A new study from the London Business School exploring how people gossip about other people behind their backs. They found that while a healthy, measured interest in what people are saying about you is fine, it can backfire if you're extremely self-conscious.
The study identified two types of information gatherers — "blunters," who avoid gathering information, and "monitors," who root out information. Monitors were more likely to become paranoid during their search for information about what other people are saying about them, which leads to them being bad at assessing social situations.
Ultimately, the researchers say that monitors are often the source of these very negative situations that they're desperately trying to avoid (think of it as a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy):
Drawing from theories of motivated social cognition and symbolic
interactionism, we hypothesize that this motivation is associated with
paranoid thought patterns and suspicion behaviors that can anger other
group members and lead them to reject those who actively search for
evidence that others are secretly trying to harm them.
In conclusion, while gathering a little info can help reduce uncertainty by giving "people a greater sense of control and
predictability over their environments," being too gung-ho about it can be off-putting, prompting those who weren't gossiping
about you to begin to start gossiping about your obvious