London: If you thought hearsay was not a good habit, think twice. According to a psychologist, gossiping is actually good for us.

Gossip helps us distinguish friend from foe, therefore protecting us from harm.

"We use gossip as a way of bonding," a newspaper quoted psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos as saying.

"Who we like, who we don't like -- it's a form of "you and me together," she added.

"In fact, the best way to get people to bond is to get them to decide who they dislike. It's like having a secret -- you both know you're doing something bad, so you have a connection. It's a form of sisterhood," she explained.