You say nosy, I say curious

In Musings on September 8, 2010 at 4:56 pm

All my life I have been fascinated by people. When I meet someone new, I want to know…everything. My writer’s curiosity knows no bounds. I want to understand the complex tangling of factors that have gone in to shaping the person I sit and have conversation with. It is not something I can control. But I have wondered lately if what I call curiosity looks like nosiness to some.  Is it because my parents were not very good at keeping their secrets from me? Is it because I feel safer if I know what might be coming? I honestly can’t say. But I don’t want to sit and talk about the quotidian details. I do it when that’s all a person will offer, but it sucks a little something out of my soul. Don’t we all spend enough time partially knowing most of the people in our lives anyway?

It brings up the issue of privacy–of shame and fear of being rejected. If you don’t reveal yourself, are you somehow safer from being cut off, rejected, disapproved? It’s true that there are people who will cut you off when they hit something they do not like, can’t understand, or don’t align with. And yes, there are people with beliefs so vastly different from mine that it can become difficult, even impossible, to connect. But I still feel the searching urge, the need to understand, the desire to forgive. When I was young I thought I would become a psychologist. But then I realized I am good at understanding people, but not so good at helping them to understand themselves. What I want is to understand them on the page, employ them in worlds or stories I build.

But the next time you find me asking probing questions, just know my intentions are good.

  1. there was a time when I thought about following my dad’s footsteps & going into psychology!
    Just yesterday I had a brief chat with an old friend & found myself pestering him with questions. I stopped & said, “forgive me, I’m nosy!”
    But I prefer ‘curious’ – like you, I’m fascinated by motivations & history

  2. I don’t think there are too many people who don’t like to talk about themselves. Sometimes, all you have to ask is “How are you this morning?’ and you may find out way more than you wanted to know!

  3. Cinette, you’d be amazed how many “private” people I know

  4. When doing research just say, “I write fiction” and you’ll be surprised at how people suddenly open up

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