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Dealing with Excess Curiosity

Updated on June 23, 2014

By Michelle Liew Tsui-Lin

All Rights Reserved

How to deal with a nosy neighbor

A slight affront with a woman who sells drinks at a nearby coffee shop left me feeling unsettled.

The woman, who makes the lives of every customer her business, asked me a few personal questions. Appalled by her intrusiveness, I snapped.

My outburst led to me being named a Tigress by the coffee shop staff. The somewhat comic incident nettled me, but also made me ask if I had a part in contributing to the little fiasco.

Fortunately, this was a minor quarrel. But mishandling the questions of busy bodies such as this woman can lead to more uncomfortable consequences, in environments where you spend most of your time.

Certainly, avoiding those who ask inquisitive questions in the workplace or the neighborhood is impossible in the short-term. A little know-how about managing relations with them is always helpful.


People are too curious because of.....

1. Insecurity

2. Feeling left out.

3. Competitiveness

4. Need for control

5. Ignorance of boundaries

Dealing with a nosy neighbor

What makes people overly curious?

Dealing with the too curious begins with knowing what brings out the insatiable desire to know everything about others. A nosy personality evolves gradually.

1. Inquisitive people have feelings of insecurity.

The busy body develops annoying, overly inquisitive traits out of a need for security.

Most of them feel uncomfortable not knowing about others. They need awareness of where they stand with everyone and want to impress.

2. They feel left out.

Their curiosity may also stem from not feeling as though they are part of the group. Nosy Parkers ask questions for fear of being excluded.

They fear being left out of important loops if they do not have first-hand knowledge.

3. Inquisitive people are highly competitive.

Besides the fear of exclusion, those who ask very personal questions do so to stake out the competition.

This is true in the workplace. Those who ask us personal questions want to know if we jeopardize them professionally.

4. They have a need for control.

Hence, their questions are a control mechanism. Knowing as much as they can is a way of staying on top of things.

If nothing else, the inquisitiveness makes you aware that they are present.

5. Ignorance of boundaries

Finally, the constantly curious person may simply be unaware of what boundaries are.

He lacks the empathy to understand that there are limits to the questions one can ask.


The Effects of Excess Curiosity

Excess curiosity.....

1. Is stressful

2. makes you feel violated

3. is frightening

4. makes you feel unsafe

5. is toxic

Excess Curiosity and Negativity

Asking too many questions produces a number of negative effects. Insatiably curious people, unwittingly, create an uncomfortable atmosphere.

1. Constant curiosity causes stress.

The first of these is distress. Annoying, personal questions make you defensive.

Consequently, you feel the pressure to always be on guard. The feeling is draining, especially if you are in a Nosy Parker's company every day.

2. You feel intruded upon.

Extreme curiosity is invasive. You feel as though your every move is under scrutiny.

The inquisitive questions are a tame violation of privacy.

3. The questions are discomfiting.

These questions are also akin to stalking. People ask them because they have been watchful.

It simply does not make anyone comfortable to realize that another person is so concerned about your activities.

4. Excess curiosity is toxic.

Obviously, nosy questions with a negative agenda create toxicity. They sabotage relationships and are unsettling.

It is no surprise that the Nosy Parker is on the list of toxic people to avoid.


To deal with the insatiably curious...

1. Think about what questions you are willing

to answer

2. Don't be aggressive

3. Ask why they want to know.

4. Be honest

5. Be consistent

Dealing with the constantly curious

Unfortunately, evading him is impossible. So how do overcome the questions of the constantly curious?

1. Think about what questions you are willing to answer.

If a Nosy Parker is constantly in your midst, it is worth taking the time to think about the questions you are comfortable answering.

Tolerating the Nosy Parker is a necessity, but you are certainly not obliged to answer all his questions.

2. Don't be aggressive.

You do not have to answer questions that intrude on your privacy, but denying them aggressively does not work in your favor.

Being combative has negative consequences at the workplace, so it is better to find other ways to deflect his questions.

3. Ask why.

A better way is to ask why he wants to know. This sends a signal that he should avoid questions of a personal nature.

This also allows you to discover the reasons behind his probing and, if necessary, address important concerns.

4. Be honest.

It also helps if you answer curious questions as honestly as you can. Let the Nosy Parker know if you are uncomfortable answering his questions. That usually discourages any further inquisitiveness.

5. Remember consistency.

When answering curious questions, reply consistently. Always answer in the same way.

Any deviation leads to more unnecessary, inaccurate speculation.

How do you deal with rude comments?

See results


Insatiable curiosity is annoying and tenses you up. But it can still be tactfully dealt with.


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    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Manatita!

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      It can be, Janet!

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Yup, we're's the ones who want to be intrusive and ask tactless questions who are a little offensive.

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Snerfu.

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      True, Cyber Shelly!

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks ologsinquito!

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      That's the point.....these fols do not understand boundaries! Thanks, Ebonny!

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Perspycacious!!

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Audrey!!

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Precisely, Stephanie! They can be annoying!

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, thumb.

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks Bill.

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks,a Dahlia!

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Devika.

    • manatita44 profile image


      6 years ago from london

      Interesting article and very good advice. Insecurity is a big one here for most of us. Shalom!

    • janetwrites profile image

      Janet Giessl 

      6 years ago from Georgia country

      I had been living next to a very nosy neighbor which was really annoying. I'm glad I could move to another place. Thank you for sharing this interesting hub about how to deal with excess curiosity.

    • torrilynn profile image


      6 years ago

      I find myself to always be curious about a lot of things. but I am in no way or form a busybody haha. thanks for the read.

    • snerfu profile image

      Vivian Sudhir 

      6 years ago from Madurai, India

      Very nice article -- wish I had written something like that.

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 

      6 years ago

      Enjoyed the write - while you do get the genuine busybody who is just plain nosey - do you think there are those who may find you interesting and want to know more about you but perhaps are too direct? Up, interesting and useful.

    • ologsinquito profile image


      6 years ago from USA

      Everything you wrote is so true. Busybodies are so annoying and are best avoided. Voted up.

    • Ebonny profile image


      6 years ago from UK

      In the distant past I have disclosed information to a "nosy parker" which I later regretted. I think I was so taken aback by the question that I blurted out the answer, most probably because I didn't want to appear rude in not answering. Nowadays I am better at keeping the things I want to keep private, private. The advice you share here is well thought through, practical and doable. Thanks for sharing.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 

      6 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Busybodies and gossips are to be simply be avoided whenever possible, but have this Hub's list ready when needed. Good job, as usual.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      6 years ago from Dubai

      Great suggestions to handle people with excess curiosity. Such people can be a real pain and difficult to deal with.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      6 years ago from California

      Nicely done Michelle!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 

      6 years ago from USA

      Although I'm usually a very open person, I resent it when people question me about things that are none of their business. I'm afraid that I'm sometimes not very subtle...I just say, "That's none of your business" or :I really don't want to talk about that." Unfortunately, the same people who are overly curious are also the ones who can't take a hint!

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 

      6 years ago from India

      Interesting hub. The photos are good...

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very interesting thoughts....there was a little twist in this article and suddenly we went from curiosity to busy bodies....nice write.

    • livingsta profile image


      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      This is interesting. Something that we come across quite often in our day to day life and something that makes us even avoid certain places and people. Knowing the right tactics to deal with these situations is the best solution. Thank you for sharing this with us. Voted up and sharing :-)

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Busy bodies are annoying.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      interesting hub about rude comments well mentioned tips here.


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