Potential negative effects of gossip include depression, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders and anxiety. It can devastate the target's self confidence and self-esteem. Gossip can ruin reputations and friendships, and it may also lead to relational aggression, such as bullying, exclusion and shunning.
Most of the time gossip is so negative that gossipers share it only in the absence of the target. Gossip negatively affects the hearer, and it can influence people to mistrust someone after hearing that he is abusive, unfaithful, dishonest, aggressive or carrying a disease.
Some gossip includes needful information, as when a mother tells her daughter that a certain girl is a known drug addict, giving the daughter reasons to avoid that type of behavior. Suggesting to a friend that a certain counselor seems less trustworthy than others may be helpful to the person seeking a counselor.