We, Filipinos are typically very friendly, sometimes even too gracious for comfort, that most people especially our neighbors think that they can pry about our personal lives without getting into our nerves.
Since we live in close proximity with our neighbors because of how land areas are cut here in the Philippines, we cannot avoid mingling with our neighbors occasionally. Mostly on weekends when we have to clean our yards, or when we have to go to the neighborhood store, we simply cannot avoid chit chatting with them even just for few minutes.
We normally know who our neighbors are, especially if we have been in the same house for years. We know their last names, their every kid’s names, where they go to school and where the parents work.
We may not snoop around, but because we see them every day and their kids are friends with ours, we know the basic things about them, even without prying about it. We may not inquire about them, but somehow someone will drop that information to us casually during small talks when we meet people on the street, who know them too.
Then again, because we see our neighbors every day, we tend to be updated about their going ins and outs without meaning to it.
Being nice, friendly, and welcoming to our neighbors is a good virtue. After all, there is a saying that a neighbor is always better than a brother who lives so far away from you — which means that in times of trouble; it is your nearest neighbor who can lend you a helping hand and not a family member who is not around to help you.
However, what if your neighbor, is already getting into your nerves because they think that they are entitled to know — or have the right to ask very personal questions about your life.
Just because you have been friendly with them, and you have somewhat shown an approachable demeanor towards them, they have already took it as a signal that you are okay to be asked even with personal questions.
How would you keep up your camaraderie with your neighbor, without hurting their feelings, and yet send a strong message that they are already crossing their boundary, and you do not appreciate such prying.
When the question is about legal or personal information’s such as full name or address of someone and you think, that person would not appreciate you giving away that information, just smile and politely say you are not in the place to tell.
If he asks why, just say you do not know.
Giving vague answers will make the person realize that you are not open to talk about it.
There are neighbors that are not really your friends, but because they are your neighbors, you are normally pleasant to them. Sometimes they are the old woman from the store, or the community leader, or the homeowners association officer, bear in mind that your personal life is your business.
You are not obliged to answer every inquiry about your life even if they are the people who have position in your community– especially if you know they are just being nosey.
Some people tend to be inquisitive if they think that you are the type who would spill out information when cornered .Or you are the type who is too nice to embarrass people, by making them feel that their questions are not welcome – and that is because you are just too nice. Well it is not your fault if they would feel embarrassed – they should be, after all, they have already crossed the line.
When you have established that line, they would know that NOT your entire life is open for other people’s inquiry. You may sometimes share your woes and other complains about normal life such as prices, day-to-day experiences, politics and the economy, you should always be consciously careful in sharing your life stories.
You are your first line of defense against nosey neighbors.
It does not mean you cannot have small talks with your neighbors, just keep it general and avoid focusing about your life. You may not know it but your neighbor may sometimes pretend being concern about you, but in reality is only fishing information about you.
Some are such an expert in maneuvering the conversation and before you know it, you are already crying your hearts out to them. Be careful about those who talk to you about other people, they are the neighborhood broadcasters.
You may have spilled out information to your neighbor in the past about your personal affairs, and then suddenly change your mind because she has already become too aggressive in asking questions–do not be too blunt in deflecting the person, after all it was you who may have encouraged such behavior from your neighbor.
Slowly pull away from such kind of conversation.
Be consistent in dealing with your neighbors. Be generic in sharing information’s about your life. Do not make your life the talk of the town.
The neighbors will stop asking questions if they think that you are NOT generous in sharing every colorful episode of your life.
They will leave you alone if they know you value your privacy with much care.