"Count not him among your friends who will retail your privacies to the world."
"We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship."
Lewis, The Weight of Glory
"He that blows the coals in quarrels that he has nothing to do with, has no right to complain if the sparks fly in his face."
– Benjamin Franklin
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences."
This report is based on my personal and professional experience of
many years. Among my areas of expertise are
psychological/counterintelligence operations. I am trained as a
Jungian analyst, psychotherapist and Christian minister specializing
in pastoral counseling. Aside from my work for the government, for
many years I worked in private practice in counseling, as well as for
corporations, as a personnel counselor, and developing information on
individuals and organizations as a profiler.
a Christian, the gifts of the Spirit, the ability to discern by
direct revelation of the Holy Spirit, was the most valuable of all.
For me, this gift supersedes all other talents, capabilities or
learned disciplines. This enabled me, in many cases, to get to the
core of the truth of a matter, whether it was as a jury consultant
for prosecutors/D.A. or defense attorneys; in missing persons cases,
and in criminal investigations.
provide this background information to clarify the methods I use to
reach a conclusion about any particular case I work. My hope is that
this information might be useful for those seeking a deeper
understanding of the character type of what is known as the Busybody.
Because they are out there – and mark my words, they will take any
window of opportunity to interfere in your business!
CHARACTER TRAITS OF THE BUSYBODY
If I were asked to identify one character type that has caused the most trouble, done the most damage, in my personal or professional life, what would that be?
is no doubt, it would be the Busybody.
are people who have pathological 'boundary issues'. Every person,
under God-given free will, has the right to set his own boundaries.
To say: Here is my line. Don't cross it. Here are my parameters. Keep
out. No trespassing. You may enter only with explicit permission.
That is the essence of the Inviolability of Personhood. And it
defines the most significant issue of God-given rights and liberties:
The right to be free from aggression and interference in any form.
who violates that decree of the Individual is a wrongdoer. Of course,
totalitarian systems, including governments, are the most consistent
offenders. It is the nature of the beast. They routinely violate the
God-given rights and liberties of the Individual. In the most simple
statement of fact, they are a collective of Busybodies.
first glance, this may seem a euphemism, minimizing the potential for
doing harm. Hearing the word, Busybody, one may be inclined to
picture the stereotype of an old biddy, peeking from behind the
curtains, snooping on her neighbors and making phone calls to relate
the latest gossip to anyone willing to lend an ear. And to some
extent this may be an accurate description.
taking a deeper look, the truth becomes clear: Busybodies are
compulsive in interfering in the lives of others. They are
micromanagers, opportunists, petty tyrants and control freaks. The
key word in describing them is always aggression.
comes in many forms, but it always involves violation of the personal
boundaries of others. And that is where the trouble begins.
is a list of character traits and behavior exhibited by the typical
by his emotions, rather than by reason, logic or principle.
The Busybody has a serious issue with impulse control. Not thinking
before acting, which often leads to inappropriate behavior.
attention: The Busybody likes to be the center of attention. Her
self-esteem often depends on what other people think of her. This
often results in superficiality and conformity to popular trends.
seeker/people pleaser: The Busybody seeks the attention and acclaim
of others and wants the credit she thinks is her due. The behavior of
the Busybody is often determined by what she believes will gain
popular affirmation, rather than on principle.
impressed by worldly values. Will focus undue attention on
politicians, those with academic or professional credentials, or
those considered “celebrities”. The busybody seeks to attach
himself to people who might be considered “important” by the
society. May be a name-dropper in efforts to impress others by “who
The Busybody projects his own feelings, beliefs, standards and
viewpoints on others. This results from his own lack of boundaries.
He tends to merge his own identity with others. He assumes that
everyone is like him, or that everyone “should be” like him. To
some extent this may result in living vicariously, but more often he
is likely to attempt to push his own standards and views on others.
and adheres to popular trends: The Busybody is like a weather vane.
Whatever way the wind blows, so turns the Busybody. Thus she is prone
to suddenly “switch sides” and/or behave in a contradictory
manner, adopting mutually exclusive standards or viewpoints on any
given issue. A fitting caution: You can't have it both ways!
The Busybody often lacks the integrity and ego-strength to hold a
solid position, to act on principle, to speak her mind directly and
firmly to others. In order to “get even” with those by whom she
feels slighted or offended, she will make an insulting or belittling
comment, couched in apparent but pretended innocence. Or she will do
something she knows will be offensive, but that is “plausibly
deniable” as such.
confronted, the Busybody will not acknowledge the wrongfulness of her
actions; rather she will make claims of not understanding what she
has done wrong, or denying it altogether. Thus, the pattern of
behavior continues, never being acknowledged.
Acting as a self-appointed intermediary, deal broker, matchmaker, the
Busybody, lacking all respect for the privacy and personal boundaries
of others, will insert herself in the middle of another person's
business, without the knowledge or consent of the other party or
The Busybody sees herself as on a mission of mercy, often with a
“Savior complex”. She will intrude into a situation where she has
not been invited and most often is unwelcome. She will attempt to
“solve a problem” which has nothing to do with her, dishing out
unsolicited advice, speaking out of turn, presuming to speak “for”
others, without their permission.
The Busybody tends to be a collectivist and an extravert. He speaks of “bringing people together”, and likes to be in the center of any group he forms or joins. Lacking discernment and discretion, he tends to lump people indiscriminately into generalized categories, even where there are no commonalities or natural sympathies. He commingles unrelated issues or circumstances. He will say, We are all in this together!, and then proceed to try to mix oil and water, which only results in discord for all involved.
the final analysis, the Busybody seeks to have control over others.
This is usually due to her own feelings of inadequacy and insecurity,
which may be partly unconscious, but which compel her to attempt to
“organize” and direct the lives of others, in fear of the chaos
which may ensue should she let go of the reins, which were never her
place to hold.
In order to better illustrate my profile of the Busybody, here are some anecdotes.
a road trip.
Busybody and Friend are headed to a destination, the Busybody behind
the wheel. They become lost, after taking the wrong turn. The
Busybody pulls off the road to consult a map.
I think we need to go a few miles back to the junction.
Okay, but please, let's find another place to stop. You have pulled
into someone's private driveway and are blocking the road.
Oh, I'm sure they won't mind. We'll only be here a few minutes.
This is private property.
Well, what's the rush? I need a few minutes to figure this out. Can
you hand me that bottle of water, please?
Please find another place to stop. This is trespassing.
What's the big deal? You need to chill out.
Friend opens the passenger door and gets out of the car.
I'll be over there on the side of the road, whenever you're ready.
Oh, for heaven's sake! I don't see a car here, there's probably
the coffee hour after church.
1: Have you seen Jane lately? I visited her in the hospital last
week, and thought she would be here today.
Well, I've been calling her every day since she came home, but she
hasn't got back to me. You know, we've all been trying to tell her
that she needs to get out of that big house and move to an assisted
living facility, but she is so stubborn, and she just won't listen.
2: Why are you so concerned? It was only a minor surgery and she has
recovered well. Has something happened?
Well, not that I know of. But she's 77 years old and all alone in
that house! Anything could happen!
2: It's her life. If she wants to stay in her home, that's her
decision to make.
Well, maybe, but we need to make sure she does what is best for her.
I called her son and told him that, and I'll be speaking to the
pastor about it again. He doesn't seem very concerned. After all, she
is one of his flock.
1: I've known Pastor Gregory for 20 years. He has always treated us
all with great concern and helped in any way he could. But he
respects the privacy of others and knows it's not his place to
intervene in anyone's life without their consent. Surely you can
Well, I never! I'm only trying to help. We need to have a meeting and
reach a decision as to what is best for Jane. I can't believe you
don't see that. Maybe I'll call Social Services and ask them to send
someone out to visit her, talk some sense into her.
car pulls up outside the church. Jane gets out and walks up the path,
coming through the back entrance.
Jane (to Parishioners): Hi. Sorry I couldn't make it to the service. It's my grandson's birthday and I needed to help set up the arrangements for his party.
Well, you could have let us know. We've been worried sick about you!
Have you considered what you're going to do? Really, you shouldn't be
all alone in that big house. There are people who want to help you
and I'm sure we can work something out.
Thanks, but I don't need your help. If I want your advice, I'll ask
for it. I've lived in that house for 30 years and if I decide to
leave, that will be my decision, for my own reasons.
Well, have it your way, then. But I'm warning you, you never know
what might happen and it's best to be prepared for the worst.
I'm not expecting the worst. My life is in God's hands and my trust
is in Him. Praise the Lord!
Well, I never!
Post Office in small town at lunch break
Standing in line, a Busybody, working as a secretary in the office of an Attorney, and in front of her, her Acquaintance from the office.
(to Postal Clerk): I have here a letter which I want stamped REFUSED
and returned to sender.
hands the letter to the Clerk.
(looking over Acquaintance's shoulder): But that letter is from
So-and-So, and it's addressed to you. Shouldn't you at least open it
to find out what it's about?
(to Busybody): I know who it's from.
Acquaintance (to Clerk): Please see that it is clearly marked REFUSED.
I don't think you should do that, there could be a problem. I don't
think she will be happy for you to refuse her letter.
Acquaintance (to Busybody):
This letter is addressed to me. I
have the right to refuse it if I so choose. And it is not my concern
what makes anyone happy.
(to Clerk): Wait, I don't think this is a good idea. He could lose
his job if he returns that letter.
(to Acquaintance): What do you want me to do?
Acquaintance (to Clerk): I already told you, please stamp the letter REFUSED and return to sender.
(following Acquaintance out the door of Post Office): I hope you know
what you're doing. You know, she has the power to have you fired, and
what will you do then? You have a family to support, you need to
think of them.
This does not involve you, it has nothing to do with you. Please mind
your own business and leave me to tend to mine.
Well, don't say I didn't warn you. And come to think of it, I too
could lose my job, have you thought about that?
Thank the Lord for small blessings.
takes Daughter to lunch.
(to Waiter): I'll have a glass of Merlot.
It's only noon, and you're drinking wine? I really don't think that's
a good idea.
I'm a grown woman, Mother.
But you need to listen to me, I'm your mother. I know what's best for
you. Remember that time at the country club? I had to pick you up
when you had too much to drink. I was mortified at what our friends
must have thought!
Mother, that was twenty years ago. I was 22 years old, and home from
Well, okay, but you know I worry, dear.
waiter brings the drinks, a glass of wine for the Daughter and iced
tea for the Busybody.
(raising her glass in a toast): Cheers!
If you say so.
Busybody calls a Friend, whom she has not heard from in some time.
She gets the voice mail and leaves a message.
Just checking in. I haven't heard from you since November. Please
give me a call.
day, she makes another call. No answer, and she leaves another
message. This goes on for the next week, but still no answer.
Busybody then sends an e-mail to a Relative of her Friend.
(to Relative): I am trying to contact Bill. I keep calling but he
doesn't answer. Have you heard from him?
(to Busybody): No, I haven't heard from him recently.
(to Relative): Do you know where he is?
(to Busybody): I haven't spoken to him in awhile, so no, I have no
(to Relative): I think we should call for a welfare check, what do
(to Busybody): There is no reason to do that, and I'm sure he would
not appreciate it. He is a very private person.
pass, her calls to Bill are not answered or returned, and the
Busybody decides that despite the warning from Bill's Relative, she
must take action. Bill could be in trouble!
calls the local police in the town where Bill lives and reports that
he may be “missing”, or something may have happened to him.
it happens, Bill has been on a trip for professional business. He
arrives home to find two police cars waiting outside his house.
(to Police): What's going on here?
(to Bill): Why don't you tell us. Your friend called and reported
that you might be missing. She wanted a welfare check.
(to Police): That is ridiculous. That woman needs to learn to mind
her own business. There is no problem here. I have not been missing.
I just got home from the airport.
(to Bill): Do you mind if we just come in and take a look around?
Just to be sure there is no problem here.
(to Police): No, there is no need for that. I'm sorry you wasted your
time coming out here. If you'll excuse me, I have work to do.
(to Bill): What kind of work would that be, Sir?
(to Police): I'm self-employed and there is no need to discuss my
work with you.
(to Bill): Do you have any weapons on your person?
(to Police): You have no right to ask that. There is no probable
cause. I have committed no crime, nor do I have any such intention.
(to Bill): Well, we just need to check. Your friend was very
concerned about you.
(to Police): Please call your supervisor, or I will call the Watch
Commander. This is a violation of my rights.
(to Bill): We can settle this right here. Put your hands on your
(to Police): This is outrageous! I'll call my attorney right now.
(to Bill): That won't be necessary. If you've done nothing wrong,
what do you have to hide? Hands on your head! Now!
(to Police): What the hell is wrong with you people? I am a
law-abiding citizen. I have no criminal record.
(to Bill): Prove it! You are resisting arrest.
(to Police): Why would you arrest me? What is your probable cause?
What is the charge?
do not answer.
puts his hands on his head. The Police frisk him. They find no
(to Police): Are you satisfied now? Am I free to go about my
(to Bill): We just needed to make sure you are not armed. Have a nice
weeks later, after spending $5,000 to hire counsel to file a lawsuit
against the Police for harassment and violations of his rights, Bill
runs into his “friend”, the Busybody, at the grocery store.
Bill! So glad to see you! I've been so worried about you! Where have
reaches into his pocket, pulling out a voucher from his attorney.
Bill: You just cost me at least $5,000 to hire an attorney
to sue the police who accosted me, searched me and harassed me at my
Busybody: Oh, I'm so sorry. I was only trying to help.
Bill: I don't want or need your kind of “help”. Don't
ever contact me again. Just mind your own damned business and leave
(to Bill as he walks away...): Bill, wait! My cousin is the Chief of
Police. I could put in a good word for you...
August 14, 2022
RESPECTING PRIVACY & PERSONAL BOUNDARIES: A NONNEGOTIABLE UNIVERSAL MORAL ABSOLUTE
Invasions of Privacy & Meddling: Garden Variety Busybodies
PRIVACY: THE FINAL FRONTIER
A Nation of Snoops, Snitches & Busybodies: Tyrannical Government & Monstrous Invasions of Privacy
REAL I.D.: The Death Knell of Personal Privacy
Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do
God Protect Us...From the Invasion of the Busybodies!