I am not sure if this is right and would like some input from someone who maybe has been thinking about this more than I have.
As a business owner I find it necessary to have conversations about staff members with other staff members. I need to find out how one person is doing at their particular job from their supervisor or their contemporary. God has placed wise counselors all around us for us to ask them questions, but if we can't talk about anyone that is not present, then those wise counselors are of little use. Often I ask my wife her take on someone so I can make a more informed decision. But the question is; when is it gossip?
I looked gossip up and the overarching theme seems to me that it is talking about private, intimate matters when that person of interest is not present. So as I evaluate my own life I need to consider if what I am asking is relevant to this person to effectively make decisions about how we should move forward.
I am trying to figure out the line. I am not one who likes to find the line and get as close to it as possible, but it seems that in the case of gossip there can be a need to discuss things, without the person present, that would not be considered gossip. I am asking more than telling here.
If I brought in the person's supervisor and we talked about this person's performance, leadership ability and things like that in order to determine whether this person was a good fit for our leadership team; that seems perfectly fine to me. Even though that person is not in the room and may never even know we had the discussion.
But, it seems like it turns into gossip when something comes up like; "hey did you hear that his wife is cheating on him", or "I think she is anorexic", or something that would hit the front page of the tabloids. Things that are really no one's business and could be kept in the privacy of their own home, if I had not said something.