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Is Eavesdropping Impolite?

I love to people watch. I think it's a fun past time as long as you do it in a way that isn't obvious or rude, but what are your thoughts on eavesdropping? It's like people watching but with your ears, and I'll admit that if the opportunity presents itself, I've definitely been one to listen in on other people's conversations.

I happen to feel that a little innocent eavesdropping is totally acceptable, but what are your thoughts on the taboo subject? Do you think it's impolite to listen in on other people's conversations, or is freedom of hearing the rule you live by?


JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I eavesdrop all the time. I don't listen if people I know are talking in private or if people are whispering. I listen to strangers and other's conversations when they aren't trying to hide it.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
Oh if I'm on a train or waiting somewhere public and people are chatting, yes I'll eavesdrop, and yes it's probably impolite. Sometimes people say the craziest things, and it helps to pass time. I definitely don't go out of my way to hear other people though, and I think it's generally NOT a good idea to listen in on conversations of people you know, no matter how juicy they are or how much you want to know what they are talking about. You can always get them to spill the beans later! :)
firesnowbabylove firesnowbabylove 9 years
I was in the mall hanging out with 2 girlfriends, and we were talking about our New Year's Resolution... and somehow got to the topic about our weight. We just started going off about "Oh, I want to lose a few pounds" and eventually went on to "I don't think I ever want a baby. Think about the baby weight!" When we got up from our table (we were sharing some dessert), the group of guys sitting next to us started talking to us, saying stuff like "Oh you sure don't need to lose weight, you girls are perfect" and "Are you sure you don't want babies?" ...Needless to say, we were so sketched out we just gave them a strange look and left ASAP. So no, I don't condone eavesdropping, but I'll admit that I'm occasionally guilty.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 9 years
I think deliberate eavesdropping is rude. That's violating a boundary. However, if someone indeliberately overhears a conversation (ears naturally pick-up sounds), that's okay. That's innocent. In this case, I think it's best that the person tries to tune-out the conversation, and try to give the conversationalists their space. This is out of respect and courtesy. JMHO.
sugarbritches sugarbritches 9 years
Agree with the above that you can't help hearing loud voices, but if they are clearly attempting privacy then I definately respect that and honestly lose interest. Also I have another rule that I want to throw out there. If you are eavesdropping on a conversation that you shouldn't be and you hear something that hurts your feelings or makes you angry, that's your problem! I've had that happen and somehow I've gotten blamed for being harsh and rude but they were listening to a private conversation. Maybe I would have phrased my opinion differently (probably not, but we'll never know now will we?)
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 9 years
I don't think i've ever done this actually, and while there is a way to avoid it, some people go out of their way for attention and raise their voices. However, i totally want the listen up kit.:howyoudoin:
Msmarie07 Msmarie07 9 years
I agree. If you are talking loud enough for me to hear you, then obviously you don't mind if I listen.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
not interested. and i hate it when people talk so you can't help but hear them. about 2 years ago i was at the gym and this man and woman were working out on the machine next to me (taking turns) and they were talking about their affair. after a few minutes i said "excuse me" to the guy across from us "could you show me how to use that machine". both the man and woman looked shocked and then walked away. they are still slinking around the gym and i always ignore them; ugh.
Jillz1128 Jillz1128 9 years
It is impolite but I still do it
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
OOooOOOo I love people watching. I don't purposely listen in on people's convos but if they are obnoxiously loud it's kind of hard not to.
erratic-assassin erratic-assassin 9 years
agree. dont be a loudmouth if you don't want people to know all your juicy details, haha.
omilawd omilawd 9 years
Actually, it's interesting that you posted this, because one of my assignments for my Human Comm. class is to "people-watch" and write up a paper on several peoples' mannerisms, nonverbal language, etc. I don't see anything wrong with eavesdropping; I do it all the time, but if someone's making a point to whisper and are looking around nervously, I'm not going to listen; it's obvious they don't want anyone to hear.
1QTPIE 1QTPIE 9 years
No if they don't take the time to whisper it or even try to keep it private in public then it's perfectly fine. Hello you say in aloud in the middle of a restraunt or somewhere then someone is going hear. Now if your trying to listen to a whisper or have your ear so close it's obvious then get a life...
julieulie julieulie 9 years
If people are talking in hushed tones and you purposely pick a seat as close as possible so you can hear what they are discussing, then yes, it is absolutely impolite. But if you're going about your own business at normal and you overhear things, then it's the talkers' fault. I hate when someone is loudly speaking about something incredibly intimate and personal, and they catch someone else listening in, and feel the need to yell at them. Um, hello, if your soundwaves are penetrating somebody else's personal space, then maybe it is YOUR fault and you should find somewhere else to talk or lower your voice!
lily8206 lily8206 9 years
It's hard not to hear other people talking when you're out and about in public. I don't really feel rude for listening if they are talking loud enough for me to hear! However, I think if people have taken a step to try to make their conversation private, ie. close a door, then I think it is VERY rude to try to listen in.
Random2 Random2 9 years
I'll zone in and out of listening to people. It's fun to catch snippets of a conversation sometimes! And I know others are doing it to me, so if I have something private to say, I'll talk quietly, or wait until I'm in a private setting.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
Totally agree w/ Greggie.
inawordfab inawordfab 9 years
Of course it's terribly impolite...that's what makes it such juicy fun!
NYYPrincess NYYPrincess 9 years
I agree - sometimes it is just impossible NOT to overhear people speaking.
TuTuLaRoo TuTuLaRoo 9 years
I agree with Greggie.
Marseeah Marseeah 9 years
If people are talking so loudly that you can't help but overhear them, there's no harm in listening!
CoMMember13630786602261 CoMMember13630786602261 9 years
Sometimes you cant help but over hear someones conversation. If you like to eavesdrop, then you will LOVE this website. check it out. Its hilarious!
Greggie Greggie 9 years
Of course it's impolite to deliberately eavesdrop on a conversation, that's just common sense. Now people not bothering to make their conversation private, making overhearing inevitable? That's a different story.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Sometimes you can hear convos and they are so juicy! Sometimes, though, they can be utterly annoying and you want them to shut up!
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