[I am going to rewrite this and make it short and sweet]
There seems to be a real push, I have found, to rationalize our gossiping and suggest it is venting instead. There are heaps of articles and even Google assisting in redefining “gossip.” I am not convinced. Rationalizing that my gossip as merely venting is a slippery slope to toxic relationships in teams. As it has turned out during the rewriting of this post, I don’t think there is much difference between the two, as they both seem to be just one sided stories from an ongoing dispute or conflict.
Really, unless the listener can get to hear both sides of the dispute or conflict it would be very difficult (maybe impossible) to offer any accurate feedback to the person venting or gossiping. ie. “No matter how thin you slice it there are always two sides”. Spinoza
In other words, venting or gossiping is simply a waste of time and energy because it is a one sided and biased story. So, from now on I will refuse to participate in venting or gossiping unless I can get the other point of view. But please, if you think you are getting something out of talking negatively about some person or organization and the listener is also, then please continue. If you catch me venting or gossiping please let me know, so that I can regroup and see what I can do to resolve my dispute, rather than load it on you.
There are solutions to so-called “venting” or gossiping or whatever we want to call our talking negatively behind someone’s back. But until we recognize this type of talking as a problem and that it is eroding team continuity and cohesion, we will not be willing to explore any solutions here or in the future, in my opinion.