The Difference Between Curiosity and Nosiness

Antique books with magnifying glass. Old leather bound vintage books in a row

Just last month, my husband and I discussed how people often confuse curiosity for nosiness and we both agreed that the two were different after I told him what I’m about to tell you. And this convo had already given me an idea for a future blog post but I soon forgot about it amid doctors’ appointments, household duties, yard work, and working on several projects and unpublished books.

Then, a fellow blogger and wonderful friend, Kym Gordon Moore, posted about the difference between the two on her own blog. You can find her lovely and insightful post here.

So, what is the difference between curiosity and nosiness?

Simple. Curiosity doesn’t violate anyone’s boundaries, nosiness does (this was my response during the above-mentioned conversation with my husband and I didn’t have to elaborate on it because my husband instantly knew what I was saying.).

In other words, or in the words of Kym Gordon Moore, “Being nosy is prying into other people’s business, meddling, being intrusive, and snooping, oftentimes gossiping about what they find out,”

“…curiosity is more of a desire to learn something new that enhances one’s intellect and not about poking your nose in other people’s business for annoying reasons.”

Her statements were spot on, and I couldn’t agree more!

A nosy person will pry into your personal and private business, trying to get some dirt on you, so they could later spread it to everyone who will listen and ultimately, make you look like a scandalous person. A nosy person will snoop through your mail, your computer- heck! If they can get access to all your social media passwords, don’t think they won’t go there too.

Understand that bullies are such people, and they will be the nosiest of the nosy. Why? Because they’re always and forever on the hunt for anything incriminating and damaging, they can weaponize against you.

Nosiness is invasive. If someone asks you a personal question and you choose not to answer, a nosy person will accuse you of “having something to hide.”

Sadly, this is how bullies trip their targets up and force them to answer. Bullies will use the “having something to hide” line to coerce their targets into giving up the deets even when the target knows that it’s better to keep it private!

When bullies make this accusation, many targets will mistakenly cave in, go against their better judgement, and answer the bullies’ questions, just to prove that they don’t have anything to hide. This is where targets get themselves into trouble.

If you ever find yourself in this predicament, I want you to understand that your refusal to answer isn’t about having anything to hide, it’s about some things just not being anyone else’s business. Realize that you have just as much right to privacy as the next person.

Another thing I want to mention is that bullies will also accuse you of being nosy when you’re clearly trying to learn something new. This has happened to me and, being a young teenager, I fell for the lie and let it have a negative impact on my learning.

Close up of examining of test sample of microchip transistor under the microscope in laboratory.

That’s why it’s so important to learn the difference between curiosity and nosiness. Because, when you know this difference, you’ll know when someone is being nosy and intruding into your private business and you’ll be able to counter them with confidence. Also, you’ll be able to confidently defend yourself any time some snake accuses you of being nosy when you’re only trying to learn and educate yourself.

So, in closing, I’ll again give you the short and easily digestible explanations of curiosity and nosiness.

Curiosity- a desire to learn something new that enhances one’s intellect and broaden one’s education. It includes reading, researching, studying, observing, and listening for information that can make you more intelligent and help you grow. Curiosity is non-invasive and non-intrusive. It does not seek to violate personal boundaries or to cause harm.

Nosiness- prying in other people’s personal business. It includes meddling, snooping, asking personal questions, and eavesdropping on other people. Nosiness is invasive and intrusive. It seeks to violate another’s personal boundaries and to cause harm to them.

Learn these differences by heart and you will be better able to counter bullies in any of the above-mentioned scenarios.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Being Bullied in School Should Prompt You to Learn More about Bullying and the Power Dynamic

I began researching bullying in the early to mid-nineties. I wanted to know everything there was to know about it- why people bully, what drove bullies to single out only certain people, what bullies look for in victims, how bullying affected different people, and what characteristics determined victimhood.

Instead of being traumatized from it, I wanted to learn from it. During the nineties, I poured through countless library books, magazine articles, news columns, anything relating to the subject of bullying. I read about the different personalities of bullies, bystanders, and victims. I also poured through books and articles about politics, social infrastructures, and the power dynamic.

During the late 90’s and 2000s, I took to my PC and poured through countless online articles and essays on the subject, beginning with Tim Field and bullyonline.org based in the UK. I remember emailing Tim Field with many questions on bullying and he always replied curiously and promptly. I learned so much from Tim Field.

I was surprised to find that so many others had suffered bullying as well- celebrities, musicians, writers, doctors, attorneys, teachers, homemakers, people from all walks of life. I am saddened that Mr. Field is no longer with us. I will be forever grateful to him for sharing his expertise and being the encouragement I needed to learn more on the subject.

In my years of research, I’ve attained a vast wealth of knowledge on bullying- knowledge which has served me well both professionally and socially. In my in-depth study of bullies, I have gained so much insight into the minds and personalities of my former classmates and all bullies.

In reading countless testimonies of victims and survivors, I realize that none of it was all in my head and that I wasn’t overreacting or bringing it all on myself as my classmates and a few of my teachers had cruelly forced me to believe.

nosy watching study research

Antique books with magnifying glass. Old leather bound vintage books in a row

Bullying and the tactics used, from whisper campaigns to witch hunts to threats to bodily harm, have gone on since the beginning of time. It’s nothing new. During the years I was bullied in school, I had tried reporting it, tried speaking out only to be ignored, shamed, retaliated against, and blamed for it. That is also nothing new.

Because no one would listen, I grabbed a pen and began writing in a daily journal about the daily bullying I suffered at school to keep as a record in case the bullies at school hurt me so bad I’d need hospitalization or worse, murdered me.

I even had one of my journals taken from me by a teacher in the eighth grade and never saw it again. Luckily, I kept a backup hidden at home, and I never lost anything.

Close up of examining of test sample of microchip transistor under the microscope in laboratory.

By the time I switched schools during my senior year, I had filled several journals with countless horror stories of social aggression, psycho/emotional torment, and brutal beatings dished out by my classmates.

I kept those journals put away in a storage bin for decades because I knew that one day, I would write a book about my experiences. That book, “From Victim to Victor: A Survivor’s True Story of Her Experiences with School Bullying.” is now published and available.

With knowledge comes power. If you’ve had something terrible happen in your life- something so awful that it deeply affected your life, learn about it instead of agonizing over it. Instead of being angry over something that happened in the past that you can’t do absolutely anything about, learn as much as you can about it and from every angle possible.

The word Answer on a puzzle piece to symbolize the quest for understanding in answering questions and concerns

Then use it to protect yourself from any future bullying and to help others who are going through the same. I guarantee that doing this will bring healing, unlike anything you can imagine!

Nothing heals you like taking any adversity, learning from it, and using it as a weapon against potential bullies and to help other victims! Try it! You’ll be glad you did!

Being Bullied in School Prompted Me to Learn More about Bullying and the Power Dynamic

I began researching bullying in the early to mid-nineties. I wanted to know everything there was to know about it- why people bully, what drove bullies to single out only certain people, what bullies look for in victims, how bullying affected different people, and what characteristics determined victimhood.

Instead of being traumatized from it, I wanted to learn from it. During the nineties, I poured through countless library books, magazine articles, news columns, anything relating to the subject of bullying. I read about the different personalities of bullies, bystanders, and victims. I also poured through books and articles about politics, social infrastructures, and the power dynamic.

During the late 90’s and 2000s, I took to my PC and poured through countless online articles and essays on the subject, beginning with Tim Field and bullyonline.org based in the UK. I remember emailing Tim Field with many questions on bullying and he always replied curiously and promptly. I learned so much from Tim Field.

I was surprised to find that so many others had suffered bullying as well- celebrities, musicians, writers, doctors, attorneys, teachers, homemakers, people from all walks of life. I am saddened that Mr. Field is no longer with us. I will be forever grateful to him for sharing his expertise and being the encouragement I needed to learn more on the subject.

In my years of research, I’ve attained a vast wealth of knowledge on bullying- knowledge which has served me well both professionally and socially. In my in-depth study of bullies, I have gained so much insight into the minds and personalities of my former classmates and all bullies.

In reading countless testimonies of victims and survivors, I realize that none of it was all in my head and that I wasn’t overreacting or bringing it all on myself as my classmates and a few of my teachers had cruelly forced me to believe.

nosy watching study research

Antique books with magnifying glass. Old leather bound vintage books in a row

Bullying and the tactics used, from whisper campaigns to witch hunts to threats to bodily harm, have gone on since the beginning of time. It’s nothing new. During the years I was bullied in school, I had tried reporting it, tried speaking out only to be ignored, shamed, retaliated against, and blamed for it. That is also nothing new.

Because no one would listen, I grabbed a pen and began writing in a daily journal about the daily bullying I suffered at school to keep as a record in case the bullies at school hurt me so bad I’d need hospitalization or worse, murdered me.

I even had one of my journals taken from me by a teacher in the eighth grade and never saw it again. Luckily, I kept a backup hidden at home, and I never lost anything.

Close up of examining of test sample of microchip transistor under the microscope in laboratory.

By the time I switched schools during my senior year, I had filled several journals with countless horror stories of social aggression, psycho/emotional torment, and brutal beatings dished out by my classmates.

I kept those journals put away in a storage bin for decades because I knew that one day, I would write a book about my experiences. That book, “From Victim to Victor: A Survivor’s True Story of Her Experiences with School Bullying.” is now published and available.

With knowledge comes power. If you’ve had something terrible happen in your life- something so awful that it deeply affected your life, learn about it instead of agonizing over it. Instead of being angry over something that happened in the past that you can’t do absolutely anything about, learn as much as you can about it and from every angle possible.

The word Answer on a puzzle piece to symbolize the quest for understanding in answering questions and concerns

Then use it to protect yourself from any future bullying and to help others who are going through the same. I guarantee that doing this will bring healing, unlike anything you can imagine!

Nothing heals you like taking any adversity, learning from it, and using it as a weapon against potential bullies and to help other victims! Try it! You’ll be glad you did!