Mind Yours!



    I have been making a conscious effort lately to mind my own business. Normally, this is not such an easy thing for me to do because I like to help everyone and sometimes that includes me getting involved in matters that really don’t concern me at all. You guys know how it is, a family member or friend calls you to tell you what is going on with another family member or friend. Before you know it, you get completely sucked into the problem and end up getting blamed for something at some point.

    This always happens to me, I always get pulled into things without really wanting to be involved in the first place.  I’m not sure what it is about me that causes people to tell me all of their personal business.  There must be something in my face or character that beckons others to divulge all of the personal details of their lives.  Normally, I don’t mind listening unless I feel that the other person has ulterior motives for confiding in me.  However, it is getting exhausting going through these same kinds of experiences time after time.

    Whenever something is going on with someone I care about, I receive a phone call or some kind of communication explaining the whole situation to me.  Most of the time, I try to stay out of the whole thing by keeping my mouth shut or at least attempting to keep my mouth shut.  Unfortunately, this does not always work out for me because someone always has to ask me how I feel about something or another person gets mad because they find out that I knew about the problem and I didn’t do anything to help them solve it.  You can’t win if you get involved and you can’t win if you don’t get involved.

    I have found this to be especially true when it comes to family members.  Believe me, I could care less what my family members are doing in their personal lives as long as they are happy and healthy.  As we all know, family has no concept of discretion or privacy and, more often than not, we all receive tidbits of family information through the grapevine that we would have rathered not heard about at all.  It must be that I am getting older and more reflective because it is just now that I am realizing that it is better for my mental health if I stay as far away from these situations as possible.

    In the past, I would be the first one on the front lines trying to lend moral support or just making myself available to talk to if necessary.  I have had to learn the hard way that people are generally happy with the way that their lives are.  Even those who are constantly complaining about how much they hate their lives will turn on you in a minute the moment you try to give them some advice about living their lives differently or about following a different path.  This is especially true when it comes to people’s relationships, no matter how much family members or friends complain to you about their spouses or partners, they don’t really want to hear your opinion about what you think the problems are in their relationships.

    This is sometimes an inner conflict that I struggle with which is my need to be forthcoming and true to myself and the needs of others to remain blissful in their ignorance and denial.  Allow me a corny moment as I quote the Colonel, played by Jack Nicholson, in the movie A Few Good Men

“You can’t handle the truth!”

    Well, some can but many more others cannot.  So my advice to myself, and to all of you, is not to get involved.  Most of the time it is really not worth all of the effort and aggravation that comes from you jumping from the frying pan into the fire.  People are going to do whatever they want to do regardless of what you think or what you advise them to do.  Friends and lovers will still be friends and lovers after a betrayal.  Family members will still gravitate towards each other after a conflict because blood is thicker than water.  Money, or lack thereof, will still make people do all kinds of crazy things.  We can’t control any of these things so why not focus on the things we do have control over, like ourselves?

© 2011, Tough Cookie Mommy. All rights reserved.


  1. Oh, been there done that! Sometimes? I just keep on walking…..things you think you can “help” fix usually you can’t.

    But it’s so hard to stay out of it at times!

    • You are so right, Sherri. Most of the things that seem like they have such an easy solution often don’t. However, it is sometimes hard to stay out of it especially if it involves people that we care about…

  2. I couldn’t agree more. Just because it sounds like a problem to us does not mean the person wants to change anything. I stay out of other people’s lives unless they specifically ask for my help with something. And I make it a point not to judge or offer opinions. This world would be a much healthier place if we all just minded our own business…

    • As a person who always has something to say and an opinion, I can tell you that I really have to bite my tongue sometimes. Chela, not judging others is so important especially since we don’t want to be judged ourselves. This is also something that I working on as my honesty might come across as judgmental sometimes. I totally agree with you, everyone really needs to learn how to mind their own business.

  3. It sounds like you have learned this… but yeah, its best to stay far away from those sucking vortexes!!

  4. It’s the family grapevine thing that really irks me. I think it’s especially bothersome because we’d like to view family as those in whom we can truly confide. As a dear friend of mine likes to say, “Silence is golden, but duct tape is silver.” I’ve learned just to duct tape my yap shut when I most want to open it. I’ve been a lot happier ever since.

    • Sue, that is exactly what gets me each and every single time, the expectation that family is supposed to be there and be discreet. Unfortunately, sometimes I find that family gives me the most headaches.

  5. I like Charlene’s description “sucking vortexes”, they are always negative and an energy drain. I often finding myself saying mm hmmm – or *interesting* when I don’t want to commit. My problem comes when someone asks me a direct question, then I feel it is my responsibility to be forthright. BUT, people don’t really want to hear what I think, they just want a mirror of what they are feeling so I often hurt feelings or piss them off.

    I haven’t figured this out yet. Just please don’t ask me if you really don’t want to know! Big sigh… this IS a tough one to learn and I find it really doesn’t hit us until we are in our 30’s (this revelation). Your point about relationships is especially true.

    • Daria, this is always how I put my foot in it, so to speak. I feel that I shouldn’t have to hold back on what I have to say and how I really feel, especially if the person solicited my advice or opinion. When you figure out how to get around this, please let me know.

  6. I live by the motto, Advice is best received when expressly asked for. Great post!

    • Bella, you are absolutely right. However, I have found that even when people ask for advice, they are not always prepared to hear what you really have to say to them. Like my husband says, “don’t ask questions that you are not prepared to hear the answer to…”

  7. Amen, sister, I so agree on so many levels. We all get a pay off, even when we say, we don’t want things to be this way, we get something out of things being this way.

    Whether it is our path, part of our evolution, or just repeating patterns that are familiar or just getting something out of the conflict…we get something out of it.

    I tend to reach out and this is new for me, when someone is in crisis, like a loss, like some major life issue or struggle. Sometimes people are truly struggling and they just want to be heard, they don’t need us to fix anything or give advice. They just need to be seen and heard.

    I myself know that everything in my life I have created, good and bad and sometimes, I just want to be seen and heard. I am an isolator by nature, and so I don’t reach out unless I am dying, but I am learning to reach out and say, wanna have coffee or tea and chat. I am learning to ask for what I need. And it is oh so wonderful when someone just calls me, and knows that I am having a hard time, or perhaps doesn’t know and just says, let’s get together girl. I love the give and the take of some female relationships. It can’t be onesided. We have to learn to take turns and just listen. it is a gift when we do.

    • Stephanie, I love that you said that we have to take turns and reciprocate within our relationships with other females. It is draining when you are the one always listening and always offering a shoulder when others just want everything to always be all about them.

  8. Great advice! We’re so much alike. People vomit to me all the time, but like you said although many complain, they’re actually ok with their situations or they choose not to change them. No matter how involved I get, int the end, it only stresses me out more. So for those that choose the change, I’ll entertain it for awhile. But the minute I see no progress, my ears are closed.

    • Eleana, that is exactly what always happens to me! I end up getting stressed out over something that is not even my problem. You are right, if we see that the person is not making any moves to improve their situation that they always complain about, our ears and mouths should be closed.

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