The Art of Nosiness | Mark’s Remarks - Republic-Times | News

The Art of Nosiness | Mark’s Remarks

By on August 15, 2018 at 10:00 am

There are people who are so good at it, you don’t even notice. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t you know a nosy person who has to know everyone’s business all the time?

The funniest people are the ones who can’t help it. They are just naturally curious and their need to know supersedes any semblance of good manners. They will come right out and ask the most nosy, most intrusive questions. They will read over your shoulder and go through your desk drawer. Their need to know information is paramount.

Now look, I’m just as curious as the next person. But often I find myself saying “I’m on a need-to-know basis.” There is so much I don’t care about, not because I don’t care about people, but because I have no time or brain space to soak up every detail. It sometimes makes my head hurt. I couldn’t care less about knowing people’s business.

Recently, I was talking to someone about something rather confidential. I kid you not; an outside person came up to us and joined the conversation. What do you do in that instance? I kept talking, but I finally stopped and changed the subject. The person then asked who the subject of our conversation was. In my most tactful, professional manner, I said “Are you a newspaper reporter?” I’ve said that before to people. When nosiness borders on poor manners, I become just as rude.

There are some folks who are such masters at finding out information; you don’t even know you are being pumped for information. People who are really good at it often make matter-of-fact statements. They don’t question anything. They make the statement so you can either agree or disagree with them. Before you know it, you’ve divulged more information than you meant to.

One of my friends told us about a nosy neighbor he had back in the day. She had her dog in the yard quite often, smoking a cigarette while the dog took care of business. He would be out in the yard or working on his car and couldn’t help noticing how often his neighbor was in her yard. If anything interesting was going on, she’d bring the dog out. One particular summer, when he and his wife were planting trees and plants, he feared the neighbor would smoke herself silly. If something was going on down the street, she’d hook the dog up to his leash and off they’d go. If any information was needed, you could depend on this lady to know what was going on anywhere in the general vicinity.

The funniest thing he told me had to do with the untimely death of said dog. After the dog passed away, the neighbor had a ceramic dog on her porch. Several times, she’d come out on the porch and pick up that ceramic dog, much like she did when she had a live dog. Apparently, her need to know was so great that she didn’t mind risking questions of her sanity as she scooped up the fragile pooch.

Even though the stories are funny and nosy people are annoying, it might do us all some good to try to understand why. I have found some nosy folks just need more human interaction than most. They are lonely, or they just enjoy talking. They haven’t learned proper social skills or no one has told them they are being intrusive. 

I mean, let’s face it; it isn’t easy to tell someone to mind their own business. More than anything, most folks who are chronically nosy learned the art from a parent.

The older I get, the more humor I get from people who are blatantly up front with their curiosity. It doesn’t necessarily make someone unlikable. And let’s face it; some folks simply don’t care what others think of them.

They just come right out with it and ask. 

Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.