Thursday, August 27, 2009

Nosy vs. Interested

Please forgive me while I go a little introspective on you.

Ever since we moved, I've been thinking about neighbor relationships, wondering and noticing how people interact with their neighbors in various locations. As we traveled around to visit our family this summer, I noticed how the neighbors in their area interacted, and even asked them about it. Part of the reason is that meeting all of our new neighbors this summer has been a little different than I expected. It's been good, and we've met some really great and interesting people. But I've noticed that some people just aren't interested in having any relaionship with their neighbors. Then a friend of mine, who has a really busy schedule, mentioned that she sometimes avoids interacting with her neighbors, just because she doesn't have time. That got me thinking: that perhaps some people, who are still kind and friendly people, just aren't interested in being neighborly for whatever reason. (What are you like with your neighbors, btw?)

Brian and I sit in the other camp, where we really like to be friendly with the people around us. I enjoy having people close by so we can chat and do favors for one another. Ask for a cup of sugar, that kind of thing.

In fact, I've realized, I'm just interested in people in general. I love meeting a new person and going through all the usual questions: what do you do? where does your family live? how did you decide to move here? how did you meet your husband? etc, etc. I find it fascinating to talk to people about their lives, what their experience has been so far, why they've made the decisions that they have made, and what do they hope for the future. I even like reading those little magazine articles which spotlight a person's life in 5 paragraphs, like, "Meet Jen! And read how she lost 90 pounds!" Love that stuff. I want to know all about Jen.

So does this make me nosy?

I looked up the definition of nosy. It said:

nosy: unduly curious about the affairs of others; prying; meddlesome.

I am curious, sincerely so. But I don't pry. I think I can tell when someone doesn't want to share something and I quickly back off. And meddling? I don't think I'm a meddler, at least I hope not.

Also, in return for sharing, I'm an open book. There really aren't very many questions that you could ask me that I wouldn't answer. I just like to share, as much as I like you to share with me. That's why blogging fits me well. I like to put it out there, then if you are interested, you can read it, and if not, no big deal. And I like to read your blog, too, if you have one.

So maybe I'm just a talker. Even an extrovert? No, I can't go that far. I hope I'm not nosy, please let me know if you think that I am. Otherwise I think I'll call it "interested" and leave it at that.


Giselle said...

Our neighbors are totally of the "we're very busy, so let's smile at the mailboxes and go on our merry way." But they aren't that way with everyone, so it makes me wonder if WE'RE the problem.

And I LOVE hearing every person's story. Although sometimes strangers open up a little too much and I end up feeling awkward (like the time a volunteer at my library suddenly told me all about her abortion in college...WHOA! Not ready for that one...did I act interested in that much detail?...and what was your last name again?)

Weed said...

I would love to know our neighbors better but feel like most of them are of the "I'm too busy" variety. Pair that with my quiet personality, especially with strangers, and it doesn't make for very neighborly relationships. But we're getting to know a couple of our neighbors...slowly, and I'll take that for now.

And I don't think you're nosy AT ALL! Just friendly!

Kelsey said...

I think I'm similar in being interested in other people although I don't think of you being nosy at all, where I probably am, at least a little.

Most of our neighbors are in different life phases than us, and none of us are really hang out in the yard type of people. We have friendly relationships with three of our four closest neighbors, and one neighbor (behind us) who is not friendly at all, like the man won't even talk to us if we say hello in the yard. I wish they would move.

Allecia said...

We have great neighbors for the most part. Several families close who are in the IDENTICAL phase of life as we are, which is fun on many levels. We also have an older couple next door who are a joy to live next too (make my garden look pathetic, but that's another story). My only qualm is that we have one family who is a little "too" nice. As in, they stop by when their out and we can't get them to leave. Very strange. Very awkward. Very frustrating. You seem a bit more in tune to social cues than that.

Jen said...

We interact with several neighbors within close proximity to our house. For the most part, everyone on our block is friendly and would help out if asked, but everyone pretty much keeps to themselves. I love the quietness of our neighborhood, except for the red house across the street. They have no regard for anyone but themselves, which is sad.

In regards to you being way! You take a genuine interest in people, which is great!

Dutcher said...

EM! Hey, sorry, but I'm pretty sure I'm one of the too busy neighbors. If I'm out in my yard anyway, then I'm always friendly and happy to have a short chat. However, a more normal day is that I haven't gotten home from work until 6/I need to cook dinner/take care of bills/do laundry/etc. There aren't a lot of kids Will's age in the neighborhood, so usually on weekends we go somewhere else like a park or a friends house. It would be nice if there were more neighbors close by with kids Will's age.

In regards to nosy v. interested, I've only ever known you to be interested!

Oma Froehle said...

I work full time. Some days when I get home, I have used up all my interest in people already. Two of my neighbors are nurses who work 12-hour shifts rotating days off. One guy travels about 60% of the time. The couple 3 doors down NEVER speak even when you look them in the eye and say 'hello'. They just had a second baby; and I didn't even know they were pregnant.

I try to be open to friendships and neighbor conversations when the opportunity presents itself. Greg is MUCH better than I am. He invites people for dinner spontaneously and runs to help unload a chair or shovel a driveway. As long as you don't get offended when people stay to themselves, knock yourself out with friendliness! It's one of your most endearing qualities. :-)