Let me start off by saying that I come from a nosy family. Like, everybody on my mom's side of the family is and always has been extremely nosy (sorry, Mom). If being nosy can be passed down through DNA, I've definitely inherited nosiness. Growing up, I never gave a second thought to eavesdropping on conversations, rifling through closets for Christmas and birthday gifts, or saying "I'm just curious" when really I was just being nosy as f*ck. To be honest, some of the most fun moments of my life have been listening to other people's conversations and then talking about those conversations with other nosy people. I was always reprimanded for this because, coincidentally, nosy people love telling other people how nosy they are.
Once I hit my teenage years, being nosy felt like something I had to do if I wanted to stay in the know. Being nosy got you the best gossip, and having the best gossip made you either a go-to source or someone to stay away from. But I made my nosiness work by being genuinely interested in what was going on with people and keeping the secrets I was told.
As an adult, I've realized that my nosiness comes from trying to solve problems rather than start them. It's the reason I love murder mysteries and sticking my head out the window when something's happening on the street. I love getting information, offering my thoughts, and helping come up with a plan or resolution for co-workers and friends. But soon I found myself pushing people to open up to me so I could offer my opinions, which is problematic because A) not everybody wants to hear my opinions; B) I'm not a licensed therapist; and C) other people's problems aren't always mine to solve.
I don't believe in New Year's resolutions, but after a particularly rough 2015, I told myself that I would turn a new leaf and start minding my own business. Literally, if there was an opportunity for me to be nosy, I would say to myself, "But that's none of my business," just like the Kermit tea-sipping meme. Here are six ways that staying out of it can really benefit your life.
- You will feel lighter. I can't tell you how much less pressure I felt once I realized just how much of what I worried about was not at all for me to worry about. Brooding about things you can't change — especially when on behalf of another person — can contribute to a lot of unhappiness.
- Your to-do list will get shorter. Being nosy = taking on extra responsibilities, and extra responsibilities = more stress. When a problem arose at work, I used to insert myself into the fray in order to help offer a solution or moral support. But once I reminded myself that not everything is my business, it was easier for me to trust others to do their job. Now, I try to only offer my opinion when I'm actually asked for it.
- You'll realize how little credit you've been giving to others. You owe it to the people in your life, whether they're family, friends, co-workers, or significant others, to make their own mistakes and figure out how to fix them. Minding your own business lets you take a step back and give them room to solve their own sh*t.
- You'll finally be face to face with your own sh*t. When you're not concerning yourself with other people's business, guess what you're left with? Staying out of things that don't involve you will help you focus on the things that do. Since becoming more like Kermit with his cup of Lipton, I've had a lot more time to fret about my own life choices, career path, and goals for the future. Yes, it's a new type of anxiety — but at least it's about things I can actually control.
- You'll find it easier to stop another nosy person in their tracks. Nosiness begets nosiness, which is a thing I just made up. Being a nosy person will only bring more nosy people into your life, which could be why nosiness is in my genes. But once you've chosen the path of minding your own business, it's a lot more fun to (gently) remind others to do the same. People will always want to offer advice, because they (hopefully) love you and (hopefully) have your best interest at heart. But being able to hear those opinions and not let them judge you for yours will get a lot easier.
- You'll be happier! A wise soul named Kacey Musgraves taught me: "Mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy." It's totally true, because tying yourself up in other people's business only ruins your own joy. And staying in your lane doesn't make you rude or unsympathetic; it makes you someone who is emotionally healthy enough to create boundaries. Those boundaries will help the people in your life work out their own issues without you interfering and making it about you — and that makes you a better person in the long run.
Because I'm human, I've had some slip-ups (just the other day I pressed my ear to the wall while my neighbors were arguing, oops), but overall, minding my own business and understanding that not everything concerns me has brought me a certain freedom and made me a less stressed-out person. Hopefully it will do the same for you.