In episode 210 of last week’s podcast, I announced my choice for Word of the Year for 2024: Curious.

Click here if you missed it or want to hear it again.

In that episode I explained one issue always comes up when I talk about this topic with a live audience. It’s the fear some people have that being curious about about someone could mean you'll be perceived as “nosy.”

There are big differences though between curious and nosy:

  • Being nosy doesn’t enrich your life. Curiosity does.
  • Nosy is the cousin of gossip. They are close relatives.
  • Nosy people ask questions to evaluate and judge. Curious people ask questions to understand.
  • Curiosity requires something of us. Nosiness doesn’t.
  • Being nosy separates us. Curiosity brings us together.
  • Nosy people assume there is a deeper relationship than actually exists.
  • Nosy people use information they gain from you against you. Curious people use information they get from you for you.

I’ve found that our fear of being nosy in our relationships is usually a cop-out. It’s just an excuse to get us off the hook from failing to honor people by wanting to understand them more deeply.

Finally, I’ll leave you with a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that relates to what we’ve been talking about:

I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.

All this to say, be curious – not nosy.

We’ll connect agin a week from today when episode 211 drops, but until then, I wish you all the joy that you can wish.*

John Certalic

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*The Merchant of Venice, Act III, scene 2