At some point in our lives, we’ve all known someone who couldn’t help but mind everyone else’s business. However, we may not know an appropriate term we can refer to this person as. Therefore, this article will go over alternative terms we can appropriately use.
What Do We Call Someone Who Minds Other People’s Business?
As this is not exactly an admirable personality trait, we ought to know what it can be called. This article will take a look at the following terms that we can use to describe someone who continuously minds other people’s business:
- A Busybody
- A Buttinsky
- A Control Freak
- A Yenta
- An Eavesdropper
- A Snoop
- A Gossip
The preferred version is “a busybody”. This is because the term “busybody” accurately depicts someone who can’t help but get involved in the business of others. This is not considered a respectable personality trait and often causes someone to be deemed untrustworthy.
Cambridge Dictionary defines a “busybody” as a person who is too interested in things that don’t involve them. We often associate a person who is considered a “busybody” with being very prying or continuously meddling in the lives and affairs of others.
We often consider someone who is a “busybody” as someone who cannot be trusted with tentative information. This is because a “busybody” is not known to keep even sensitive information to themselves.
Many “busybodies” feel joy or satisfaction in knowing something that others do not and often can’t contain the information privately.
Here are a few examples of how we can use this term:
- Karen is known for being a busybody, so I certainly wouldn’t discuss anything you wish to remain a secret in front of her.
- Others consider him to be a consistent intervening busybody, so they no longer associate with him outside of work.
- She was a busybody by nature and couldn’t help but meddle in the lives of others.
Another excellent alternative term that we can choose to use is “a buttinsky”. “A buttinsky” is someone who is considered a habitual meddler. This is someone who can’t help themselves but intrude into the conversation for which they were not invited to take part.
“A buttinsky” is known for someone who constantly butts into conversations and this is how the term came to be. This is another negative personality trait, as “a buttinsky” is commonly viewed as being both rude and annoying.
To show how we can use this term, here are a few examples:
- She’s a complete buttinsky! There’s no getting a word in edgewise whenever she is around.
- He was known by his classmates for being a buttinsky, which made others feel uncomfortable by his presence alone.
- My Grandma is such a buttinsky and I’m not sure how to properly handle it.
Cambridge Dictionary defines a “nosy” person as being too interested in what other people are doing and wanting to discover too much about them. Because of this, we often consider someone who is “nosy” to be prying and even a tad overbearing.
When we say that someone is “nosy” we are expressing their overwhelming need to be involved in other people’s affairs. This is often someone we consider to be too curious, even showcasing somewhat sneaky tendencies.
Those who are “nosy” are often guilty of finding out information that they weren’t pertinent to hear in the first place.
Some examples we can go over to showcase the use of this term are:
- My entire family is horrifically nosy, to the point where I’m not allowed to keep any information private or strictly to myself.
- He was known for being nosy and always attempting to get involved in his coworkers’ lives.
- My mom is nosy and also assumes that she’s always correct.
Cambridge Dictionary defines “meddlesome” as often getting involved in situations where you are not wanted, especially by criticizing in a damaging or annoying way. This is generally someone who is considered to be fond of both meddlings and interfering in other people’s lives.
We often think of “meddlesome” people as abrasive, merely because their comments are commonly very harsh. Sometimes without full intention, those who meddle in the lives of others feel they have some inherent right to both comments and speculate – much of the time unwarrantedly.
To help further explain this term, here are a few examples:
- My mother is so meddlesome in my relationship, you would think she was dating my boyfriend!
- My entire family is meddlesome in one another’s business. No wonder holiday dinners always turn into a battle royale!
- The meddlesome client soon found himself without proper representation, as no one felt comfortable working with him.
A Control Freak
Cambridge Dictionary defines a “control freak” as someone who is determined to make things happen the way they want and who tries to make other people do what they want. Because of this, “a control freak” often needs to know everyone else’s business.
Commonly, “a control freak” is known to take over a given situation, obsessively needing to have all input on how things should be done. With that being said, it is not often that “a control freak” is not prying into the affairs of others. In order to control, they must be constantly aware of all goings-on.
For further explanation on this term, here are some examples:
- My father is a control freak at every family function. He won’t allow anyone input and becomes such a know-it-all.
- Our teacher is a control freak when it comes to seating arrangements. We are never allowed a say!
- My sister is the control freak in her relationship and her girlfriend just goes along with it.
Another superb alternative we can use is the term “a yenta”. This particular term only works when we are speaking about a female. This is because “a yenta” is considered to be a woman who is known for being a major gossip and being involved in everyone’s personal business.
While this is a considerably informal term, however, it still accurately depicts someone, in this case, a woman, who prefers to or enjoys getting involved in the affairs of others.
Here are some examples of how we can use this particular term:
- My grandmother is the family yenta; she knows everything about everyone.
- Mrs. Kent is apparently the resident yenta. She gets involved in the whole building’s affairs.
- He told me a story about his mother, who he claims is a yenta. She knows everything about his life, even the things he tries to keep secretive.
Cambridge Dictionary defines “an eavesdropper” as a person who listens to someone’s private conversations without them knowing. Because this is someone who frequently listens to secretive conversations, they are often someone who has a necessity to know everyone’s private business.
“An eavesdropper” is usually considered to be a very intrusive person, making them someone that others generally do not feel comfortable around or trust.
To showcase the use of this term, here are some examples:
- Be careful what you say, my little sister is around and she’s such an eavesdropper.
- My grandpa is so sweet, but he’s such an eavesdropper! He always listens in on my phone conversations!
- Mom, can you please stop being an eavesdropper? I know you’re at the door listening!
Cambridge Dictionary defines “snoop” as to looking around a place secretly, in order to discover things or find out information about someone or something. Therefore, “a snoop” is someone who does these things while trying to find out information about other people’s lives.
“A snoop” is someone who has a necessity to find out information about others. Because of this, they often act very secretively and invasively. They will find out information in a sneaky way, as opposed to asking someone to their face.
To clarify further, here are a few examples of this term:
- My mother is a snoop, so I’ve set a trap with fake information, to catch her in the act!
- Don’t be such a snoop and feel like you have the right to read my diary, just because you are my sister.
- The teacher is a snoop – don’t let her catch you writing notes!
Cambridge Dictionary defines “intrusive” as affecting someone in a way that annoys them and makes them feel uncomfortable. Because of this, when we call someone “intrusive” we are expressing our feelings over their consistent need to intrude in the lives of others.
Often, an “intrusive” individual is someone who causes a general disruption through being unwelcomed or uninvited to an event, a situation or a conversation. Consistently, this is someone we consider to be invading our personal space or privacy.
Here are some examples utilizing this particular term:
- My boyfriend has become overly intrusive in my life, to the point where I’m not allowed to have any conversations that he isn’t aware of.
- I feel like my new boss is too intrusive in matters of my personal life.
- My mother has become increasingly intrusive in my personal life lately and I’m not sure why.
The last alternative we will look at is “a gossip”. Cambridge Dictionary defines “gossip” as conversation or reports about other people’s private lives that might be unkind, disapproving, or not true. Because of this, there is a negative connotation to being called “a gossip”.
This is generally someone who enjoys knowing and talking about the personal matters of other people. This is often a very negative person, that finds amusement in spreading falsehoods about others.
Lastly, here are examples of the term “a gossip”:
- My aunt is the known family gossip, she has to know everyone’s business and loves to talk about you behind your back.
- I used to be friends with Emma, but that was before I knew that she was a gossip.
- I heard that our teacher is a gossip and that she likes to talk about all of us in the teacher’s lounge!
What Does It Mean To Mind Other People’s Business?
When we say that someone likes to “mind other people’s business”, we mean to express that they have an inherent necessity to know about the affairs of others. This is someone who is often thought of as untrustworthy and obtrusive in their methods of communication and seeking out information.
You may also like: 10 Polite Ways To Say “Mind Your Own Business”
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.