Why gossiping can impact you
In the book 59 Seconds by Richard Wiseman he talks about an effect called "Spontaneous Trait Transference".
John Skowronski from Ohio University and his colleagues investigated the downside of spreading malicious gossip by getting participants to watch videos of an actor talking about a third party. The participants attributed the negative traits to the actor even though they were talking about someone else.
When you gossip about another person, listeners unconsciously associate you with the characteristics you are describing, ultimately leading to those characteristics being ‘transferred’ to you. So, say positive and pleasant things about friends and colleagues and you are seen as a nice person. In contrast, constantly bitch about their failings and people will unconsciously apply the negative traits and incompetence to you.
So, next time you consider gossiping or talking bad of someone think about whether it might get associated with you instead.
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