Just last month, my husband and I discussed how people often confuse curiosity for nosiness and we both agreed that the two were different after I told him what I’m about to tell you. And this convo had already given me an idea for a future blog post but I soon forgot about it amid doctors’ appointments, household duties, yard work, and working on several projects and unpublished books.
Then, a fellow blogger and wonderful friend, Kym Gordon Moore, posted about the difference between the two on her own blog. You can find her lovely and insightful post here.
So, what is the difference between curiosity and nosiness?
Simple. Curiosity doesn’t violate anyone’s boundaries, nosiness does (this was my response during the above-mentioned conversation with my husband and I didn’t have to elaborate on it because my husband instantly knew what I was saying.).
In other words, or in the words of Kym Gordon Moore, “Being nosy is prying into other people’s business, meddling, being intrusive, and snooping, oftentimes gossiping about what they find out,”
“…curiosity is more of a desire to learn something new that enhances one’s intellect and not about poking your nose in other people’s business for annoying reasons.”
Her statements were spot on, and I couldn’t agree more!
A nosy person will pry into your personal and private business, trying to get some dirt on you, so they could later spread it to everyone who will listen and ultimately, make you look like a scandalous person. A nosy person will snoop through your mail, your computer- heck! If they can get access to all your social media passwords, don’t think they won’t go there too.
Understand that bullies are such people, and they will be the nosiest of the nosy. Why? Because they’re always and forever on the hunt for anything incriminating and damaging, they can weaponize against you.
Nosiness is invasive. If someone asks you a personal question and you choose not to answer, a nosy person will accuse you of “having something to hide.”
Sadly, this is how bullies trip their targets up and force them to answer. Bullies will use the “having something to hide” line to coerce their targets into giving up the deets even when the target knows that it’s better to keep it private!
When bullies make this accusation, many targets will mistakenly cave in, go against their better judgement, and answer the bullies’ questions, just to prove that they don’t have anything to hide. This is where targets get themselves into trouble.
If you ever find yourself in this predicament, I want you to understand that your refusal to answer isn’t about having anything to hide, it’s about some things just not being anyone else’s business. Realize that you have just as much right to privacy as the next person.
Another thing I want to mention is that bullies will also accuse you of being nosy when you’re clearly trying to learn something new. This has happened to me and, being a young teenager, I fell for the lie and let it have a negative impact on my learning.
That’s why it’s so important to learn the difference between curiosity and nosiness. Because, when you know this difference, you’ll know when someone is being nosy and intruding into your private business and you’ll be able to counter them with confidence. Also, you’ll be able to confidently defend yourself any time some snake accuses you of being nosy when you’re only trying to learn and educate yourself.
So, in closing, I’ll again give you the short and easily digestible explanations of curiosity and nosiness.
Curiosity- a desire to learn something new that enhances one’s intellect and broaden one’s education. It includes reading, researching, studying, observing, and listening for information that can make you more intelligent and help you grow. Curiosity is non-invasive and non-intrusive. It does not seek to violate personal boundaries or to cause harm.
Nosiness- prying in other people’s personal business. It includes meddling, snooping, asking personal questions, and eavesdropping on other people. Nosiness is invasive and intrusive. It seeks to violate another’s personal boundaries and to cause harm to them.
Learn these differences by heart and you will be better able to counter bullies in any of the above-mentioned scenarios.
With knowledge comes empowerment!