I’ve always classified myself as a curious person. From a young age, I was fascinated in discovering new information. As a young child, I was especially interested in animals. I had an encyclopedia type book on animals and I was an avid watcher of Zoboomafoo. Basically, I considered myself an animal “expert” and I made sure that my family knew they could refer to me if they had any inquiries. Although my curiosity has expanded beyond animals to my current study of Human Ecology I still thoroughly enjoy learning.
Curiosity has multiple connotations. Above I shared about my curiosity for learning which in itself is not a harmful pursuit. On the other hand, curiosity can also be interpersonal. Where the desire for information turns to wanting to know details about others lives, thoughts or actions. I’m referring to the curiosity that drives gossip and pursues unwholesome or inappropriate information.
I never understood the phrase “curiosity killed the cat”. In my mind curiosity was a good, innocent thing. It drove my desire to pursue higher education. I didn’t understand the other side of being curious. The part of wanting to know too much. At twenty-one, I’m a lot less innocent. I finally understand after a recent experience why it’s not always best to be an avidly curious person in interpersonal contexts.
I’ve always tried to give people their space. I try not to pry or ask intrusive questions. Personally, I don’t appreciate those remarks and I don’t always feel comfortable divulging certain personal aspects of my life. On the other hand, with people, I’m relatively close to I tend to feel a lot more confident asking those awkward or personal questions. Recently I crossed a line in asking for details and it got me in trouble. The information I received was not necessary or relevant or appropriate for me to know. It led the other person to be curious about similar aspects of my life. After the fact, I felt dumb for going too far with my questioning. I realized it’s not always beneficial to myself or others to be curious about certain matters.
After that moment and doing some pondering I decided I don’t want to be curious anymore.
I don’t need to know the details of your life
As intriguing, exciting or relevant someone’s life may seem to me it’s not necessarily my place to unravel those details. I don’t need to know things said in private or about past experiences or relationships. If there is no prosperous reason to know the unrevealed information it’s not necessary to reveal. The following verse provides a good reminder about what information to dwell on.
“…be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil” Romans 16:19
In regards to romantic relationships, I think knowing too many details of someone’s past personal experiences can be detrimental to the present relationship, especially in the beginning. As the relationship progresses more things will ultimately be shared as the trust level increases. In talking about past experiences I would caution to only share of vague general experiences while leaving the nitty gritty details out of it.
The consideration of future regret may quell your present intrigue
If you’re having trouble knowing where to draw the line I would seek advice from a wise older person, pastor or counsellor. It may be painful or bring up regretful memories when talking about past experiences. I would encourage sensitivity for the listener along with grace and forgiveness. Sometimes certain questions need to be asked but other times it’s best to let the person share as they feel comfortable. I would also encourage prayer in this sensitive area.
I don’t want to spread gossip
Another aspect of being curious is that it fosters an environment where gossip is spread. Gossip is driven by the desire for information. Most of the time the information being passed on is not necessary for the hearer to know of. Curiosity drives the fight for wanting to know just a little bit more about a person or situation. In one aspect it gives a feeling of power. I can rationalize that I should know this information because of my relationship with this person or so that I won’t allow this person to use me… Talking about people in a rude or unprosperous manner is wrong. STOP wanting to know more. Just let things be. I’m learning to be satisfied with being innocent or ignorant of information that doesn’t pertain to me. I just don’t want to know. No matter how tantalizing the information may seem. For me, this is an ongoing struggle and still something that I would like to improve on in 2016.
At other times you yourself may be questioned for information. In these situations, it’s fair to say “It’s really none of our business” and to leave it at that. You don’t have to divulge personal information about yourself or others. It takes integrity to become a trustworthy person.
TNK is an acronym I learned while serving at a summer camp when I was 16. It stands for True, Necessary and Kind. Before sharing information consider whether it’s true, accurate and honest, necessary whether or not it’s appropriate or worth telling and lastly kind, does it edify others and Jesus? This little acronym has always stuck with me. I really think people tend to skip over the N or the necessary component in conversation. Curiosity is hugely tied into this. A lot of information does not need to be passed on. A few reasons for not sharing something is due to it being harmful to someone, tearing down a person, dishonouring God, or not being appropriate or relevant.
Back to my summer at Word of Life, one of the verses we memorized was Philippians 4:8, coincidentally we also sang it as a song with actions for kids camp which helped solidify it in my head. This verse outlines what we should think about and in turn speak on:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Overall curiosity is not a negative thing. Curiosity becomes detrimental when the object of curiosity causes one to stumble or pry into issues that are not appropriate.
Be curious for the things of God
Be curious to discover His word
Be curious to learn and let this curiosity drive your motivation to work hard and
never stop pursuing God.