Nosey or Curious

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“Curiosity is not an only child; it is part of a family of terms used by writers, scientists, and everyday people making conversation to capture the essence of recognizing, seeking out, and showing a preference for the new.” ~ Todd Kashdan

Yours truly is a curious guy. Always have been. And it has raised eyebrows at times. Some people who are unaccustomed to or uncomfortable with my staying interested and engaged in life have likened my desire to learn more about people, places, things and concepts – to being nosey.

Nosey is being unduly curious about the affairs of others; prying or being meddlesome.Β Think: Gladys Kravitz, who I am not. πŸ™‚ Cue the proverb, “Curiosity killed the cat” which basically translates: beware of poking your nose into others’ business as it may get you into trouble.

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Some say a healthy curiosity serves us in many ways: It nurtures intelligence, contributes to good health and it often increases happiness. Curiosity is a state of arousal so it needs to be prompted. A spark simply launches the interest. Stimulating curiosity is like lighting a fire; once lit it keeps going and can become all-consuming. It can also be doused, if necessary.

An important facet in developing curiosity is to be open-minded whether in questioning anything in life or a task at hand. Some of us do this naturally and some of us drive people crazy with our open-mindedness. Rarely do we know, for sure, what a willingness to investigate something new and/or investing time in discovering a new interest might yield. Until we do.

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If you don’t consider yourself a curious person (maybe you prefer nosey), perhaps the thought of becoming so is now piqued. It doesn’t matter what you decide to become curious about as long as you have a willingness to explore. It could well make you a smarter and more interesting person. Any qualms with that?

I’m about adding spice to life. Maybe you enjoy bland over spicy. And sticking with your preference is fine. But if recognizing and seeking out the new appeals to you, here are three ways in which to develop curiosity:

  1. Ask questions constantly. One way to dig deeper beneath the surface is by asking questions. What, why, when, who, where and how are great sentence starters when engaging another individual. People love to share their knowledge and opinions so why not inquire? Relentlessly. πŸ™‚
  2. Acknowledge your surroundings as dynamic and interesting. We easily become accustomed to what we see, smell, see and feel every day. Stop, think, and wonder about your surroundings as refreshing in their own way.
  3. Model curiosity. You can do this by exploring others’ passions, expanding on their ideas and engaging them in meaningful dialogue about what matters most, to them.

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45 thoughts on “Nosey or Curious

  1. How else to learn and expand one’s horizons than to ask questions? Reading is fine and dandy but nothing beats hearing about another’s experiences!
    Although I already was a life enthusiast, Mick’s enthusiasm knew no bounds. He was never shy to show just how much something excited or inspired him – it was almost a childlike reaction to things and was so refreshing from the usual blasΓ© of many. I like to think he rubbed off on me…

    • I suspect he, indeed, rubbed off on you. It may well have been one of many traits that drew the two of you together in the first place. To your point, Dale, I believe the childlike curiosity and reaction to things is, sadly, missing in many people’s lives. Yet how easy it is to weave it back in!

      Here’s to your perpetual learning and amazing new experiences – all born out of being curious.

  2. You’re so skillful to explain the difference! Thank you.
    Wondering is the art of keeping the innocence alive. It’s the way we perceive life as a learning experience, isn’t it?
    Have a great week full of wonder,
    Camelia

    • Thank you, Camelia. “Keeping the innocence alive” is a noble and doable objective! Exploration, discovery often open us to the very wonder that you reference. Wishing you many weeks of that very wonder.

    • “Staying open…” To which I would respectfully add – and reveling in all that curiosity generates in our lives. Gifts, indeed! Thanks for acknowledging Gladys Kravitz; she and Endora were favorites of mine. πŸ™‚

  3. Beautiful discussion. When I think about the word nosey, I get the feeling that someone wants to know more about another so they can feel better about themselves in some way. Or they’re afraid to get left out of something that’s not their concern- perhaps wanting to hitch a ride on the drama bus. But when being curious, it’s from the heart.

    • An interesting perspective, yours. I hadn’t thought much about why others are nosey yet your thought is quite plausible. “Hitching a ride on the drama bus.” How vivid and telling. Sad, too. Your closing note, referencing it coming from the heart, illuminates and grounds the view for me. Thank you.

    • As I mentioned in the post, perhaps a too active curiosity for some people, Jonelle. πŸ™‚ Enthusiasm for life and compassionate action are, indeed, core to my being. Thank you for sensing and playing that back. I appreciate your creating time to comment and share. Stay curious!

  4. I suspect most bloggers are curious people. I like the term inquisitive. Most people take no offense to that term. Makes you seem interested in them, rather than prying. I’ve often thought, “If you aren’t here to discover things, then why are you here?”

    • A good word, Noelle, “inquisitive.’ It is less invasive than nosey yet quite apt. And an equally good point, “…then why are you (we) here?” I think I’ll weave your question into future conversations with others’. πŸ™‚

  5. I’ve heard the ending to “Curiosity killed the cat” is “Satisfaction brought it back.” I was never quite sure what that (“satisfaction”) was supposed to mean so, out of curiosity, I looked it up just now. Turns out the original saying was “Care killed the cat,” with “care” being defined as “worry” or “sorrow.”

    As you can see, I tend to be curious too. I really enjoyed this post, Eric. “Curiosity” is one of my words for this year although I think it might define a lifetime of wanting to know why, how, what, etc. πŸ™‚

    • Robin, thank you for your research and adding relevant information to this thread! Who knew? πŸ™‚

      I’d enjoy learning more about how you chose curiosity as one of your words for 2016. How is that working out? And what might it be yielding? Perhaps a post on the topic?

      • The word kept popping up, Eric. Spending time with my young granddaughters, especially the youngest (since she’s only 6), also had an impact on my choice. Little Maddy is so very curious about everything and takes such delight in learning something new that it was almost contagious. Or maybe I should write/say that it WAS contagious since she heavily influenced my decision to go with Curiosity.

        It is working out quite well, I’m happy to report. πŸ˜€ You once advised me to try anticipation rather than expectation, and curiosity fits in with that. When I practice curiosity, I am less likely to have expectations. Instead, I wait to be surprised.

      • How delightful to be in the presence of your granddaughter’s contagious curiosity. The correlation between childlike innocence and curiosity is strong and so often presents when we are open to and aware of it. Can you share/spread Maddy’s contagiousness virtually? πŸ™‚

        And I love your pairing of curiosity and anticipation. How logical and wondrous! Thanks for bringing good feelings this way with your update. Much appreciated. πŸ™‚

  6. Great! You are back! Enjoyed your discussion, as always. I am definitely of the curious sort. Right now it brought me to Nairobi to look at life from a very different angle.

    • Yes, he’s back… at least for a while… until other opportunites to wander and explore present. Nairobi sounds like a fascinating destination. I trust and hope your time there affords amazing and different life perspectives… each worthy of consideration and potential positive impact/outcomes.

    • I concur, Jean. After the fact, I suspect you may not have related to the Gladys Kravitz reference in the post. She was a classic nosey neighbor in a 1960’s U.S. TV show. She was definitely, to your point, not interested in learning – except what was going on across the street. πŸ™‚

  7. Interesting – I never thought about how being curious (and nosey) is important to developing the mind and also keeping us a bit more healthy. It seems most travelers are more curious than others so it makes sense that they are out exploring the world. Conversely, I’ve got friends who are the exact opposite, and keep a very 9-5 schedule and live quietly (and incredibly happy as well). I see as you describe above: some people prefer spicy and others bland. However, I do think it is good to mix it up every now and then. Great post Eric.

    • Well, I cannot vouch for the research or science that makes the wellness claims associated with being curious. I simply read and regurgitated the notion. πŸ™‚

      You, being a consummate traveler, would know and appreciate the value in curiosity and exploration. I suspect this is part of what compels you to add time to your distant business destinations – aside from opportunities to photograph exquisite faces, places, cultures and colors.

      I also hear and concur with your thoughts about people who are quite contented to living quietly. I have friends in that vein too and enjoy spending time with them as well. As long as they don’t border on being couch potatoes. πŸ™‚ Appreciate your relevant perspectives, Randy.

  8. Such an interesting distinction Eric, as well as stimulating post.
    The intention behind the inquiry and action is key. Do I want to understand in order to learn? Do I want to find out so I know better or use this information in some way?
    Makes me wonder about knowledge vs information …
    Thanks for tickling the grey matter! πŸ’›

    • Always warmed to stimulate the grey matter, Val. It’s vital to keeping us thriving! Just as with the case you present, so often there exist contrasts is words, views and actions. Many of such comparisons are intriguing as well as prompting. I’ll leave the wondering about knowledge vs information (to which I’d add – wisdom) to you. Do share when you discern the distinction(s). πŸ™‚

  9. My Grandmother was always telling me, if you don’t ask you don’t get.. πŸ™‚ so I enjoy the quizzical nature of my granddaughter always asking WHY??? to everything she doesn’t understand.. I have a neighbour whom we often say is nosey πŸ™‚ For he comes right out with asking what he wants to know.. πŸ™‚ But he is also very knowledgeable πŸ™‚ He is curious, and what he doesn’t know he intends to find out.. Reading your post brought home to me how they go hand in hand.. πŸ™‚ And how often our perception and judging comes into play πŸ™‚
    A great treat to read your thoughts again Eric .. Many thanks .. I guess I am nosey too πŸ™‚ lol

    • Seven smiley faces in one comment. Now I’m smiling, Sue. πŸ™‚ To your interesting perspective and observation, I can see how both could constructively go hand in hand. Introducing judgment into the picture adds yet another dimension that is worthy of considering and exploring, too. And therein is simply another facet and possibility of being curious about what other traits and/or concepts can align with the simple duo of nosey vs curious. Here’s to you and your neighbor staying your (good) nosey courses.

  10. I think that one of the best outcomes of having a curious mind is that there is little chance of boredom! I always find myself interested in something new. I love your reference to Gladys Kravitz. When it comes to interpersonal relationships, however, I’m not always sure I can judge the difference. I take an interest in friends and others, but i’m not “curious” in the standard sense, and I really hate to appear nosey, so I listen well, but don’t ask questions. Conversely, when friends ask me too many questions I sometimes feel uncomfortable, as though they are nosey. You’ve distinguished between the two quite well, and I may need to think again about some of my own definitions between the two! Very interesting read, Eric!

    • Your comments (as is the case with many valued bloggers) are always thoughtful, Debra. Thank you for sharing them. I particularly like identifying and acknowledging your definitions between the two. I can see and appreciate how your own experiences have helped to shape and color your relationships with others. I listen well too (most of the time) yet I am not often bashful about learning more. Thus, I seek.

      Your opening reference to “… little chance of boredom…” is apt and quite likely, true in most cases. And who wants to be bored? πŸ™‚

  11. I don’t easily get curious. Just not my nature. I just don’t want information to come to me so easy and so soon. πŸ™‚ I don’t look for information. I get it as I go. πŸ™‚ I only get full attention on information when it pertains to me and it’s happening at the moment. If someone’s is talking about this and that, it doesn’t fully register to me. I only ask questions as needed.
    Dame, I really am a happy go lucky guy. πŸ˜€

  12. Eric I am a curious soul, because all things I see, feel and hear in my day could become story fodder. But I try to keep my distance from being nosey, maybe not with strangers, I like listening to conversations in cafe’s etc. But with people I know, I prefer not to delve into their private affairs.

  13. I like and appreciate your perspective, Kath. A comfortable balance between cautious and intrigued seems (to me) to be a good juncture from which to see, feel, hear and even sense. The more I have thought about this topic, the more I have become aware of a broad range of views on it — all unique and worthy of appreciating. I suspect your artistic inclinations and talents weave into this as well. Here’s to curious souls!

  14. This was another beautifully expressed post, Eric. Curiosity is one of my favorite elements in children and part of my own DNA. Could not help but be inspired, challenged and curious with the parents and ancestors I was given. I may have had a long and crooked path, but somehow I managed to pass this trait forward, leaving my mark. I have a future post with my grandkids looking at a fallen forest log. I will see if it is still in my Drafts. Seems like a good one to refer back to your blog.

    • Long and crooked paths… that’s the stuff curiosity is made for, isn’t it, Robin? πŸ™‚ And what a beautiful gift you have shared with subsequent generations. Just as one of the images in the post reflects, I can easily imagine the photo of your grand kids looking at such a simple bit of nature, inquisitively. Thank you for this and your always thoughtful comments.

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