Signs You Need To Mind Your Own Damn Business

There’s nothing wrong with being interested in other people’s lives or offering advice to our friends and family, at least when it’s warranted (and requested). We can learn all kinds of good stuff from watching and listening to other people, but there’s a limit to how invested you should be in lives that aren’t your own, especially when your commentary isn’t wanted (and let’s face it, it often isn’t). Here are 13 signs you’re crossing the line and should probably mind your own damn business.

  1. You’re giving parental advice and you’re not a parent. Not that you might not know better, because you totally could. But no parent is going to listen to your childless advice unless you’re a child development professional, so keep it in.
  2. Friendly people don’t like to talk to you. OK, there could be a few reasons for this, but if otherwise friendly and open people suddenly refuse to give you any details about their lives, you might have pried too far one too many times.
  3. You stop listening to your friend at dinner so you can eavesdrop on other people. We all eavesdrop from time to time, but let’s try to keep our priorities straight, here. (Our own relationships are our priorities, right?)
  4. The gym is your personal 90210. You haven’t even met most of the staff at your gym, but you still know who’s banging who and who almost got fired over a cheating scandal. It’s like your main motivator for going there.
  5. You frequently ask, “What are you guys talking about?” When people are engaged in conversation, they don’t always necessarily want to stop talking to fill a new person in (and sometimes they don’t want to let a new person in at all), but you can’t help from inquiring even though you know it can be annoying.
  6. You snoop. You’re a firm believer in checking out the contents of a bathroom or any other room you can sneak your way into during a party. You never know what you might find, after all!
  7. People often accuse you of being inappropriate. When people are caught off guard with a question they don’t want to answer, they’re often going to deflect it with another question… one that usually comes in the form of, “Why would you ask me that?”
  8. You’ve been called a gossip. This isn’t 6th grade; there isn’t as much to gain by being the bearer of deep dark gossip. Adults realize that gossips aren’t powerful and they’re certainly not trustworthy friends (or even acquaintances, for that matter).
  9. You prod. You’re perceptive – you can tell when people are trying to evade your questions – but you just can’t stop prodding them for more details, anyway. Eventually, they might give in just to get you off their backs.
  10. You give unsolicited dating advice. Without knowing anyone’s backstory or intentions, your firm belief in no sex before the fifth date isn’t going to be welcomed by the couple sitting next to you at the bar.
  11. You don’t take your own advice. Even worse if you don’t follow your own advice, but still feel entitled enough to dole it out for some reason.
  12. You need to feel superior. You’re not in the mix because you seriously want to improve the lives of all those around you. You actually relish in people’s flaws and downfalls because it makes you feel better about yourself.
  13. Someone has asked you to stay out of their business. In general, people seem to be pretty good at talking about themselves, so when you reach the territory where they draw the line, you’ve probably already crossed it.
Kate Ferguson is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blog and magazine genres. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce. Look for article links, updates, (and the occasional joke) on Twitter @KateFerg or @WriterKateFerg, or check out her personal blog