All Up In Our Business
We really need self-compassion for people, who are all up in our business. They press us for personal details. They devour each juicy tidbit with an appetite that causes us displeasure, We quickly develop a case of the icks. We feel violated somehow by these information scavengers, and hold our tongue for fear of continuing the conversation. We want the conversation to stop too much to confront them. They make us feel awkward with the entitled way they breach common courtesy and social niceties.
Our Inner Turmoil
We stuff these feelings, which transform into discomforting bodily sensations, such as elevated heart rate, facial tension, chest tightness, and stomach cramps. In other words, the icks. In our frustration, we cast the stone we wish for the boundary breaker at ourselves because no one else is around. “Why did you share that information?” “Why couldn’t you just avoid her?” “How did you let her get the better of us?” On and on these questions flow like tidal waves crashing upon the rocks until we are too tired to go further or feel that we have driven ourselves sufficiently crazy.
The Psychology Of The Information Scavenger
The only way out of this mess is self-compassion, and you won’t be able to get there until you get a sense of what drives these information scavengers. There is only one reason that people pry for information. They need a distraction from their very sad lives. The sadder the life, the more they pry. They have two intentions. First, to show that they care about you, and know you given all of the information shared. Great! Now you are best friends! Second, they wish to gather some social currency, knowledge about you that can be shared with someone else to gain their friendship and attention. Woohoo! You have created a monster!
I would love to tell you to avoid these people, to claim diarrhea or that your cat is in need of an emergency bath, when confronted by them. It is probably in your best interests to avoid contact, when possible. Sometimes, they are simply unavoidable. For that, we have self-compassion. Let’s look at the following self-compassion steps to remedy the social scavenger icks.
Self-Compassion Steps To Protect Yourself From Boundary Breaker’s Harmful Actions
First, acknowledge how you feel. Name it. You might say, “Here I am with another case of the icks.” Then, bring compassion to your experience. “It feels terrible to volunteer information to someone, whom I neither trust nor believe cares about my well-being.” “I come by this experience naturally, and so do they, as they need something to drive away their feelings of sadness.” Then, acknowledge their presence to slow their prying. Validation works wonders. Mention something impersonal like a handbag, scarf, or wallet. Then, excuse yourself when you can with an understandable reason. “I am really enjoying this conversation, but I must get back to work, call my son, pick up my dry cleaning, respond to a phone call, take care of homework.” Give them a polite smile, and take your leave.
This way, you validate them enough to not feel they must pursue you to be seen, and you are also able to act in a way that nurtures and supports your self-compassion. Now, you are free to go about your life, and this person has yet another opportunity to address their sadness in a meaningful way.
365 Days Of Self-Compassion. Day 189. In The Books.