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Things People Don't Want To Know

Updated on January 28, 2010

What Do People Want To Know?

People want to know so many things that it's impossible to make a comprehensive list. They want to know how to use a computer, to perform CPR, to change a tire, to speak a foreign language, to swim, to administer first aid, and to do just about anything. However, the one thing they want to know more than anything else is how you're doing. After all, don't you get asked "How are you?", in some form or another, almost every day of your life? And this is not just true in the English language, it's true in virtually every language spoken around the world. While the expression "How are you?", wie gehts es dir, comment allez-vous, come stai, and cómo estás all ask the same thing, do people REALLY want to know the condition of your health? I don't think so, and if you don't believe me, try telling them how ill you are every time they ask and they'll stop asking. So, people may have lengthy lists of things they want to know, but it's also clear that they have some things they don't want to know. Let's examine a few.

Previous Love Affairs Of Your Man/Woman

How many arms have held her and how many lips have kissed her are thoughts a man may have about the woman in his life, but does he really want to know? In most cases, probably not. These are such common thoughts for both men and women that Don Robertson and Howard Barnes used them as lyrics in their song titled "I Really Don't Want to Know". While the song was published in 1953, the content has remained so popular throughout the years that it has been sung and included in albums by Les Paul and Mary Ford, Eddy Arnold, Elvis Presley, Tommy Edwards, Dolly Parton, Skeeter Davis, John Travolta, and a long list of others.

Even in cases where we pursue such information about the man/woman in our lives, we generally stop somewhere along the road because we just don't really want to know all of the details.

The Nutritional Content Of The Fast Food We Eat

According to nutrition writer Jennifer LaRue Huget, "when you've got your heart set on a Big Mac, the last thing you want is to have to face up to the calories, fat and salt the darned thing contains". For most of us, we simply don't want to know the nutritional content of the fast food we eat.

A group of researchers from Yale University supported that conclusion when they did a study to determine the number of people who looked at the nutrition information provided by a group of fast food restaurants in various locations in and around New York City. Of the 4,311 people they observed, only six looked at the nutrition information provided by the restaurant. Do you seek out nutrition data when you eat at fast food restaurants?

About You

While our friends and family members generally ask us questions about ourselves because they are genuinely interested in our lives, they sometimes aren't asking out of interest or concern. Sometimes it's just to be polite or cordial. In fact, in some cases, it's solely for the purpose of opening the door so they can tell you about themselves.

During my high school years, the most common question my friends would ask me when report cards were issued was "what did you get?" Since they were mostly "A" students and I was a solid "C" student, I think they were more interested in telling me about their accomplishments rather than looking for an opportunity to congratulate me on mine. I'm sure you can think of times when people asked you about yourself and seconds later you found yourself listening to some lengthy story about them.

Medical Diagnosis For An Untreatable Disease

Studies show that people are more likely to seek a diagnostic test for a disease they believe to be serious and treatable and to avoid a test for a disease they believe is serious and untreatable. This is true for many cancer, HIV/AIDS, and Alzheimer’s patients.

According to Erica Dawson of the Yale School of Management, “If people think they have no control, they may not seek information about their health status even if they are at risk for a serious disease. In fact, they may go out of their way to actively avoid any information,”

What you don't know can kill you, but many of us still choose not to know.

The Truth

Most people, in at least one or more circumstance, don't want to know the truth because it might force them to make a change that they aren't willing to make. After all, the truth has a way of pointing out our shortcomings and faults and sometimes it's just too difficult to handle. While we would all like to paint a more positive portrait of ourselves, we are flawed human beings and, as such, sometimes resist the truth so we can remain comfortable in our old mindset.

Examples of this are numerous. A parent of a child who suspects his/her child is homosexual or tansgendered, doesn't always want to know the truth. Many of the citizens of Nazi Germany didn't necessarily want to know about the existence of concentration camps to achieve the Final Solution, and many people today still seek to erase that knowledge.

Fortunately, people want to know many more things than they don't want to know. However, there is one thing they definitely want to know but shouldn't. George Bernard Shaw said it best when he said: "The things most people want to know about are usually none of their business".


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    • PaoloJpm profile image

      John Paolo B.Magdaluyo 

      6 years ago from Philippine

      Great hub! I really enjoyed it. very interesting yet self relating topic.

    • ElGringoSalsero profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Palm City, Florida

      Shaz, Sage, Better, & Elayne

      You guys are so good to me. Shaz says it's me, me, me, and me. That may be true for her, but I see it as I, I, I, and I. Elayne really got it right when she said that I turn things upside down. In fact, after telling a kid that I was built upside down, he asked me if I had hair on my feet. Frankly, not being sure, I did take a look when I had a few minutes alone. Thanks for the wonderful support.

    • elayne001 profile image


      9 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Way to turn things upside down and coming up with some great ideas. Kudos on your nomination too. Aloha from Hawaii.

    • Better Yourself profile image

      Better Yourself 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Great hub! I really enjoyed reading this! Congratulations on your hubnugget nomination

    • Sage Williams profile image

      Sage Williams 

      9 years ago

      ElGringoSalsero - You've posed an interesting topic and you hit the nail on the head, identifying some very important issues that people really don't want to know.

      Great Job,


    • shazwellyn profile image


      9 years ago from Great Britain

      People are very concerned with themselves... me personally? Well, there is me and me and me and me... oh and even more... there is me!

      p.s. how are you doing? x

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      ElGringo, okay I get it! This hub made me smile...well I do want to do you feel if I tell you that your hub has been chosen for the Hubnuggets--that you are a Hubnugget Wannabe??? I want to know so please make sure when you figure out what this is all about, I'm coming back to find out how you felt okay? Promise??? LOL

      To see the Hubnuggets, I'll beam you up right now if you click this link---here:

      Vote, vote, vote and promote too. The more votes, the more chances of winning. Good luck!

    • Elleasku profile image


      9 years ago from In your imagination.

      Indeed! I can attempt a rudimentary rendering of the dance steps but may fail miserably at crafting a hub that fully describes the criteria needed to elicit "La danse icky." It takes a lot to bring it on and photographing or videotaping such would be like trying to capture images of Sasquatch.

    • ElGringoSalsero profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Palm City, Florida

      I really appreciate your response and love the insights you shared. Being a visual person, I sure would like to see the Icky Dance. Would you consider writing a hub, complete with illustrations, photographs, and a video?

    • Elleasku profile image


      9 years ago from In your imagination.

      I have come to believe that most people only want to know the bare minimum about others; just enough to feel comfortable in the presence of another human and to feel okay about their own perceived shortcomings.

      As for myself, I rather enjoy knowing carefully selected nasty bits about people and I don't mind sharing my own painfully "truthful" moments but I draw the line at discussing bodily functions, funky hair growth, what the dog hacked up on the carpet and other cringe worthy subjects. My rule is, “If hearing it uttered by another would make me want to do the Icky Dance then I shall keep it to myself!”

    • ElGringoSalsero profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Palm City, Florida

      Jayjay40. Thanks for your very kind words. I really appreciate it, especially since the compliments come from an obviously sophisticated British woman whose culture demands precise and articulate use of language.

    • jayjay40 profile image


      9 years ago from Bristol England

      very thought provoking,a well written hub that I enjoyed reading


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