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Mind Your Own Business

Recently, I saw a cute expression that made me smile. It went something like, “I found your nose. It was in my business.” I also thought though that the action of others who don’t mind their own business isn’t something we smile about. In fact, a recent coaching client identified this sort of behaviour as a trigger for her. That is, one of the goals she brought to coaching was wanting to frame a difficult conversation with a co-worker she calls “nosy”. Despite many efforts asking her colleague to “mind her own business”, the behaviour hasn’t stopped. Apparently, it has become increasingly intrusive.

When considering why people “nose” into others’ lives, my client pondered a number of possibilities. For instance, she wondered if it’s a way to bond, or the person is unhappy with her life. She reflected, too, that maybe the co-worker is “just plain snoopy” because she’s bored. More negative assumptions focused on the co-worker trying to get information – to gossip with others about my client’s personal or professional life, or to sabotage her career goals.

This is not the first time – and undoubtedly won’t be the last – when clients (or friends and colleagues) react to others who seem to want to make our business their own. If this behaviour is a trigger for you or if someone has reacted to you with words that indicate she or he sees you as minding their business, the questions for this week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog might help unpack this sort of provocation.

  • When you have reacted to someone who seems to be sticking her or his nose into your business, what specifically is she or he doing at those times?
  • Considering one of those times, what do you think her or his intentions were?
  • What bothers you most about this person minding your business?
  • How else does her or his actions have an impact on you and your relationship with her or him?
  • What are the challenges in letting the person know how you are experiencing their behaviour?
  • What might you say to the person provoking you with her or his nosiness in your business that might stop the behaviour and be well received?
  • If you have been accused by someone of not minding your own business, what were you doing that seemed to provoke her or him most?
  • What were your intentions?
  • What might the person say to you to let you know she or he does not like what you are doing (that she or he interprets as nosey) that you would receive well?
  • When, for you, do actions cross a line from curiosity and interest to nosiness? Why is that?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

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