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Minding Your Own Business

This is a blog about manners.

You would have to try not to notice that everyone's business is everyone's business these days.  I blame the social media and I'll tell you why. Anytime anyone has the sniffles or their child scored two goals during the soccer game or a divorce is brewing or they just made awesome amuse bouche, it's blasted into the universe — via Facebook or Twitter — for all, (or almost all), to see. This laundering your entire life habit has given people leave to nose into the most private affairs of others with impunity. They actually think they have the right to ask about these things and put the ask-ee in the position of either demurring or punching them in the face.

The media has some guilt in this, for sure. Can you believe the things they ask people who have lost a loved one or their home or their dog? It's cruel and they should be subjected to the same treatment when they are in dire straights.

The other thing that everyone does these days that drives me crazy is, they comment on everything you do and they either tell you it's wrong or right, depending on their stripe. It's absolutely no one's business if I warm up my food in the microwave in a container that is not FDA approved. Who am I hurting? Do you really eat sushi, they ask? Do I have to answer that? If I say yes, I do enjoy a spicy tuna roll, I set myself up to be told that I am going to die of mercury poisoning or they consider sushi the same thing as bait. Frankly, I don't care but why do they?

When discovered that I am a runner, I am subjected to endless lectures on the evils of running from my knees to my bladder. If they find out my political registration, I must listen to the horrible things for which my party stands and the ignorance of their policies. If they discover my love for dogs, their cats are simply more preferable. Coffee? No. Tea. Am I not aware of the unfair trade agreements? My running shoes are made in an Asian country so I promote child labor. The list goes on and on and its become so exhausting to talk to anyone that I'm considering pulling the covers over my head and never coming out.

I've created a list, (you know how much I love lists by now), for those of you who feel uncontrollably compelled to issue opinions on every little thing you notice about others. This will help you have more mannerly congress. And also it will keep those of us who are being subjected to your Spanish Inquisition from finding reasons for avoiding you in any and all social situations.

Do not ask personal questions unless invited to do so.  A personal question is anything that pertains to subjects such as hair, ('so when did you start losing your hair?' is personal, by the way), body size or shape including body parts, food preferences or what someone is currently eating, age, weight, marital status, sexual orientation, (conversely, no one wants to listen to a litany of your orientation be it hetero, bi, or homosexual - let's just leave our preferences in our homes where they truly belong), political agendas and religious beliefs or affiliations.

It is impolite to question someone's fur coat, shoes, beverage or general choices.  Understandably, given the current climate of everyone believing they should know everything about everyone else, you may be wondering what in the world you can talk about.  Well, here's the list.

  • The weather.
  • Their occupation.
  • Their hobbies.
  • Their travels.
  • Books they've read
  • Sports they enjoy, including teams and if you hate their team, you need to choke on those nasty little comments you were considering.
  • Do they have children? Boys or girls?  How many of each?
  • Pets?
  • Do they enjoy wine?

You get the picture. (I hope.) Let's all resolve to remove our noses from the business of others. This will make for a much more enjoyable new year. And I can come out from under the covers.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

sam January 04, 2013 at 05:20 AM
I agree with you but I would include, "so what do you do?" as another question that isn't asked in polite company. You either get a rehearsed response including lots of "global, communications, district, business unit, manager...blah. blah" ...or you're making the poor guy squirm because he was downsized in 2008.

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