On Gossip and Shunning

by Vivek Upadhyay

Gossip is a non-correspondent, warranty-free means of enhancing personal status through deploying and extrapolating upon selective information about the person being gossiped about. Through use of loaded statements, jokes, rash impressionistic judgments, etc. in a shared consensus often exhibiting “shared information bias” despite the demonstrable costs of this error, gossipers seek to obtain a non-correspondent and parasitic discount on interpersonal status relative to a subject gossiped about, in part, by circumventing the high cognitive requirements of engaging in constructive criticism (rather than loaded critique) which involves a truthful gauging of the gossip subject’s incentives to have said or done supposedly cost-imposing and investment worthiness-undermining things.

Gossip also circumvents the fully correspondent comparison of interpersonal track records of transparently conducted, measurable, merit-based, productive and value-adding achievements and attempts thereof (which comprise some rudiments of a bottom line determining whether a person is distinctly worth investing in to complete a designated task or succession of tasks relative to other candidates in his/her task competitor pool).

Gossip imposes gratuitous costs in (at least) two forms: i) via avoiding truthful, fully correspondent conversational language in the gossiping interlocutors conversations, thereby polluting the informational commons within their interpersonal dealings, which when exported elsewhere gradually expands outside of the scope of their interactions to lower interpersonal trust through producing gratuitous trust-establishing mechanisms in social interactions between interlocutors whose interpersonal economic velocity becomes susceptible to needless compromise, and ii) via rallying and shaming: eventually confronting the person gossiped about with loaded statements and questions instead of first seeking the incentives-based context of the gossiped about person’s purportedly (but not yet demonstrably) costly or varied capital investment-disincentivizing speech and actions.

(vaguely, an advice post – not written as carefully, just a provisional post in its imperfect form)

Shunning is a cost-imposing behavior which fails to give a fully informed accounting of why one shuns the shunned. It imposes conduct boundaries upon the shunned within which the shunned must operate to maintain relations; these boundaries are non-correspondent transaction terms upon the shunned which reinforce the shunner’s loaded, non-correspondent interpretation of events (even if in shared consensus with another).

What a shunner administers an unexplained test delivered without warranty that this test is even worth taking: ‘behave and speak as I want or I will deprive you of affection, instruction, resources, and the investment of other forms of capital’. It fails to register the behavioral and speech incentives of the shunned and thereby compromises the shunner’s reality-testing in favor of his/her intuited, discounted means to pressure the shunned into appeasing to the shunner’s preferences; preferences which are demonstrably or intuitively costly for the shunned).

If someone shuns you, question their value in your life before you consider even asking for the context of their shunning.
They provide nothing of unique value that you couldn’t get elsewhere at a mutually understood (comparable) discount between yourself and your non-shunning interlocutor?

You confirm that through the non-intuitive convenience of their shunning, you incidentally gain peace and more capital with which to love and produce for those kin and kith in your trust, who do not demonstrate the imposition of such costs as shunning upon you?
You lose nothing by leaving them *after* having tried to establish a non-loaded context-seeking for their shunning — if they are even worth *that* to begin with — to no avail, perhaps while receiving an accountability-avoiding, evasive answer?


Then leave them while sharing that these newfound value additions must continually incentivize your non-interaction with them. After clarifying this simply leave them to their own devices.

Leave them without any animosity. Make sure that if it’s ever in your interests to rekindle dealings with them, you can do so without having the stain of a cost-imposing attack — that is, a critique not based on a criticism of someone’s alterable choices and/or virtues — inject gratuitous costs into your attempts to re-establish a connection in which the both of you can either exclusively add value to the lives of one another, according to voluntary and mutually established communicative terms which do not impose costs upon your family and friends, or choose to simply not interact in a given instance.

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