“Make somebody happy today. Mind your own business.” — Ann Landers
“Stay in your lane” – Katrina
In third grade, I had a teacher that told all the students in her classroom, “MYOB” (Mind Your Own Business). Once, I told her about something that someone else in the class was doing, and she looked at me and asked, “Are you minding your own business?” I was not, and I went back to my desk carrying the appropriate amount of shame not to make that mistake again.
I think many problems are avoidable if we keep our eyes on our own path but the challenge and balance is that our paths are always crossing with others.
I strongly believe that asking kind and curious questions is the better alternative to making assumptions. I have seen many relationships fall apart because of making too many false and negative assumptions. Unfortunately, sometimes, asking questions can come across as nosy or judgmental.
I think this all depends on the situation and the type of relationship.
If only life were not so nuanced and complicated. There is a line in terms of asking the appropriate questions at the appropriate time. As a naturally curious person, I love to learn about people and hear their stories. It is no wonder that I spend my days listening to people talk about their lives. Professionally speaking, asking questions is a huge part of my job.
I think we cross the line when the questions feel intrusive or judgmental to the person on the receiving end. As we talked about in the post on, I Did Not Mean It That Way! When I asked a person how many pets they had, they perceived it as a judgment as opposed to curiosity.
I am learning not to ask questions when I do not want or need to know the answer. Most of the time, how people are living their lives is none of my business. By asking questions, I can also get drawn into people’s problems, which can (and has) caused me a great deal of anxiety. The line blurs between what is my problem, what is their problem, and what is not even a problem.
Knowing when you are crossing a line is especially challenging when it involves family or close friends. I sometimes say to myself “Sissy, mind your own business.” I love to help problem solve but many times people don’t need my (however well intentioned) help or they don’t perceive what I’m trying to fix as something that requires fixing. Sometimes when we offer unsolicited help or advice it can feel like we are passing judgment. Recently, I asked someone, “This is a bigger deal to me than it is to you?” and he responded, “It seems that way.”
I think the key is to do a better job just listening to someone without offering advice or suggestions and then ask the person if there is anything you can do to support the them.
We take it upon ourselves to feel responsible for everybody’s business. We will feel guilty if we don’t get involved. The flip side of this is: we don’t trust that others are capable of taking care of their own business. -MANAL GHOSAIN
And really who am I to be telling someone how to better live their life? We are all muddling around doing the best we can and I am definitely not an expert on living life. The people I love continually amaze me in terms of their ability to take on life’s challenges. I absolutely trust them to handle their business and I know they trust me.
If you need me, just ask, otherwise, I will be MMOB.
“Advice is a dangerous gift.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien