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How Do You Convince People You Want To Gossip?

Illustration by Tara Jacoby

My inbox is full of gossip. My voicemail is loaded with gossip. My DMs are absolutely stuffed with gossip. I now live in a verifiable buffet of gossip. I have, of course, brought this upon myself by hosting a podcast about gossip. (Also: please, keep sending me your gossip.)

But the truth is it’s always been this way, now it’s just more pronounced. Sure, I’m a journalist. Part of my job is to help people tell the truth in public. Part of my job is to ask people what they aren’t telling me. It could be training that helps me project that I am a dropbox for gossip. I ask questions, lots of them.

But journalists as a group aren’t exactly a popular one. Maybe it was my personality that forced the career which has caused this abundance of gossip. Maybe there is something inherent to my character that makes people think I will keep little bits of gossip a secret (I will not). Maybe they want to use me to spread their secrets (very possible).

But after recording this week’s episode, I’ve been questioning whether this is just a deep seated part of my personality? Could the abundance of gossip I receive signal that I am actually untrustworthy or mean?

On this week’s episode of the podcast our guest, comedian, podcast host, and writer Josh Gondelman, explained to me that he has the exact opposite problem: people think that he doesn’t want to hear gossip. I assume that this is because Josh is one of the most genuinely kind and thoughtful people I have ever met. I want Josh to think well of me! I assume many other people do too! And because gossip is so demonized, what if we told Josh some gossip and it would ruins our reputation with him and then he will never give us a pep talk ever again!

People are wrong! They don’t know him! What’s fun about this episode is that Josh does want the gossip. He really wants it!

We gossiped so much. We talked about Josh never knowing when people are doing drugs, and when gossip can be wholesome and positive. And then I told Josh a story about a woman who moved to a new neighborhood and immediately became involved in a neighborhood scandal full of treachery, marathon running, and illegal dog parks.

You can subscribe to Normal Gossip on Apple PodcastsSpotify, or wherever else you listen! You can follow Normal Gossip on Instagram here.

And if you do have some good goss that you want us to hear, the email for that is normalgossip@defector.com, or phone it in to 2-6-7-9-GOSSIP.

(The transcript for this week’s episode can be found here)

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