5 Reasons We Should Avoid Being Nosy

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

It starts at a very young age. In middle school, every one wants to know who has a crush on who. In high school, everyone starts trying to figure out who got in trouble over the weekend, or who got wasted at the popular girl's party (so sad). Then in college, the nosiness continues. Everyone thinks they deserve to know what is going on in everyone else's life- it's basically a source of entertainment!

As a young woman, I can honestly say that I think women are much worse about being nosy than men. I can also say that I struggle with nosiness myself. No, I am not nosy for "bad" reasons. I mostly (but not always, I admit) genuinely want to know if people are ok. But that doesn't change the fact that nosiness is bad. If someone wants to confide in me, they can. And if I can tell someone is upset, sure- I can go check on them. But to ask someone personal questions, or to try to pry into their lives is just wrong.

People are not shows that we can binge-watch on Netflix. They are humans with feelings- pains, joys, and sorrows. People's lives are not there for me to read and analyze. Their lives are between them, God, the people they choose to let into their circle. When we try to break into that circle through nosiness, we cause problems that we may have never intended.



It Causes a Divide
When I was in college, there was this girl that I really wanted to be friends with. I wanted her to like me and think a lot of me. And I think she did. I would encourage her every now and then, and we would speak briefly when we saw each other, but we weren't best friends or anything. Well, after we had graduated, I noticed that her relationship status wasn't up on Facebook anymore. I really liked her and her boyfriend and I hoped they were ok and still together. I cared. I really did. So I wrote her on Facebook and asked her about it.
She never said anything about it, but I knew as soon as I hit "send" (and even before I did, really), that that question was not mine to ask. She may not have thought anything of it, but ever since then, I have felt like there's not much chance of developing a friendship. If nothing else, I caused a divide in my own mind and confidence level.

It Makes People Wonder If You Are a Gossip
Most people who are nosy are also gossips, in my experience. Even really good people tend to jump on the gossip train in a heartbeat. I try not to be a gossip, and as a general rule, I feel I do an ok job with it. But even though I'm not like that, when I act nosy and try to pry, I make myself look like I'm a gossip. No, it's not all about people's perceptions of me, but I would like to know that I haven't brought any of those false views upon myself.

You May Start to Feel Entitled
Once you start prying into someone's life, you may start feeling like it's your right to know what's happening in their lives. Believe me- it's not your right, nor is it mine!
Even if we have the best of intentions (like my example from college), we still are not entitled to answers. Just because one person confides in us one time, does not mean that we need to be asking them about every little thing that happens in their lives. It's still none of our business.We may be trying to be kind, but nosiness doesn't come across as kind- it comes across as rude.

You may get addicted to nosiness
We tend do things in small steps at first, but those small steps usually end up turning into giant leaps. We often start with a few M&M's, but that somehow turns into eating half a pan of brownies. Or maybe what starts as one night of drowning our sorrows in a bottle of whiskey turns into a lifetime of drunkenness and despair. In the same way, nosiness starts as wondering if we can pry just a little bit. Maybe we can figure out what's going on- but it turns into a terrible pattern of expecting everyone to share their entire life with us. When they don't, we get offended. When we get offended, we harbor anger. When we harbor anger, we hold grudges. And then we suddenly look back on our lives and realize that we are angry with people who have not wronged us, and we caused a distance between us and people who had the potential to be good friends.

Nosiness Tends to Be Inwardly Focused
When we are nosy, we are often focusing on things that don't matter. It's not that people's problems aren't important- they are. But when I am nosy, I tend to start wondering "What's going on? Why didn't they tell me about it? Maybe they don't like me and don't trust me with their secrets". At that point, my focus is on myself, not on them. They may be struggling with something really big, yet here I am worrying about why they didn't confide in me. I'm more worried about their opinion of me than I am their well-being. At that point, my intentions are no longer kind-hearted. Instead, they are selfish.

After I wrote my friend from college on Facebook trying to pry into her life, I felt so worried about what she thought of me. I was still concerned about her, but I was also very preoccupied with what her opinion of me was. Nosiness has a way of turning good intentions into bad habits and unintended selfishness.



I hope that this will cause all of us to think hard before we allow ourselves to be nosy any longer. How can we stop the cycle? How can show our good intentions and concerns in a more productive and helpful way?

Do you struggle with nosiness? Has it bit you in the butt before?

32 comments

  1. Yes, yes yes!! Krisitin, I haven't been over here in a little while and I almost forgot how wise you are. I struggle with being nosey sometimes too, I always want to know, "Why?" even when I am not entitled to an explanation. I love what you said about nosiness dividing, excellent post!

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    1. Thank you, Holly! Your comment made my day!
      Nosiness can be hard to avoid, especially when we are naturally curious. But I want to start making sure that my intentions are 100% pure and that I am not prying into someone's life.

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  2. My husband has a really bad problem with this, but I also have caught myself being too nosey too. I totally agree that it is not a good thing, and it can lead to comparisons and jealousy. So, I'm trying to mind my own business in 2016. :)

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    1. That's so funny! I rarely hear of a man being more nosy than a woman (but obviously it happens). I'm trying to do better this year too!

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  3. Ugh, SO agree with this! I know that we are all naturally curious, but there is a difference when you are constantly prying into other people's lives!

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    1. Yes! It can be easy to cross that line, and I think we all need to try a whole lot harder to stay on the right side. I know I do!

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  4. I don't consider myself a particularly nosy person, I just don't like the idea of getting in the middle of things or finding out something I don't want to know.

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    1. That's an awesome quality to have! Good for you!

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  5. I think since I have a "fear of missing out" I can definitely get nosy sometimes. I'm always wanting to know whats going on. Haha. But there's certainly a fine line between being up-to-date with things and prying into things that aren't your business.

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    1. It really is! There's nothing wrong with being curious people (I hope there's not anyways, because I'm in trouble if so!) but we have to contain ourselves. haha.

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  6. Hmm this is interesting! I tend to believe that asking people intentional, real questions about their hearts and lives is one of the best ways to love them, as long as our hearts are in the right place! You're right that if we're just asking to "be in the know" it's not a good thing, and I am definitely guilty of that at times! I think the introvert in me just wants to ask the deep, real questions from the get-go. I figure people can brush them off or share, it's up to them! I guess it all depends on your relationship with the person and your heart in wanting to learn about them. Interesting post, Kristin!

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    1. Oh, I definitely believe in asking intentional and real questions, for sure! What I mean by nosiness (and maybe I should have made this more clear) is asking people you don't know very well those questions. I think (from personal experience) that if you know a person well, then by all means, ask away. They probably want to talk about it with you anyway, and if they don't you are close enough that they can say so.
      But if someone doesn't know you very well and you ask a very specific, very deep question, I believe it will often be taken the wrong way. Instead, I tend to ask "How are you doing lately? You've seemed a little down and I just wanted you to know I am here if you do need someone to talk to". I think that gives them opportunity to share deeply if they want to, but doesn't make them feel as if you are invading their personal space. It absolutely depends on the relationship. And while I agree it depends on our heart about things, sometimes our heart doesn't come across the way we intend it to. It doesn't mean our heart was wrong, but it means maybe there are better ways to show our heart :)

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  7. These are great points! I'm always genuinely interested in other people's lives, but realize that sometimes it could be viewed as being nosy.

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    1. Yep, it's hard when we know we care but we also know how it could be perceived!

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  8. It's hard not to be nosy, but these are some great reasons you should try harder. Thanks for sharing

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    1. Thanks for reading, Amanda! It is so tough, but worth it to keep on trying :)

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  9. What an awesome post! I completely agree that both nosiness and gossip spread like wildfire, which is why they should be avoided. I'm a very private person in general, so I don't really like people to put their noses where it doesn't belong, but at the same token I try to follow that same advice and not overstep boundaries. It can be difficult, as we are all humans and we all care about others, but at the end of the day if someone wants you included in something, they will. Great post!

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    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Cara!
      I really am not a private person at all, so I think that is why I have a hard time remembering that not everyone wants to share their whole life. haha

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  10. I get what you're saying! I just wrote a post on people sharing sharing when they think you (corporate "you") should have children. Unless you're really close to someone, I think it's such an inappropriate topic to discuss. We have had people ask us when we're going to start having them, tell us to wait until after we're 30, or just flat out ask when we're going to start trying. So awkward!!
    Having intentional, deep conversations is so important though, and I never want people to shy away from talking to me because they're "afraid" they might be being too nosy. Sadly, we live in a society where people are offended left and right and it's pathetic. You bring up good points though. Sometimes it's just better to let people open up and talk to you when they're ready - and that may be never because they open up to someone else they trust more instead.

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    1. Yes! So true. Intentional, deep conversations are very important, and I wish everyone wanted to open up, but some just don't and I think we just have to feel out the individual situation to see if we should dig deeper out of concern, or if we should respect their bubble :)

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  11. Great points! There are times when I want to ask a question and I know it's just nosiness on my part. When I have those moments I don't ask the question and it's never hurt me not to know/I tend to forget what it was I was about to ask. I loved this!

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    1. Good for you. Sometimes the hardest part is convincing ourselves not to ask.

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  12. It's human nature to be nosy, but it takes the Holy Spirit to keep us pure!

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    1. Yes! So true. And I often feel driven by my impulse to be nosy, but the Holy Spirit can give us self-control!

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  13. This is something interesting to think about. Searching our hearts for motives to make sure questions are for the right reason is always a good thing!

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    1. Yes! A lot of it does have to do with motives :)

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  14. I struggle with this at times. I am just bad at wanting to know everything. I have been working hard on this though!!!!

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    1. Same here, Ashley! The struggle is incredibly real ;)

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  15. Such an insightful post! I know I can be nosy, and I know it's something I need to work on. It's especially bad with work and family gossip, when it's hard not to listen!

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    1. Thanks, Erin! Same here! It's constant battle!

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  16. Getting hooked on nosiness is definitely a thing. I have to consciously stop being nosy sometimes, but it's worth it!!

    Coming Up Roses

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    1. Me too! I feel your pain. But so worth it, as you said!

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