Ugh! Nosiness! One of the most unbecoming things. Immediate turn-off. Big social faux pas.
But I’m sure when you’ve tried to call people out they’ve explained it away as genuine, deep-rooted concern. And I won’t argue with the fact that some of our friends may be truly concerned. Concern is a natural thing for people we love. I’ve known people who have asked me something because they thought they could advise me. But when I requested for privacy they respected it and didn’t probe.
I’ve had my share of nosy people. People who made me uncomfortable. I’m sure many of you can relate to how into our business people can get about our careers, how we manage home and work, when the next baby is coming, when our sibling is getting married.
Curiosity isn’t a bad thing. It’s natural. I think to some extent social media followers are benignly curious people who like to see what their favorite people are doing. It’s actually a much better, no nonsense type of curiosity. If I want to know something about a friend’s picture I ask without reservation because why would they put something out there without being comfortable about simple questions about it?
But I leave people alone when I sense they aren’t totally okay with me being curious and if I’m coming off as invasive . Being invasive does nothing for me but can taint my image. It can make me look like a thirsty for information person with no other business in life. It can be detrimental to whatever image I’m actually trying to project. Treading the fine line between genuine concern and invasive questioning is not everyone’s cup of tea.
Also, might I add, it isn’t such a favored quality in Islam? We are instructed to mind our own business and not try to get information about others’ lives unnecessarily. This is a most frowned upon trait and I do believe, a major test of our self-control.
I wouldn’t like to know any information about anyone anyway. Why would I want it? First of all I’d have to become a guardian of that information otherwise I’d be committing another sin if I disseminated that information and that would be gossip. So staying away from this type of urge has this huge benefit.
Secondly, it gives me time to focus on other things. Likely positive and productive things. Things that would help me be a better person.
Thirdly and lastly, and honestly due to my own fear of knowing too much, is I don’t want to know. I don’t have any inherent interest in others beyond what they show me. I’m afraid that I’d know something about a favorite person and then I’ll have to make a huge mental change about that person.
Also, in my own experience, nosy people have made me cringe. Just the vibe that they give off is one of anything but good faith and of a well-wisher. It feels invasive and like they’re violating my privacy. I clam up more and shut down. When people try to get information from me I feel caged. And because usually the investigation by seasoned nosy people has an apparent layer of concern, we don’t know how to protect our privacy. This puts most of us at a disadvantage when faced with a strong-willed person who is out to get the deets.
But since this entire blog post will do nothing to help our nosy nancies in their ways, I have listed ten common topics that are extremely personal to be asked any questions about…… ever.
1. Don’t ask people why they haven’t had a baby yet. You’ll know when the baby comes. We are all smart enough to know that reasons for not having a baby can range from personal choice to infertility.
2. Don’t ask about salary. Unless you’re going to apply for the same position at the same institution. Then I can see how you may be asking for yourself . Not only is this tacky, the amount of resentment if you’re not making the same even though may be working a lot more will cause some sleepless nights.
3. Don’t ask if someone owns or rents their home. I mean, seriously! Unless we have to pay their mortgage or rent, this isn’t our concern.
4. Asking when someone is going to get married. This isn’t for us to know. Like babies, news about weddings eventually reach us too. Wait for it. And even if you don’t find out in this lifetime, it’s okay. The only wedding we have to be at is our own.
5. Asking medical history. We may be comfortable discussing ours but it is one of the top most confidential things for anyone. Stay away unless your opinion is actively sought.
6. Soliciting personal information about someone’s friend from them. They won’t tell you. Their loyalty belongs to their friend. You are just gaining a reputation and embarrassing yourself. They may not tell you the quick and dirty on their friend but their friend will find out you were unduly inquisitive.
7. Discussing sex life isn’t a way to bond for everybody . Stay away from people’s bedroom happenings unless you find a like-minded person. This can really backfire.
8. Inquiring about people’s children and what they’re doing is actually almost unethical. Children have their privacy and they should be allowed to maintain it. Parents have no right to divulge that information unless it’s to the doctor.
9. Comparing Ibadah with someone is another favorite thing to do. Religiosity is our own personal matter. Would we pray less if our neighbor prays less? This question is irrelevant. I completed a Quran in Ramadan? Good for me. With tafseer? Awesome. This is all for me.
10. Asking spouses about occurrences with their families that don’t concern us. Stay away from your in-laws’ business. Spouses are protective of their families because they’re their families. Just because they are related to us with a strong bond doesn’t mean automatic rights to their family’s private information.
Of course these ten points aren’t comprehensive. There is so much more that is considered fair game in the way of nosiness and undue interference. Curiosity is natural but controlling the urge to act upon it is what’s expected of us.