Amidst the COVID-19 situation, I’ve decided to keep this final part very brief and to the point. We are, as a society, practicing social distancing and yet there is still the nagging feeling of people having the need to put each other down and act like general jerks to one another over social media.

I much prefer focusing on the positive, and that’s what I plan to do. So here are my final thoughts on how to mind your own business and lead a happier life.

  1. Introduction.
  2. Basic definitions of being nosy and being a put-down artist.
  3. Why being nosy and putting down others is bad for you.
  4. Understanding why people are nosy and mean to others.
  5. Handling nosy, cruel people. (Gossips and how to avoid them.)
  6. Ways to stop being a nosy put-down artist.
  7. How you can help others and yourself—beyond elevating the self.

I’ve wrapped five, six, and seven all together as I plan to move towards a blog that’s more about Silver Hollow and answering questions on horror in general. I will still write about psychology now and then but it’s been so long since I’ve been in supervised practice that it’s become a dull rehashing of past experience. If you want to read more about psychology, then my Quora answers should provide you with plenty of material.

Now, onto the Zen Art of Minding Your Own Fucking Business.

Handling Gossips

It’s not always easy to just ignore a person who’s a gossip, is it? Some people can ignore them, sure, and others can cut them out of their lives, but what do you do when that person who pretends to mean well but is just there to manipulate and cause drama is a person who is in your life constantly, such as a colleague or a relative you’re unable to cut out of the picture for the time being?

The solution is not easy, but sometimes you have to cut them out slowly. This can be accomplished by giving them the bare bones of information, remaining pleasant and civil, and, most importantly (PAY ATTENTION):

Don’t engage them in talking about others.

If they do it to others, they will do it to you. So cut them out slowly. Don’t engage them in their favorite hobby of destroying others. Don’t engage in talk behind someone’s back.

There is a consequence for this, one that I endure in my daily life. You will be left out of certain socialization. People with think that you think you’re better than they are. They will call you fake behind your back. They will make up stories about you and attempt to cause drama with your current trusted friends.

If that trusted friend, by the way, sides with the gossip, then you know for sure you don’t have a trusted friend.

Observe people carefully. Monitor their behavior in groups. Avoid engaging those who seem to delight in tearing down others. Learn to spot concern trolling.

What’s concern trolling? Auntie Anne will give you an example:

Nosy Person: Would you like a piece of cake?
You: No thank you, I’m limiting my sugar.
NP: Why? You don’t need to lose weight and you’re not diabetic.
You: I’m working on eating healthier, and I’d like to lose some weight.
NP: Oh, come on, you don’t need to lose any weight and besides, getting too thin isn’t good for you.
You: I’m nowhere near too thin but thank you for your concern.
NP: I just care about you. Go on, have a little slice of cake.

While on the surface, it seems that NP is just caring about you, but there are all sorts of little manipulative digs here. They want to find out if you’re diabetic. They want to know if you’re thinking you’re fat. These are concern trolls that are likely to gossip about you later to someone else about how you’re not eating anything. They may exaggerate claims just to make it more interesting.

Learn to recognize it and shut it down. Don’t feed the trolls.

How to Stop Being a Gossip & Moving Beyond

If you find yourself feeling defensive and siding with NP, you may have fallen into the trap of being a gossip. The good news is, you can stop yourself from becoming the hag in the corner at the party, and instead elevate yourself to move beyond.

This might sound a little harsh, but try to read it in a non-offensive voice. I’m pouring you a cup of tea and adding some sugar to it. If it still tastes bitter to you, have a nice biscuit with chocolate on it. In other words, don’t assume I’m criticizing you or thinking you’re a horrible person. You’re not.

You just need to grow. We all do.

The first thing to do is assess why you’re behaving this way. Are  you trying to fill a void? Bond with someone? Feel better about yourself? Avoiding confronting a failure or shortcoming? Take inventory of yourself and check for any emerging patterns. Chances are, you’re dissatisfied with some aspect of your life or in need of something.

Once you understand what need you’re trying to fill, figure out a better method to improve yourself or your life. Take up a new hobby, learn a craft, write, get involved in volunteering. If you fill your life with things that you find interesting rather than filling it with toxic, petty pastimes, you may find your life is too full to maintain gossip and cruelty to others.

Finally, remember how crappy it feels to be the target of gossip, and refrain adding to that misery of others. Treating others the way you’d like to be treated really isn’t difficult, is it?

Know that you will lose contacts and friends as you grow. This is part of life and human nature. If a person can’t grow in the same direction as you are, then they will grow apart. Learn to make new friends who are engaged in interests, not insults. You will find your life is less toxic over all.

Now, go wash your hands.