Nosey People and How to Deal Gracefully with Nosey People
Why are people so utterly nosy?
According to M.Farouk Radwan, MSc. at 2 Know Myself, it is for a few reasons, but mainly surrounding around insecurities. That is why it is so imperative that when you talk to someone who can’t help but dish about others, you know that it is a red flag.
When you talk about someone negatively – you’re either a narcissist or you think very low of yourself.
Either way, both are not very refined and figuring out how to react to nosy people without being rude is truly vital to elegance!
When people are nosy it not only hurts your feelings, but it hurts others around them as well. Most nosy people feel insecure and love to gossip because by bringing others down, it raises them up. You know that being an elegant woman is avoiding gossip at all times, which even means subjecting yourself to becoming a victim by releasing too much information.
In today’s post, I will be presenting a five proper ways to deal with nosy people without looking rude.
Life just happens.
If you have been following me for the last month or so, you will know that something drastic is happening in my life right now. Not only does this affect me but it affects many people who are very close to me.
This something that rarely happens to people (thank God), but everyone all wants answers, even though I don’t even have them. They keep insisting which is very insensitive and angering. I am not writing only a post on how to deflect questions about yourself but mostly how to deal with nosy friends.
Today isn’t about me or what is happening, (not yet, but I promise I will let you all in when the timing is right!). No, this post is about other people who find it their mission to dig to find out information on other people. I do not know if they mean to be rude or even think they are doing anything wrong, but whenever I leave the conversation I feel upset and that my privacy might have been compromised.
Even if I didn’t say anything personal, because of their persistent insisting it makes me feel like I am doing something wrong. This is clearly something I have to work on, but I am betting that if I feel this way, there are many other women who have the same problems.
It’s about portraying the best ways to elegantly deal with these kinds of people. It can be challenging! But if I can do it, really anyone can!
“Isn’t it kind of silly to think that tearing someone else down builds you up?”
― Sean Covey, The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Teens
Perception is reality
First off, you never ever want to be regarded as a nosy person. Ever. It is so far from elegant and it would be just a terrible reputation to have.
You know exactly what I am talking about. We all know at least one person like this. They just thrive on juicy details on others. It’s quite a sad existence.
However, if you find that you are nosy, it is never too late. But do consider stopping that terrible characteristic before it can get you into trouble. Not only does it hurt others but it really does hurt your own too.
People will not trust you and will steer clear from your gossip. Being a gossip gives you a false sense of friendship with everyone because people will only go to you for information on others, but if you are genuinely in need of some help, they will be nowhere to be found.
It’s terrible, so cultivate true friends who don’t put you in those situations and you will always win out in the end.
Keep details to yourself
I am also wanting to bring attention to people that feel the need to tell strangers their whole life story. Remember, you are always being judged by people (it’s just how it is) and while your best of friends might be gentle when you tell them something personal because they know that you are an amazing person, strangers won’t give you the same grace.
They will only think of you as what you show them.
You might tell them something that you would think is an innocent thing, such as telling someone that you and your sister can’t even be in the same room at the moment without a constant fight. Your best friend might understand that you and her are just going through a rough patch. However, a stranger might think that your family is so full of chaos and then go on and think that you are a person who attracts drama as well.
Whatever you say or do is terribly important and affects how others perceive you.
Their perception is their reality.
Stopping is as easy as shutting your mouth
Luckily it is easier to stop being so nosy! Just stop talking about others. Listen to your gut. If you feel that it is not right to say something or that you would immediately regret saying it, it is better to just stay quiet.
You’ll thank yourself!
It’s like the old adage, if you have nothing good to say, then don’t say anything at all. I remember my mom telling me this over and over again.
The reason for today’s post is that I am having people actually asking me personal questions and trying to pry into my private life. It really hurts because at this time, our family needs our privacy so that we can figure out what is going on. The sad thing is that these people I thought were my friends.
But I don’t need friends who will make me feel like I am doing something wrong by not telling them something I am not ready to. Those are not real friends.
At first, I was always stuttering my words and just being very inelegant with my answers. There has to be a better way without me sounding like this. I like to be aware of myself and how I sound to others, it is very important to me.
I must say though, I can’t believe how many gossips there are and how grown people (as in NOT in high school) really love juicy stories and love to spread them.
Again, I can’t stress this enough, don’t be one of these! It will always get back around and you will always look like the bad person because let’s face it, gossiping is terrible because not only do you look bad, but it can really hurt others around you!
You would love: How to Deal with Rude People
How to stop being nosy
The few ways to react to nosy people will really matter greatly on who you are as a person and what your personality is like.
For me, I really don’t like confrontation so number 3 and 5 are really hard for me. But luckily my husband has no problem with that! I just can’t imagine myself being so upfront and “mean” to people. (I quote mean because my husband doesn’t think it’s mean to stick up for yourself – and I must admit I do agree – it just feels like it!)
My favorite ways to deal with nosy people is to play stupid and give short answers.
This takes a lot of practice because sometimes old habits die hard and it can be too easy to just tell people everything. That is why it is best to just remember that it is no one’s business but your own and who you truly feel like sharing it with.
I hate feeling like an open book (which is funny because I have a blog), I have found a huge difference after I properly reacted to people just wanting information. I don’t leave a conversation feeling uneasy or uncomfortable. Well not as much as before!
It still needs constant practice.
I have found that these 6 tips from PopSugar really reinforce how amazing it feels to stop being nosy!
How to Properly React to Nosy People
+ How to Respond to Nosy Questions
1) Play stupid.
This one is great for beginners because you can just keep denying information. Even if you don’t like to lie, you need to tell yourself that it is okay because it is no one’s business. It is yours and your husband’s only.
I find that by playing stupid you will be asked more questions but just keep sticking to your guns and you should be okay. I usually am.
After they either get the hint or they realize they aren’t getting what they want, they will usually leave you alone.
But when I say play stupid, I mean it in the most elegant kind of ways of course. It is almost an art form to be able to play stupid without actually looking stupid!
This is my favorite because I feel like it doesn’t humiliate or insult anyone and you still go away feeling like your privacy hasn’t been compromised.
2) Be truthful, but give quick short answers.
Sometimes, it is hard to lie to people. Depending who they are, it can make things harder on you in the future.
I agree, lying is usually never the best strategy because sooner or later you always get caught up in it and you end up looking like a liar (another characteristic you don’t want to be labeled as).
Try to stick to only a few words per answer and it is best to also make sure they are vague. Again, repeat after me, you DO NOT owe any explanation to anyone for anything (besides your spouse). So when someone feels it is their right to know, you remember that little mantra and give them a short answer.
This will also give them a hint that you do not want to talk about it and that there is no point in continuing to pry.
I like this strategy because again, you don’t come off as rude or angry. To me that is very important.
If you’re more like my husband then the next point you will love!
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3) Be blunt with them
Remember how earlier I said that you do not owe anyone an explanation no matter what.
Well this couldn’t be more true with this strategy.
You tell them that they don’t need to know because it won’t make a difference in their life whether they know it or not.
I find that this is the most effective way to stop all questions. When you just call their bluff and tell them that it is not necessary that they know.
This one can be seen as being rude though, but it mainly depends on your tone of voice and attitude.
When being blunt, be gentle and empathetic – even if their intentions were not the best.
4) Change the subject completely
This is a great way on how to avoid answering personal questions!
Okay, this is not the easiest one because well, frankly, people can be persistent. You can only change the subject for so long until they get back to it again.
But it is a great way to re-routing a conversation without looking rude but being passive. Again, if someone isn’t completely oblivious – they would hopefully get the hint that you don’t want to talk about it!
When changing the subject, I usually like to bring up something in their life. Not to pry either, but most people like talking about themselves or something that they enjoy. If you can ask the perfect question to get them distracted until the conversation is over then you did your job perfectly.
You don’t feel like you said anything you didn’t want to.
They didn’t feel like you were trying to dodge the conversation.
You didn’t look mean.
They got to talk about themselves.
It’s a win-win!
5) Remember, (some) people are mean
My husband always reminds me that people who ask questions about me, don’t usually even care about me, they just want some information to relay.
That hurts I know, but they just want to know the stories so they can be the gossip king or queen in their circles. I used to be very naive and think otherwise. But after experiencing many moments where I thought they were trying to be good friends then found out the whole community was told about it, well that hurts much more.
I have fallen into that trap of either trusting someone too fast or thinking that I can believe them when they can keep a secret. It never works and I had to learn it the hard way. With lots of tears.
Perhaps, it was good though because now I am super sensitive with certain subjects and a rule of thumb I use is if I wouldn’t care if a stranger knew then I can tell whoever. But if not, it stays sealed between my husband and I.
It is completely up to you to protect yourself because if you don’t do it – no one else will.
Feeling like an open book can really affect the way you feel about yourself and remember, people are seriously mean! They will look at your in your eyes with feelings of “love” and sympathy. Meanwhile they are thinking of how amazing this juicy story is to tell her other friends.
You must not fall into their trap of security because trust me, it’s all a facade.
Listen to your gut, and if you wouldn’t want a stranger to know – then keep it to yourself.
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Don’t become one either
I want to stress that you protect yourself to not become a victim, however, I also want to bring to your attention that participating in the gossip is just as bad.
Gossiping hurts not only others but also your reputation.
“Often those that criticise others reveal what he himself lacks.”
― Shannon L. Alder
People see it from a mile away. If you’re talking badly about someone, the first thing that will go through their mind is how much you will talk badly about them.
It’s truly distasteful and gossiping is never a good idea.
If someone persists on it in the conversation, without making yourself look bad, be neutral and never add anything to fuel the fire. When you notice the first exit out, take it and remember never to tell anything to them.
No matter how old you are, it doesn’t matter how many “friends” you have, there will always be people who are rude and just asking questions out of pure gossip. Nosy people are very hard to escape.
And social media really exemplifies the need for juicy details!
For some gullible and naive people, it can be a hard pill to swallow to think that people are like that, but that is life and people are mean. (However, not all!)
It is up to you to protect yourself from the trap of gossip. Stay away from it and don’t feed into it. Sometimes, I find that it helps if you distance yourself from those people. The less gossip you hear, the happier you will be.
I hope these five tips can really help you when you’re being asked questions that you don’t feel comfortable answering without resorting to being rude. And if you would like to see some more tips I really liked How To Avoid Spreading Gossip in 5 Easy Steps. My favorite one is to focus on the positive.
Being elegant is so important to me, although not at my own expense and when I follow these five tips I feel like I am able to get my point across without sacrificing my elegant lifestyle.
Until next time,
Monday 10th of August 2020
I always ask a nosy person the 2 following questions: "Why do you ask" What will you do with this information if I give it to you". Often the the first question is enough to stop them prying any further and can be asked with a smile. Sometimes people just ask questions as a way of making small talk or have genuine reason for asking and are happy to explain why they are doing so, but if they are just gossips or want something to use against you then asking them what they are going to do with the information will stop them in their tracks.
Tuesday 11th of August 2020
You're right! Some people have more open boundaries with their small talk and don't think that they are making someone else feel uncomfortable. This is a good point Heylan, thanks for the comment! Enjoy your day :)
Sunday 29th of September 2019
This is a great post! I Just wanted to thank you for your knowledge and insight, you have helped me massively?
Tuesday 1st of October 2019
I love hearing this Paige! You're welcome and thank you so much for reading my post! I hope you enjoy the rest of your day! :)
Friday 6th of September 2019
Thanks for the post! I love your blog so much! I just wanted to tell you that and say that Im learning so much from it!
Monday 2nd of September 2019
Thank you Jennifer for this post! I have a few nosy friends and this will really help me talk to them without feeling like I've given out too much!
Tuesday 3rd of September 2019
You're very welcome Sarah! I appreciate that you enjoyed this post!
Friday 6th of April 2018
Great post Jennifer! ? You have shared so many helpful suggestions and I really enjoyed reading it. I agree, changing the subject to something more uplifting and lighthearted can avoid negativity and gossip. Thank you for sharing and spreading the positivity ?? xx
Bexa | www.hellobexa.com
Sunday 29th of April 2018
Hey Bexa! I really am glad that you enjoyed reading it! And you are so kind telling me that I share the positivity, when we all know that you do the best job at it :) !