To me, gossip means telling people things about another person without verifying the facts or talking to the person directly. This behavior creates an aura of distrust in any relationship, since the person being talked about has not been given a chance to defend themselves or to dispute the story.
Not only does gossip not help relationships, it is generally harmful to relationships. Gossip often disseminates false information and is often hurtful to the individual being discussed. It promotes misunderstanding and starts arguments between people, so in no way is it helpful to relationships. Open, honest and direct communication is necessary to improve and deepen relationships.