Handling Gossips, Busybodies and Buttinskies

girl looking at her cellphone while her snooping friend looks over her shoulder

Whether it’s the nosy classmate who’s never short of personal and intimate questions about your private life, the workplace gossip who never shuts up and always seems to know your business before you do, or the spying neighbor across the street who forever peers through her window to spy on the neighbors outside, these kinds of people can be a real hemorrhoid to those of us who only want to be left alone and allowed to live our lives in peace.

Moreover, I even had one woman ask me how much I got paid and how much I paid in rent or mortgage? I know. The nerve! Right?

After the shock wore off, I politely told her that she was getting too personal. I also told her that I didn’t share such private information with anyone, not even my family members. Oooeee! She didn’t like it.

nosy detective looking over his newspaper at you, spying concept

These types often leave you shaking and scratching your head because you just can’t believe anyone would have the chutzpah. Especially if you were raised to mind your own business like I was.

Make no Mistake! Their end goal is power and control!

Understand that these people can be bullies too. Their gossip, butting-in, and having a constant nose stuck in your life can be a form of attempted control. Bullies will often ask you these kinds of questions to embarrass or humiliate you. Therefore, anybody who openly asks you such questions has no respect for your privacy, and you should deal with them accordingly.

However, because they can’t seem to control their own lives, they wish to control yours. And they do it for nothing more than to cause an annoyance or embarrassment.

nosy woman peering through the window blinds

Though the years, there was always that one neighbor who would sit on their porch all day. They would watch not only my house but the other houses in the neighborhood as well. So, on a good note, I can’t say that I was left out. As a matter of fact, I was in good company with most of the other neighbors in my community.

As a result, many of the others in the community weren’t short of complaints about the lady and we had a nickname for her- “Mrs. I-Spy.”

Nosy people are annoying to others.

Nevertheless, although I’d get annoyed by her a few times, I couldn’t get angry with her like many of the others. Mrs. I-Spy was disabled and could barely get around. All I could feel was bad for her because I knew she wasn’t a happy person. Who would be if their health were deteriorating to the point of barely able to perform activities of daily living? And home health was scarce back then.

eavesdropping businessman with huge ears

Also, on the days when she couldn’t get outside, she’d have her grandchildren watch the neighbors. The grands would then go back inside and give her a report of the goings-on in the others’ yards and the traffic in and out of their houses. It’s hilarious when I look back now.

busybodies do have their good points.

I can honestly say that if there were a burglary or trouble nearby, she’d have been the first to see it and call the cops. So, there’s a silver lining to all this. Thank God for nosy neighbors because they do serve a great purpose!

However, my classmates in high school, not so much. I had very little respect for them because most of them were nosy as hell! They would watch me closely and eavesdrop on any of my conversations. They always had an ear cocked. At Oakley High School, the walls had ears!

The walls have eyes, a brick wall with pairs of eyes

Always in my business, questioning me on things that were so trivial yet to them was a huge deal. They would even ask me the most personal and embarrassing questions.

“Have you started your period yet?”
“Are you a virgin?”
“How is your boyfriend in bed?”

some will ask you the most embarrassing questions.

These kinds of questions made me cringe! Naturally, it upset me back then and I’d only storm off. But if one of them had the audacity to do that today, I’d only laugh, make fun of and humiliate them. And I’d enjoy humiliating them.

nosy man with his ear to the wall listening in on the people in the next room

Today, I wish they would and give me the chance to show them I’m not as slow as I used to be and almost nothing shocks me anymore. Understand that when you’ve been bullied, you learn quick wit very quickly because it’s essential for survival. I’ve known other adult survivors of school bullying and we’re the most quick-witted people in the bunch! We have to be!

With that said, realize that even in the adult world, you’re going to have people who have more nerve than a bad tooth. There will be those who will pry into your business and openly ask you personal, even embarrassing questions. You might as well prepare for it now because they’re everywhere!

Nosy dog looking at you

Nosiness can run in families and be generational

Many of these people had parents who were the same way. They had mothers and grandmothers who would tell them to watch others and report back to them. I know this because of watching Mrs. I-Spy do the same many years ago. Therefore, it’s safe to say that nosiness is a generational thing with many. About ninety percent of my classmates also came from nosy and overbearing families. So did many coworkers I’ve worked with down through the years.

And it’s these kinds of people you should blow off and wave away like that pesky little fly that keeps buzzing around your face.

Don’t get angry with them. Just shake your head and pity them. Because it’s those types who really need to get a life and often don’t have one. Or, if you’re a smart-ass like I am, take the opportunity to have a little fun with the person. Just catch it, throw it back at them and shame them with it.

And why not? They asked for it.

With knowledge comes power!

Whose Life Are You Living? Yours or Theirs?

Uh-oh! Here they go again! It seems that every time you as much as blink, someone else has got their honker in your business- telling you how you ought to do things, how you should act, telling you how you should live your life and having the chutzpah to think they can make your decisions for you. Let’s face it, the world is full of nosy people.

And if you are a target of bullying, you will have others trying to invade your life, your personal business, and your boundaries. And let me tell you, when it seems that no one will let you lead your own life in peace, life can go from enjoyable to unbearable real quick. That’s why you must be assertive in cases like this.

Understand that you can’t please everyone and you shouldn’t even try to.

Put simply, the only ones you must live your life for is God, your family, your closest and most trusted friends, and yourself.

Too many people care what the wrong people think of them- the wrong people, meaning bullies, toxic people- people they don’t like. Realize that you aren’t living their life, you’re living yours. So, you must make decisions that best fit the situations and circumstances surrounding your life.

You must do what’s best for you, not what’s best for them, or, rather, what others want you to do. Half the time, they don’t even know what they want nor what’s best for them. So, how can they claim to know what’s best for you if they haven’t a clue what’s best for their own lives?

You must do what makes you healthier, what makes you feel good, and what makes you whole. You must do what fulfills you, not other people. Don’t worry about them. It’s up to them to make their lives easier and pleasant. It’s not your responsibility. Just the same, it’s up to you to make your life better, it’s not their place to do it.

There will always be others who want to insert their two cents where it isn’t needed, and they’ll be downright abusive about it. They’ll attempt to order you around or deride you over your life-decisions.

There will be those who will try to run your life and you should be prepared for it. But know that when they do this, they’re stepping out of their place, and you have every right to tell them to go kick rocks.

The old, popular 1990’s idiom, “All up in your koolaid and don’t know the flavor” wasn’t coined for nothing. And the sad thing is that most people don’t bother to lend a hand but they’re real quick to point a finger.

Understand that we each have responsibility over our own lives. Stop trying to spare the feelings of those who insist on sticking a nose where it doesn’t belong. Tell these people to keep their snouts out of your business. Your life is yours to lead, no one else’s. So, stop worrying about what others think and say of you. They may not like the way you live or think, but that’s their problem, not yours.  Your life and the life-choices you make are no one’s business but yours.

With knowledge comes empowerment!