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Why grown women gossip like they’re in high school

Why grown women gossip like they’re in high school
11 May
12:13

“Mean Girls” queen bee Regina George is in good company.

A not-so-“fetch” study out of Florida State University found that adult women tend to gossip about other women — consciously and unconsciously — to make themselves look better by comparison.

Study author Tania Reynolds saw that women tend to spread rumors about other women who appeared to pose a threat — even if the offense was something as innocuous as being pretty or dressing provocatively. She also discovered that highly competitive women tended to gossip at the highest rates.

But this behavior isn’t limited to social settings and love triangles. In fact, women’s predilection for gossip may work most insidiously at the workplace. Reynolds says that past research has shown that women are most competitive in environments where resources — say, bonuses or promotions — are limited. She believes these findings are significant for both women and employee managers.

“If [employers] are discussing who to promote or which applicant to hire… one piece of negative information could substantially harm that woman’s odds,” she tells The Post.

Although it may seem counterintuitive, Reynolds suggests keeping more women around the office, noting that women tend to be more aggressive towards one another when there is a “token female,” such as the only woman on the board.

The first step to breaking this ugly habit, says Reynolds, is to be aware of the tendency.

“We can make strategic decisions to reduce that in ourselves . . . and choose our friends carefully. If a woman is gossiping to us, she’s probably also gossiping about us.”

And if you’re still tempted to trash talk another woman behind her back, remember that it can backfire on you.

“What we say about others, people instinctively attribute to us,” she explains. “Even if you’re competitive, the better strategy is actually to spread positive information, because people will attribute these great traits to you.”

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