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20 Things That Ain’t None of Your Business

dan-pearce-nose-business

A couple weeks ago, I had a kind-of-once-was-a friend over for the evening. She’d been having a rough go of things lately and I wanted to show her a fun night away from all the stresses and craziness of life. Seems easy enough, right?

The problem was, every two minutes she was bringing up something that was driving her nuts. She ranted and whined about her sister, and her mom, and her best friend, and the guy she was crushing on, and the guy she was crushing on, and a couple different co-workers, and her sister again, and some old woman at her church who just thought she was so this or that or aaaggghhhh.

And nothing she was raging about was anything that was any of my business. And it wasn’t any of her business either. Looking at her from the outside it was so easy to see why she was so miserable.

I wanted to take her by the shoulders and scream, “get your nose out of the places it doesn’t belong! You’ll be so much happier!” Instead I finally and politely said, “don’t you think that you might be a little less annoyed with everyone if you worried about you and not about the things that really have nothing to do with you?”

Ummm… yeah. That night I learned that people who have their noses completely buried in other people’s businesses, don’t like it very much when people like me tell them to pull out. She looked at me in disbelief, then burst out, “and this is coming from a guy who likes other guys.”

Okay, I lied. That was the G-Rated version of what she blurted.

Maybe I’m a jerk, but I saw no point in carrying on the evening, so I invited her to use the door after that. I’m sure she’s telling others about that half-gay heathen that bla bla bla right about now. Haha. Anyway, the next day I sat down and I wrote this list. Half of it, at least, came from my conversations with her that night. The other half came from either things I’ve caught myself doing, or that have annoyed me in the past.

20 Things That Ain’t None of Your Business

1) Get your nose out of other people’s food choices.
I know. I know. You are the guru of healthy eating. You’ve studied the latest studies which prove a diet of pure chicken feet makes you lose weight. I know you are strong. And healthy. And that you never give into temptation. But sometimes I do. For some reason, the harder I try to get healthy, the more people think they have a say in what I put into my body. When I was fat, nobody said a dang thing. Go figure.
When it might be your business: You may officially question what I put into my body the day you see me start eating pickled pigs feet or mushrooms. I’m telling you right now, that’s when I’ll know I can’t be trusted to make my own food choices.
2) Get your nose out of other people’s wallets.
I know it is really hard to not care how much other people make. We all like to compare our own income to everyone else’s for some reason, and it isn’t healthy. Nobody’s worth is tied to money, even though we all think it is, so let’s stop trying to assign value to it.
When it might be your business: Feel free to care (very much) if your six year old walks in with a fat wad of big bills. You also have my permission to stuff singles down my undies and ask me how much I’ve made off you so far.
3) Get your nose out of other people’s crushes.
We all want love. Hell, we all need it. Of all the human needs, it ranks right up there with hamburgers and M&Ms. But don’t think for even one minute that you’re allowed to tell me who I can and can’t develop crushes on. I know we all think we’re the masters of human interaction, and that we can simply look at any person and know whether they’re right or wrong for each other. But we’re not. And we can’t.
When it might be your business: The day I develop a crush on a first cousin, on someone more than triple my age, or on a socket wrench, you have my permission to make my "crush business" your business.
4) Get your nose out of other people’s sex lives.
If you want to be chained to the bed with your feet tied to the ceiling fan while he puts on a sock puppet show for you, that’s none of my business. Hard to believe, I know. If I want to hook up with someone twenty-three seconds after meeting them, that’s none of your business. It’s also none of your business if I want to wait until we’ve exchanged vows. It’s none of your business who I’ve had sex with, how often I have sex, or how crazy we get with it. Sex is a very personal thing, and everyone’s beliefs surrounding it are different.
When it might be your business: It’s okay to start asking questions when you see someone slip something in my drink. In fact, you’re a jerk if you don’t say something.
5) Get your nose out of other people’s exercise habits.
This kind of goes with the food one. The healthier I get, the more people think they can get all up in my grill about what I’m doing to burn calories. They love to tell me when I’m doing it wrong. They make me tell them if I’m starting to slip or if I decided to stay home for one day (or twenty). If I want your motivation, I’ll ask for it (and sometimes I will). If I don’t ask for it, keep your nose out of it.
When it might be your business: If I ever sit on my couch for so long that my skin becomes part of my couch, you have my permission to hold an intervention.
6) Get your nose out of other people’s success.
Success is like money. When other people have more than we do, we think it defines us. When other people have less than we do, we somehow think it makes us better than they are. When people at work have more success than us, we find ways to let everyone know they didn’t deserve it. Truth is, we all have our failures and our successes, and the only people we can compare ourselves to is ourselves. Who we were and what we were doing yesterday compared to today.
When it might be your business: You may care about my success if I ever find myself measuring it in the following ways: human trafficking, terrorist activities, drug dealing, and puppy euthanizing.  Notice I said “and” for each of those, not “or.”
7) Get your nose out of other people’s sicknesses.
Every time I mention that I have a headache, or that I see stars, or that my butt hurts, or that I’m sweating acid, everyone knows exactly what’s wrong with me, and exactly what I need to do to fix it. I know the internet has made everyone experts, but we’re not. Half the time my doctor doesn’t even know and he went to school for twelve years and studied nothing but how to fix my ailments.
When it might be your business: The day you walk in for a job interview at a doctor’s office, and they ask you what your credentials are, and you say, “I know my way around WebMD,” and they say, “welcome aboard doctor!” That’s the day I want your diagnoses and witch cures.

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950 comments
Lrf123
Lrf123

Good Lord, What kind of people are you hanging around with ?! HaHa. Great post.

RoyDeanVarga
RoyDeanVarga

You are so right on target! However, being human we all know easier said than done! But worth trying!

HollieAnne
HollieAnne

That was one of the best posts I've read! Well said :)

masada1966
masada1966

This was hilarious! And to think -- all of the items on this list used to be called common sense.

Bee doo bee doo
Bee doo bee doo

I was in a really bad mood before I read this, and now I'm looking at my current situation with a lot more humor. :) thank you!

RAdams
RAdams

This is a hoot! And... BTW, lard cigarettes soaked in booze are my favorite guilty pleasure!

sunshinehoneykitten
sunshinehoneykitten

If you ever blog about wanting to take a teenage wife, I'm calling Chris Hansen...

Megs
Megs

Love you Dan but I do have to disagree with the sicknesses post.  If I had relied solely on most of the doctors I went to for my thyroid  and adrenal issues, I never would have gotten better from them.  Doctors these days are not trained to cure diseases, only to treat symptoms so that you have to come back later OR to tell you that "nothing is wrong." 

SeattleTara
SeattleTara

Of course, I agree with most of this post.  But I will say there are circumstances for some of them.  One that stood out was "8) GET YOUR NOSE OUT OF OTHER PEOPLE’S PURCHASES."

I have someone in my life who spends their money on unnecessary items, then asks me for financial help.  This person is not someone I can *not* help, so as much as I try to stay out of it, it's hard to swallow your comments when a request comes as, "I can't afford to pay my bills, can you spot me some money.  By the way, I'm gone most of next week on two vacations."

TrishAnnaTa
TrishAnnaTa

Amusing post - and actually I guess I rarely come up against this (or as my daughter has pointed out to me, I sometimes don't care about people being snide to the point that it simply fails to register with me - blissful ignorance, I suppose). 

Just the "witch cures" one. I try to keep my mouth shut, but I worked in the natural health field for some years. Some of it IS pretty "witchy" but I do know of natural solutions that work, and work very well, for some common problems. It's hard when someone I care about complains of an ailment I know that I could most likely help them with. 

Rather than say "You should try xyz" I will usually try to say something like "we had a lot of clients with that problem" and then if they WANT my input, they can ask for it. 

But for someone who has seen a lot of good results and healing in some pretty severe cases, it's hard to watch people suffer and say nothing when you know you can probably help. 

DeniseCrowell
DeniseCrowell

Thank you so much for the laughs and saying pretty much exactly what I have been saying all my adult life. Other people's religion, sexuality, money matters, parenting, relationships and style is NO ONE one's business. 

It is like when my parents would say "You do what what you want when you are paying the bills. Until that time you life under our rules."

So then I move out and am completely supporting myself and they still felt they could dictate my life. Wow was I ticked. 

And that is one of the reasons I try to not dictate nor judge anyone. You want to tell me you you got drunk, get naked, rode a pony and then had sex with the stable boy who you cannot remember the name of? Okay. Does not affect my life, so feel free. 

Just love the hypocrites who tell me these crazy things they have done and when I share a rather mild in comparison story they then judge me. Wow just wow!

Anyway, thank you again for the fabulous time spent reading this article. I loved every moment of it.

meladams
meladams

I totally agree with everything you have shared in your list. I want to take a moment and tell you that when I read your blog, I am reminded that there are still good people in the world and it is ok to be and think differently. I come here and read your blog whenever I need to be cheered up. The way you deliver thoughts is ingenious. You make me laugh daily. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and life with me.

TeresaMurphyBarickman
TeresaMurphyBarickman

As my therapist says "My shit, your shit" I'll worry about my shit and you worry about your shit.

clarkvi
clarkvi

The article is spot on. If it does not involve you directly or the person in question has not asked you for advice or opinion, stay out of it. As for bad habits and say smoking? I have never witnessed any smoker approach a non smoker and blow smoke in their face. (unless looking for a fight) Smokers already have to move down the street and around the corners to smoke.The majority og smokers I have ever encountered have been very respectful. If I am walking to a destination and I walk by people smoking I don't expect them to scurry off or do anything. Smoke! I can walk another way. If you have issues with smoke there are PLENTY of places to go. I have severe perfume allergies, but I don't expect the world to stop wearing it. I take care of it the best I can. Her only response to your suggestion was in reference to your sexuality? Weird!

Earth2U
Earth2U

Yawn. You're not even part of a society, this way, Mr. My-Decisions-Are-So-Perfect-They-Must-Be-Above-Judgment. Go move to an island, why don't you? You obviously don't want to interact with humanity.

HistoryGeek
HistoryGeek

And what difference did it make if you like guys or girls?  That was a stupid reply from her, and her saying that shows she's no friend of yours really anyway.

Carrie C
Carrie C

You, sir, are a marvelous libertine.  Hats off.

RachelWassermanHershberg
RachelWassermanHershberg

I certainly agree with the essential nature of your post. However, I live in a buttinsky culture (Israel), where butting in is understood to (usually) come from a place of caring. Yes, caring while I'm publicly barking at you to put a hat on your kid, don't you know it's freezing out? But anyway, I would say that with bad/dangerous habits, I think it is ok, even more than ok, to express a) respectfully, b) ONCE, your concern. "Friend, I know it's a b**** to quit smoking, I just want you to know that I love you and am worried about your health." And leave it at that. Same goes for relationships that are really out there, like affairs with married/involved people. "I'm worried this can't end well."

GingerMannPierce
GingerMannPierce

I have only one comment and that concerns the bad habits. Yes, it is none of my business if someone smokes or drinks to excess or binge eats or whatever. However, if that bad habit ever infringes on my right to health and wellbeing, I maintain that I have the right to speak up and say that I don't want some person blowing cigarette smoke in my face. In my case, I'm allergic and have asthmatic reactions to cigarette smoke. It can be scary. My mother has this worse. If someone lights up around her, I will knock the cig out of their hands. One whiff will shut her airways down completely and she might die.

With drunks I don't care if they're blind drunk, but, if they get mean when they are drunk, I'll be calling the police, even if they are a relative.

I agree that people should be allowed to live their lives as they wish BUT, if their choices could potentially harm me, I'm not keeping my nose out. I'd also probably challenge their choices if it would endanger a kid. That's just me.

Dads thoughts
Dads thoughts

The older I get the more I tend to get judgey about what other people do. But at the same time I am learning to stay out of it all. So what that means is that I am in a near constant struggle with myself and I never know which me is going to win.

Chrystal S
Chrystal S

I have a problem with number 11. I think if anyone does what the mom did when she started stripping onstage at her kids elementary school....her wardrobe should be criticized  Or rather her ever decreasing wardrobe. But I think that might be about it.

kris10hopkins
kris10hopkins

This was fun to read. As a mental health therapist, people bring these very issues to me ALL THE TIME, often in the form of questioning themselves based on others' questioning of them. The top ones seem to be belief in marriage, belief in having kids (or not), how to parent them, and the general idea of keeping up with others (money, time, beliefs, etc).  We are so over-nosy as a society that we find ourselves lost, so wrapped up in others that we're not even aware of what WE ourselves actually want.  Great post. 

JuniperElah
JuniperElah

This is great! For years I always found myself worrying about other people's business out of my own securities. Then I realized I have my own life to worry about and to make sure it's what I want it to be. I just wish everyone else would have this ah-ha moment also.

pdSlooper
pdSlooper

In defense of nosiness, noticing things about your family, friends, and acquaintances isn't a bad thing in and of itself. It's pretty much inevitable, and has a lot of positive uses. The problem is judging people for those things, and gossiping about that information or otherwise betraying the trust people place in you.

flitterbyathome
flitterbyathome

Great. now if I can politely get my MIL to read this then maybe our relationship can start mending.

KaraDokos
KaraDokos

I'm late to the game on this but sheesh... This makes me think of my mom somewhat.  She is often complaining about people and the things they do and it drives me nuts.  I am now paranoid of becoming my mom and I used to be more like her until I realized that bitching and moaning over other people's decisions in life was a waste of time and made me feel miserable.  It makes me miserable when my mother does it and I feel sad for her. She often tries to drag me into the discussion too and it's hard to spend time with her sometimes when she is in that mode because I don't want to participate and she gets her feelings hurt so easily. 

momof3ms
momof3ms

THANK YOU!!!  I want to email this list to my in laws and ask them to please read it every day when they are up at 5:00 a.m. and are finding new ways that my husband and I are bad parents for letting the kids sleep in on weekends and stay up past 8:30.  Now my 16 year old daughter is giggling and telling me she is going to wear her grunge clothes to the big family Easter Extravaganza and talk about getting things pierced just to make me laugh uncontrollably instead of hiding a bottle of booze in my purse and chugging it between lectures and chicken and dressing.  Somewhere along the line, everything has become everyone else's business and I appreciate someone stepping up and saying enough!  Love your blog and think you are fairly awesome.  Keep up the good work and stay happy.  :)   BTW.....I have to tell you, as a school employee at an elementary school.....well, the speedo and army helmet would be an interesting change from some of the crazy outfits we see come in some days.  I always appreciate it when someone makes my day a little brighter at school.  

JoanneSgrignoliBoyd
JoanneSgrignoliBoyd

Dan ~ I think you're brilliant!  I LOVE this list and you are SPOT ON with every one.  I try to not read other people's comments about things because some are worthless (e.g. "This is stupid") or so judgmental that it makes my head spin.  I think that intelligent responses are great, but the others are a waste of my time and often make my blood pressure rise.  I hope that many people read this and recognize themselves where they should.  I recognized 2 things I do wrong in my relationship with my daughter and I'm going to fix that right now.  I try to be courteous, kind, non-judgmental and respectful of others, but being human there is always improvement to be made.  You are really brilliant and hilarious; what a fantastic combination!  One thing though... I have this picture in my mind of you in a Speedo, wearing boots.  Arrrrgh!    Big hug...

inaRehT
inaRehT

Lard cigarettes soaked in booze? Just where do you get your ideas? LOL

LizRing
LizRing

I was just talking to one of my friends last night about who I was dating, because he saw my relationship status change on Facebook. He had previously made a comment about my boyfriend being a good person, but apparently now that I am with him, he is "weird and creepy and kinda dumb". I don't care how good of friends we are, you have no business saying that about the person I am with, even if you somehow think you know him better than I do, which there is no way this guy does because they weren't really friends anyway. It is not someone else's job to keep you from getting hurt when there is no real danger there to begin with. If you see me with more bruises than normal, or if I am acting differently than normal, that is when you should be concerned. But my friend is someone that doesn't get along with most people anyway, so he is not one to really tell me who I should or should not like anyway, because he doesn't approve of many people.

KellyHareMiller
KellyHareMiller

I especially like Number 13.  I've been the target of a few people who took exception to something I did.  Instead of asking me about it, they got on their blog and posted how they knew so much better and would not make the same kind of stupid mistake I made.  They were "unfriended" immediately, and I maintain no contact with them at all.  I don't need that in my life.  Oh, sure.  I could go on and on about how they're failing to take care of their own problems, but....It's NONE of my business.  Wish they would see that my failures are none of theirs.  Good riddance to them. 

Incidentally, would you mind if I shared some of your points on my FaceBook as long as I cite you and give the link to your blog?

other guest
other guest

Just out of curiosity, since I only occasionally look at blogs with comments, do they ALL degenerate into political name-calling? Seems like some sort of social physics in action where entropy is political bickering :)

I promise to make every attempt not to nag you about any of those 20 things. But since they're none of my business, I'll probably amuse myself by THINKING about them ;)


Raimund W. Albrechtsson
Raimund W. Albrechtsson

I was very glad that there was the addition at the end to only talk about this stuff if they other person wants you to or asks you about your opinion, because i was wondering what should people actually be talking about when crossing all these topics of their list. In general I think it's not a question of whether one can talk about certain topics but HOW you talk about them how you pick your words... carefully... not like the women you had your encounter with, who just seems to hate herself and everyone else in the process...

barefootmama0709
barefootmama0709

Apparently, you should have included "get your nose out of other people's food stamps"!


HSquared
HSquared

I usually agree right with you but as a teacher, I will butt into your parenting if it is affecting your kid at school. Or if it affecting other kids at school. I love your child almost as much as you do and only want the best for them.

AmandaK
AmandaK

THANK YOU!!!! Caring is different than being nosy!

1.  Eating of mushrooms is DEFINITELY a reason you need to have someone intervene. 

2.  Dieting and exercise is so different for everyone. Some of us have different metabolisms and health problems that make it difficult. So what works for one person may NOT work for your friend/family/etc. 

3. Friends are allowed to ask things like are you making sure you're being safe and if you're happy when it comes to your sex life. Beyond that, no discussion unless the other person volunteers, judging is not allowed. 

4. Style opinions are only allowed on the job when it's directly effecting the work environment. Like cleavage and butt cracks do open it up to questioning. 

5. Opinions on relationships should only be voiced if that relationship is causing harm to your friend. Concern is allowed, but be aware of the friendship and situation  you're choosing to bring it up in. If a friend asks your opinion, give it, if they don't see the above! 


bigTseatte
bigTseatte

Any chance you'd reformat so I can print these out?  Love them and would like a copy posted at my desk and at my house.

Jenn K
Jenn K

@SeattleTara I'm thinking there is a big difference to asking for someone to account for money you gave them for a purpose (like "why did you buy $400 shoes today when I gave you $400 to help with your rent yesterday) than there is asking someone whose lifestyle you aren't funding why they dared splurge on something.

SeattleTara
SeattleTara

By "your" I mean mine-- as in "swallow your own comments" :)

KimBakerVidasDavey-Irvin
KimBakerVidasDavey-Irvin

@Earth2U did we read the same article?  or perhaps we just define desirable human interaction differently.  thank the gods.

Jenni Barstead
Jenni Barstead

@GingerMannPierce  Most smokers won't blow smoke in your face and if you just politely ask them if they'd move away (if you're somewhere that you can't walk away) because you're allergic, they will, especially if you catch them before they light up.... I have a friend who's daughter is allergic to cigarette smoke and I  move away from their front door when I go outside to smoke so there's no chance of the smoke accidentally going in the house... Just so you know not all of us smokers are rude enough to smoke around someone who is allergic to smoke if asked to move away.... 

Chrystal S
Chrystal S

Oh side note: I had a great mental image of you in nothing but tighty whities (or however you spell that) doing a really bad stripper thrust with dollar bills sticking out. Awesome lol.

bpvarona
bpvarona

@KaraDokos I feel you. My mom does this too. And when I tell her not to mind their businesses so that she won't become stressed or bothered, she gets angry with me. I hate it that she has to be a running commentary on what everyone else is doing wrong.

To SDL, THANK YOU for this post.

SeattleTara
SeattleTara

@Jenn K @SeattleTara Yup, exactly.  That was the point I was trying to make.  There are times you have a right to have an opinion (when they're asking you for money), and times you don't (when they are broke, but self-sufficient).

Earth2U2
Earth2U2

@KimBakerVidasDavey-Irvin Not caring what other people think -- and not caring what other people do -- is sociopathic behavior.

There's only one God, by the way. Are you an ancient Roman?

Chrystal S
Chrystal S

@Earth2U2 @KimBakerVidasDavey-Irvin God said don't judge and to love everyone. You being rude and condescending isn't very Christ like. Also judging is a sin. Before you preach to others, fix yourself. You aren't part of society either by your attitude. You are simply one of those people no one likes and prefers would just go away.