Handling Meddlers and Busy Bodies
What You or I May Be Doing
That Attracts Meddlers, Busy Bodies,
and Gossips . . .
- Too open with our personal information
- Talk too much in front of these types of people
- Have a tendency to share too often
- Feel as we have to share all with people
- We are made to feel guily if we don't share
First, just let me say this. In the past weeks, I've been reading hubs by many talented writers on HubPages. Writers, whom I cannot name them all in this limited space, but writers with far-more talent than I. And by reading their hubs, I am left to believe that according to the HubPages guidelines, our hubs are to be Useful; Interesting; Can be used to teach others and subjects that are real. I pray that this hub is more useful than anything else. (KENNETH AVERY).
OKAY. LET'S BE REAL
They are everywhere. It doesn't matter where you or I go. They are there. Waiting. Calculating their next slick move. Eagerly-awaiting when and how they can slither into your personal life, gather touchy inside info that is reserved for you and your family, leave, and tell as many people as they can about you. Am I talking about deadly snakes? Kinda. Well, what to you want me to do, lie? Okay. To be sensitive, meddlers and or busy bodies. That is what people, even the Bible, calls people who do nothing all day but go from house-to-house talking about others in order to find out more about you so they can tell other people what you are doing.
Am I right? A better question would be, "have you ever been hurt by a meddler? A busy body?" If you are honest, you will answer yes. I know that over my life, I have been hurt many times by making the fatal mistake of confiding in a smiling face that led me to believe that I could trust the person behind the smiling face. This subject is so serious that next time you get a chance, listen to the classic hit by a group called, The Undisputed Truth , whose hit, "Smilin' Faces," skyrocketed to the top when it was released in the 70's. I love this song because there is a lot of truth in their lyrics. Truth be told, you or I, cannot trust many faces with smiles.
Before I get too involved with this story, allow me give you my definition of meddlers, busy bodies and gossips. Bear with me, because these are groups of people whom I have had very little experience with over the years by way of 'breaking bread,' sharing fellowship and taking them to the Annual Elks Lodge Fourth of July Picnic and Hoedown. Not that I am any better than these unique groups of people, it's just that every time I encounter a meddler, busy body or gossip, someone gets hurt. Me. Not them. I do not see the justice in that.
The Definition of
a Meddler is someone, for some reason, has this overwhelming, uncontrollable urge. Drive to poke into your personal business without invitation.
a Busy Body is pretty much, the same as a meddler, except to a more heightened degree. You see, a meddler is a selfish person. They meddle for the sake of themselves knowing all about your personal business where a busy body does dig into your intimate, personal details and carries this highly-sensitive information either to innocent people who don't know how to recognize a busy body, or to other busy bodies to compare notes of whom has the best inside knowledge of people they have encountered.
a Gossip is someone or a group of people who, for some mysterious reason sit around. Stand around. And talk about what they have heard. Over heard or been told in confidence by trusting. Good-hearted people. I would rank a gossip being as socially-dangerous as a busy body. Or first-cousins.
A BREAK-DOWN OF KNOWN TYPES OF MEDDLERS,
BUSY BODIES AND GOSSIPS
- The Smooth-Talking Meddler - is many times, your best friend. Your trusted neighbor. Or work colleague. A smooth-talking meddler can disguise their meddling by masking their pointed questions (about your business) with pseudo caring remarks that prod you into a caring trust for their concern.
- The Straight-Forward Meddler - just comes out and asks you about much you paid for your new car, or were you and your wife having a heated-argument last night for they, the straight-forward meddler overheard some high-toned vocal tones emanating from your house. This should be a red flag to you because your house is a good four blocks from the straight-forward meddler's house.
- The Humble "Acting" Busy Body - who just happens to show up at your house immediately after a scandal has broke into public news. Such as a public argument in the same church you attend as this humble 'acting' busy body. And this individual seems to be Christian enough to cover whatever suspicion you have to keep you confiding in him or her about the ruckus at church. Don't be surprised. Alarmed. Or upset when what you have said in confidence to this Ol' Boy/Girl - gossip. This person is hard to spot. They are always laughing. Slapping you on the back. Helping you with every task that you ask them to help you with. They come in male or female roles and can fool the best of people. Why? They know, by some secret power, that you are 'down and out,' and need someone to talk to. Here they are. They show up right on time. When you are at your lowest. And their craft of gathering gossip is so perfected that the C.I.A. could take lessons from them. They simply suggest that you need to, as they put it, "unload. For I'm here, buddy," and that does it. You have always trusted them. So why not unload (in confidence) what's bothering you? Well, you do. For hours. Unload. And unload. About how a certain guy (or girl) has treated you. Do not be alarmed that in the next few days, this person you were talking about to fun-loving, good ol' boy or girl, shuns you. Avoids you. And leaves you stunned. You know why? This same do-gooder, the one whose shoulder you cried on for hours, visited this other person and unloaded on them to gain some social status.
DO NOT PANIC
For there are some very easy ways that you can not only deal with, but successfully overcome the advances and annoying burden of the meddler, busy body and gossip. Without feeling guilty, shamed, or wanting to call them and apologize.
FIRST - be brave. Yes, brave. You do not have to cower to the meddler, busy body or gossip. Your personal business is your business. Not mine. Not theirs. Not anyone else's. Keep it on that level. YOUR business.
SECOND - stand your ground when a known meddler, busy body or gossip meets you in public or even at your front door. Do not be afraid to ask, "May I help you?" And when they give you some flimsy excuse for their being at your house unannounced, smile. Clam up. And keep your mouth shut. It will not hurt these people who love to carry tales from house to house to be in suspense. Stop being a welcome mat. You are at home. You are not compelled to answer any questions. From anyone. Except the authorities. And my wager is that your common, garden-variety meddler, busy body or gossip is far from a local policemen. A state investigator. Or F.B.I. agent.
THIRD - be nice. As the late Patrick Swayse's character, "Dalton," the cooler in Road House advised his bouncers. Just be nice. Even to the meddler, busy body or gossip. By acting up. Showing your anger. Being rude, you are playing into their hands. Just be calm. Nice. And say very little. This will be your best defense.
Read This Mock Conversation
and See If You Can Profit By Using This . . .
MEDDLER: Say, Bill. That's a lovely car you just bought. Uh, how much did you pay for her. Bet it was a fortune, huh?
YOU: (smiling) Excuse me, Tim. Why do you ask?
MEDDLER: Oh, errr, just curious. Was it more than $25,000? Bet it was!
YOU (still smiling) Well, Tim, (laughs), I have to ask again, why?
MEDDLER: man, you sure are a private person. I never meant any harm. See ya'
YOU (still smiling) no problem, Tim. Take it easy.
Now you see how easy that was? You didn't get upset. Angry. Ready to rumble. No, you carried yourself like a champ. Tim won't be back for a long time. Unless you have blabbed to more neighbors, he may never know how much your new car cost you.
Another prime example would be if a busy body, a colleague or person who goes to the same church as you, should happen to gain entrance to your house with by means of wanting to ask some advice of you. I must say that anytime a known busy body "needs" advice from you, just be on guard. Watch what you say. And things will work fine.
For Example . . .
YOU (being nice) oh, uh, come in, George. Have a seat.
GEORGE/BUSY BODY: oh, uh, thanks so much. My you have a lovely house. You've got new furniture since I last visited.
YOU: Thanks, George. Now what advice was it that you needed from me? And could you make it snappy, my wife is wanting to go out this evening. Get my drift? (strictly a strategic move. And a wise move at that).
GEORGE/BUSY BODY: Well, uh, I don't know how to say this, but, now understand, I'm not here to talk about anyone, but, did you hear what Larry said last night after church, when we were standing in the parking lot?
YOU: No, George, I didn't. And what is what Larry said any of my business?
GEORGE/BUSY BODY: Oh, uh, ha, ha. I'm sorry. Didn't mean to rub you the wrong way, but Larry seems to think that, now mind you, I didn't believe him, you and John are trying to force him out of the Men's Club. And I was, uh, just concerned.
YOU: George, that's nice of you, but why?
GEORGE/BUSY BODY: Why? Well, uh, errr, I, guess I thought that you might, uh, well,hey, I got to be running. See ya' at the office.
YOU: George, what was that advice you needed?
GEORGE/BUSY BODY: Oh, never mind. I will talk at ya' later.
See there, friends? You didn't do anything wrong. You didn't say anything wrong. When you defused George, the busy body's leverage, he was left without a leg to stand on. And when he knew that you were not the least bit interested in his "20 questions" game, he was left with one option: to leave.
Now granted, there are 'those' times when pushed too far, a person has to use a firm tone voice to deal with meddlers, busy bodies and gossips. But NEVER, in public or private, unless you or your family are being endangered, use physical force to keep your business to yourself. A physical encounter is just what the meddler, busy body and gossip's slick lawyer ordered. For you to cause this annoyance some harm so they can clean you out in court.
Let's say that you have been nice, cordial, easy to get along with until the meddler, busy body or gossip's personal questions get to be too much. How can you handle this without looking like a 'dastardly Dan'?
Easy. Here are some VOCAL examples of how you can rid yourself of a meddler, busy body or gossip and still come out smelling like Stetson cologne for men.
- What's it to you, buddy?
- I don't see as that's any of your business.
- Did I not say, "that matter is personal?"
- I am sorry, but I cannot discuss that with you.
- Why are you wanting to know?
- Why is it so important to you to find out how much my wife weighs?
- I don't want to hurt your feelings, but I don't have to answer you.
- Let's just change the subject.
- I don't care what Marty told you, I am not discussing my new house with you.
- My wife and kids are my concern.
- I am not repeating this again, "please don't ask that question again."
So with this piece under your belt, and hopefully in your memories, you shouldn't live in any fear at all of any meddler, busy body or gossip. You can hold your head up like a fine American man or woman. Be proud. Be thankful you live in a country where a person's business is their own area of concern.
Walk with your pride showing. Your chest out. A smile on your face. You are now a better-informed person. From now on, meddlers, busy bodies, and gossips will tremble when you walk by. They will know better to ask you annoying, invasive, and personal questions.
Like, "Did you really read all of my article?" What did your wife think about my article?
Those kind of questions.
© 2011 Kenneth Avery