The connection you feel with another person or with a gaggle of persons when you join in some dishing on a different person is not the kind of connection you want. It feels good in the moment–you have something to offer: some experience with the dished-on, a take on their flaws and mistakes that gives you a place in the dishing proceedings.
But it’s no good. Dishing about people who aren’t there is gossip, and gossip is straight up destructive. All of our innocent disclaimers don’t change that. “I’m just saying” and “I’m sure she’s a great person, but . . . ” might make us feel less mean in the moment, but they’re utterly self-deceptive. We are engaging in garbage talk.
Let’s be people who make constructive contributions to the gaggle instead.