Sometimes people are well meaning when they share personal information. Sometimes people aren't. How do we know who is which and which is who and why? It can be difficult, especially if we all think our personal motives are more sincere and honorable than "those people who gossip."
However, much of the time the willingness to share private information stems from a need to put down another, to prove that they are less perfect than we initially supposed, or because we don't have any great ideas to talk about. Even more dangerous are the people who hear gossip and turn it into an entirely different realm of gossip that impacts perceptions of individuals in the workplace, divides teams and messes with the heads of people that don't know the gossiper or the gossipee too well.
Reputations are at risk, jobs are lost, people shunned, and all because someone with immature emotional intelligence has some spare time and pulls someone aside to share information. Often the information is wrong.
When we were little kids playing on the playground, the saying was:
"Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me."
More accurately stated is the quote:
"Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will break my heart."
How many hearts have I broken today through my words?