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Why gossip is the best part of friendships

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 20/03/2019 Louis Wise
a person standing posing for the camera © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

I had dinner at my sister’s the other day, where she expressed frustration that some friends were gossiping about each other.

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My sister, to be clear, is a much better person than I. She’s thoughtful, she’s dutiful, she does good works on the side. Her husband does, too. About once a week I turn up at their house for a meal; a meal I never repay in kind. ‘How are you?’ they ask. ‘I’m very tired,’ I sigh, trying to make myself heard over the four-year-old and the two-year-old who are constantly stealing my shine.

Anyway, gossip. For once, I had to protest. Don’t all friends gossip about each other? Did I miss the memo? Isn’t that the main joy of having them — manoeuvring around your own life-size versions of Lego families, but with LinkedIn profiles and a sex drive? She thought it set the rot in — I thought rot was the whole point. I have a sweet tooth for gossip, and lord, I need a filling.

Getty © Getty Getty

I would be baffled if I didn’t talk about my friends. Who wants pals you don’t want to talk about? If they do something awful, or weird, or just plain silly, I want to discuss it with the other ones. At length. On every social media platform possible, even by Royal Mail. We often laugh about what would happen if our transcripts got leaked. It would be like when Sarah Michelle Gellar is shamed at the end of Cruel Intentions, but still with the promise of a better movie career after. I remember once there was a panic that all of our Facebook chats had gone public, and frantically texting my friend from the gym. ‘Can you see the GIFs?!’ I panted, pondering how Mark Zuckerberg had got control over my own personal nuclear button.

Sarah Michelle Gellar sitting on a couch © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited Sarah Michelle Gellar

The benefits of gossip are well known. The chance to analyse what your friends do is also a chance to understand yourself: to work out how you feel about making more money, or moving house, or trying threesomes with the dentist. It helps you bond. It also shows you care. But as I barked all this at my sister, I’ll admit I was forcing the issue. Respect, kindness, discretion — these matter. There are some things I never, ever pass on, like certain illnesses and failures and heartbreaks. And no, I don’t need to tell you what those are — you should automatically know. If you don’t, what’s wrong with you? Actually, don’t tell me. I’m discussing it at length with someone tomorrow.

Gallery: Here's What Your Friendships Will Look Like in 2019 Based on the Zodiac [POPSUGAR]

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