Is being too curious really a bad thing?

By Samantha Amaro | Reporter

Picture this: two friends are talking with bowed heads in low tones when a third person walks up and asks what they’re discussing. Is this third hypothetical person being nosy? Is that necessarily a negative thing?

Social constructs dictate that private matters are not to be dug into without an invitation by the person involved or another bystander. Whether the person the rumor is based on freely fills you in on what happened or even the people gossiping about the event informs you of what happened –– this is not a moot point. Asking outright what a person is dealing with is an appalling act –– seen by others as acting on bravery or committing an impertinence. It is simply not done, unless the goal is to comfort the individual or contribute to gossip.

Being labeled as a nosy person can carry a very negative connotation, as someone solely interested in the negative things that is affecting a person’s life.

Honestly, being nosy is more human and normal than anything else. While friends may insist they are never looking for drama in their lives, the statement would automatically be considered a lie. Perhaps what they mean is that they do not want any personal drama that immediately effects them.

The truth is, everyone thrives on being nosy. The summation of various dictionaries would describe the word as someone showing too much curiosity in others’ affairs. I cannot recall a single person that does not do this –– everyone I know is nosy. This does not signify that everyone I know burrows into each other’s lives in search of ways to belittle others, but it does mean that everyone is deeply interested in the lives of others.

The adjective is usually attributed to people who are intrusive on the lives of people living nearby, but this is not always the case. Being interested in another person’s life can deal with reality, or it can be that a person is deeply interested in the lives of people who exist between the pages of a book or on the television screen.

In this sense, no one can combat the statement that they are nosy. Fans of television shows usually stick around to see how the plot would trouble the protagonist or their favorite characters. Avid readers are constantly jumping from following one novel’s protagonist to another’s, experiencing the nuances of their lives and delving deep into the problems of the characters.

In terms of books, hearing the details of a story not like your own can be pretty inspiring, or fascinating at the very least. Learning of something that happened to someone can allow you to step out of your own problems in your own life. For the duration of the story, the real life problems that hover in the air above an audience or reader are forgotten. Another person becomes the subject of importance, and hearing of their problems that can vary so differently from your own is exciting.

I’m not trying to justify how some people eavesdrop on conversations to know what someone is saying or look over a person’s shoulders to see what someone is doing. The actions that are done by curious people can only be explained by those responsible for them. I’m merely explaining that no matter the person, being nosy is just a part of the human existence.