that’s how we are remembered.

I have no regrets though. I had a blast and it was good 🙂

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Children often test the limits and boundaries set by their parents and other authority figures. Among adolescents, some rebelliousness and experimentation is common. However, a few children consistently participate in problematic behaviors that negatively affect their family, academic, social, and personal functioning.

About Juvenile Delinquents

Some studies holds that stigmatizing labels generally feed a self-fulfilling prophecy to juveniles, supporting social labeling theory. On the other hand, there are a number of studies and research evidence that says that stigmatizing labels have no effect on juveniles’ behavior; some, although very few, even hold that stigmatizing labels actually reduce delinquent acts. It is a “right and wrong” theory. Social labeling theory really deals with how “society reacts to individuals” and how “individuals react to society.”

Evaluating Labeling Theory of Juvenile Delinquency

Can a relationship survive without sex?

8-November 2009

When my friend told me that he and his partner haven’t had sex for a very long time because his partner said she just couldn’t help but still imagine him having sex with this other woman whom he’s had an affair with more than a year ago, I couldn’t help but wonder why they’re still together.

Why would you cling on to a relationship that has apparently stagnated? How could you possibly still live with somebody whom you absolutely detest? It seems to me that she’s lost her trust on him and that she still could not forgive him for his infidelity.

My friend told me that she wouldn’t even kiss him and whenever he tries to hold her, she’d make up an excuse about how tired she is, or how her bones are achy, etc. He said at first he thought, she was just punishing him for what he did and all will be forgiven and forgotten eventually. However, now he’s beginning to doubt whether she could ever really forgive him and move on with their relationship.

I really don’t understand her reasons for not booting my friend out after all this time. I reckon a year would be enough time for anybody to assess their feelings and decide whether or not they should continue with the relationship. I also couldn’t help but ask, is it better to be in a bad relationship than not to be in a relationship at all?

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A relationship needs intimacy. Regardless of whether it’s a physical intimacy or an emotional intimacy, your relationship will slowly wither and die without it… You cannot create a physical intimacy without the emotional intimacy, nor can you have complete emotional intimacy without the physical aspect as well.

If you can’t be intimate with your partner, whether physically or emotionally- or both, you cannot expect to having a lasting relationship with your partner. The reason for this is quite simple. Without the emotional and physical bond between mates, there’s nothing to hold onto when things get rough and both partners find themselves feeling as though they’ve got no anchor to keep them safe in the rocky ocean of life.

Can a relationship survive without intimacy?
by Samantha Vincent