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Gossips Work Differently for Male and Female Friendships

Update Date: May 24, 2012 01:50 PM EDT
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The fact that men love gossiping as much as women do is a known and accepted fact. While relevant topics for gossip for men and women differ a lot, a study reveals that the effect of those conversations on the friendship also differs for men and women pals.

A Canadian researcher claims that while gossiping together brings men closer, it could actually threaten friendships among women.

"I was surprised to find that the relationship between friendship and gossip was different for men compared to women," says study author Dr. David C. Watson, an assistant professor of psychology at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, according to MSNBC.

The study published online in the journal Sex Roles was conducted on 167 female and 69 male college students who were asked to complete both a "friendship" and "tendency to gossip" questionnaire. The age of the students ranged from 17 years to 29 years.

The results of the study revealed that girls had a very high tendency of talking or gossiping about another person's appearance and their scores were higher on "social information gossip" which included information like "who's dating whom" etc.

However, men apparently scored higher on "achievement related gossip," which includes boasting about achievements such as pay rises, etc.

Apart from the differences in the topics of gossip, the main and important difference lies in the effect of gossips on their friendships, the report said.

"The male friendship is more characterized by engaging in group activities," explains Watson, "so gossip can serve to enhance the bond between individuals within the group."

On the other hand, female friendships 'run deeper.' Women tend to chat a lot about physical appearance, and this can actually threaten their friendships.

"Female friendships are more characterized by communion or intimacy. Gossip can be more of a threat to the relationship than it does in male friendships," says Watson.

Watson notes that gossip can be positive, negative or neutral, and has the potential to hurt and harm, even though it is an integral part of a society and has a place in the "social glue," reports Daily Mail.

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