At my worst, I’m nosy.
I had this realization recently when I was waiting in line at a Rite Aid. I overheard a woman having a conversation with her friend about a rumor. Leaning in to try to catch the juicy details, I almost tripped over the half off candy, luckily, I caught myself.
Going beyond showing a healthy interest in the lives of others, to a place of nosiness, has never done me any good.
I hate to pry, but…
Hey, so did you see the picture of ________ with _________? What do you think that’s all about!??
The conversation that follows this is never productive. Beyond that, often I’ve found out details that I do not need or cannot handle. I remember how awful I felt when I was talking about someone not being at work, only to find out they had a sudden serious health issue.
I’ve realized the motivation behind my nosiness is that maybe I can find something to make me feel better about one of my deficiencies. For example, maybe I find out that someone I know is making less money than I make, so temporarily that can serve to alleviate some of my insecurity. Unfortunately, the momentary demotion of someone else results in baseless self-promotion and fleeting assurance.
A good check for me has been, why do I want to know this? Am I inquiring because I want to do something helpful with my newfound knowledge? If not, then just stop.
Nosiness is draining and can be dangerous.
I potentially subject myself to it hundreds of times a day.
Social media can be full of laughs and congratulations, or it can be a vehicle for envy and nosiness.
One time I was having a conversation with a friend about why it is so important to not check the cell phones of a significant other (beyond the obvious intrusion of privacy) – we decided it comes down to acceptance and trust. Nothing good can come from that investigation, one rooted in insecurity and a desire to control.
I need to be okay with accepting and trusting that my life, my successes, failures, and problems are plenty. I do not need to know more about others, I don’t have the room or the strength to carry them.
One of the greatest gifts that recovery has given me is this poem. My grandmother shared it with me. It encapsulates why I cannot afford to be nosy, simply because it is a scam that will leave me unfulfilled.
I drank for happiness and became unhappy.
I drank for joy and became miserable.
I drank for sociability and became argumentative.
I drank for sophistication and became obnoxious.
I drank for friendship and made enemies.
I drank for sleep and woke up tired.
I drank for strength and felt weak.
I drank for relaxation and got the shakes.
I drank for courage and became afraid.
I drank for confidence and became doubtful.
I drank to make conversation easier and slurred my speech.
I drank to feel heavenly and ended up feeling like hell.
When I ran past the scene above, the slightly ajar door screamed out to my inner nosiness.
I decided to take a picture, instead of seeing if the sign was telling the truth.
Had I indulged this inkling, it would have given new meaning to, I hate to pry, but…
In conclusion, if you need me, I’ll be over here minding my own business.