Harriet the Spy: Tales of a Full-blown Eavesdropping Queen.
When I was younger, my older brother would call me Harriet the Spy, named after the 1996 kids movie. Harriet was an aspiring writer. As a kid, I don’t remember wanting to write nearly as much as I wanted to spy on my neighbors. I would watch them get out of their cars after work, and l’d watch the neighborhood kids play street hockey. I did a lot of this all from my little perch in our tree house in the front yard.
I’m a Big Eavesdropper.
I listen in to peoples conversations while working and doing routine tasks or while eating on my lunch break. I hear people’s thoughts and feelings being expressed to one another loudly and sometimes softly…
I think I have good ears. I don’t always let it be known that I can hear them. In fact, I may just do the opposite. I continue doing whatever I do; eat, read, paint my nails, and act like this is all I’m focusing on. But I do hear you. And I may be laughing inside at you. Or I may be sympathizing with you. And I may have a million questions that I’m asking myself about what I’m hearing.
But this can be a tricky situation. It’s rude to eavesdrop and then butt into a conversation uninvited. But just plain old simple eavesdropping is perfectly decent, right? My rationale is that there is no harm done as long as my mouth is not running and my brain may be the only one jumping to conclusions.
Hilariously Great Eavesdropping Encounters
Tools to Master the Art of Eavesdropping
The Lovely French and Their Talented Eyes.
I once heard that the French are people watchers. I picture them in cute little French bistros having cheese and wine and observing. They spend extraordinary amounts of time at the window table over deliciously scrumptious meals - simply taking in the scenes and noticing small things like the lady in the red hat that was missing a glove. Or the gentleman throwing coins into the fountain. Each unique person has a story and the French are great observers. Or so, I’ve been told.
Piecing Together the Eavesdropping Tidbits.
I sometimes hear the tiniest pieces of information, via eavesdropping of course, and I’m kind of left hanging, waiting patiently for the person or persons to divulge a little bit more info to confirm any possible theories. When they neglect to do so, natural instincts fill in the blanks. If I hear someone ask when is the baby due- I do a quick mental roll call of anyone expecting, but when something isn’t fitting then further investigative eavesdropping is necessary.
My ears perk up a little higher. My mouth drops open just a small bit. It reminds me a little of the board game Clue and that we are simply looking for the candlestick in the Ballroom by none other than Miss Scarlet.
What you don’t do if you can’t get the whole gist of a story is butt in and ask for clarification. If you are good eavesdropper you will be able to piece the story together by the info that you already have and/or you would drop it all together and eavesdrop on someone else.
Eavesdropping is An Art.
Eavesdropping is an art if done appropriately and legitimately.
It occupies my time wonderfully. It makes dull work days more fascinating by letting me in on other peoples interesting or relatively sad lives. If someone is talking about something private, loud enough for you to hear, then they have sure put their foot in their mouth! They are probably now regretting their loud and blatant storytelling moment, but whose fault is that?
This is where I come in, but not literally.
Here is my advice:
- If it’s a good story, comedic and light- run with it and use it as you like.
- If it’s a personal story and includes intimate (scandalous) or upsetting details- lock it up in your memory and leave it there. It's not your business to be sharing someone else's tragedies, but, yes, scandalous stories sure are fun to go running with...
- A distraught or upsetting story, although not to be repeated once you have heard it, should be graciously recognized. Your internal beliefs and considerations may be effected, for the better, as you have heard something that touched you and may’ve made you more accepting, considerate and benign.
I like eavesdropping on oddities. Not necessary negatives, just strange ones that make you go, huh?
Primary Reason to Eavesdrop?
Eavesdropping about Me.
On a rare occasion, while eavesdropping, I’ll hear my name come up. It’s always fun to eavesdrop on yourself, especially when praise and recognition are being whispered behind your back. Obviously direct compliments are superior but there is something special about the compliment you never received. It’s like you know you are good and there ain’t nothin’ you can do about it!
My Recommendations on Eavesdropping.
All in all-eavesdropping takes work. It takes time and patience to develop a good story and interpret the way it was intended. It takes much watching but more listening and a whole ton of piecing together of those little tidbits of information. Continue the task your working on when eavesdropping and don’t make it blatant that you are in-fact eavesdropping, and don’t pass up great information, newsworthy quotes or even some nice ideas for the sunny weekend ahead. THE OPTIONS ARE ENDLESS. Happy Eavesdropping.