There are natural changes that come in life, some are good and some are bad. There are a few phrases that have gone out of vogue that need to make a comeback into our vocabulary:
“That’s none of your business”
Everything is now public, except of course what is done in Las Vegas…unless you are on Facebook. On Facebook it seems, everything is public. Social networking is a fascinating development in that we have a running first hand commentary on the interests, likes, dislikes and behavior of people. I vote that we reinstate the phrase “that’s none of your business” back into our corporate psyche. It would impact us in two ways:
First, we would be spared some of the more inane and inappropriate details of your life, as it is none of my business what you do in your bedroom, bathroom or private party.
Second, and more seriously, it will impact our relationships and conversations. As a pastor I have had many people confide in me. It is a discipline, skill, and obligation for me to learn to keep things to myself. I am often surprised to find out how many people thing that my wife knows what people tell me in confidence. She doesn’t, “it’s none of her business.” I have told people in my office that I would not tell others what they said because it is their story to tell. I might encourage them to tell it, but I don’t.
With children this is a great phrase. It is amazing how many people think they are obligated to share inappropriate details with their children. In parenting, “it’s none of your business” is a great phrase to keep in mind, not just saying the words to them when appropriate, but having certain conversations outside of their ear-shot.
So many conversations would be better if we adopted this marvelous phrase.
We need a good dose of “none of your business,” not only on Facebook, but in all areas of life.
“You’ll have to take that up with….”
This corollary of “That’s none of your business” helps to communicate with other people that the conversation they are trying to have with you is misplaced. This phrase is a good “stopper” for gossip. It draws a boundary that directs back to the subject, as in the topic of conversation.
I find that most people have no desire to draw these people-subject boundaries. Since we have lost the art of confrontation, it is much easier to vent with a third-party. This venting serves the purpose of letting off steam, expressing the anger that we might have, and possibly gaining an ally in our battle with another person. None of these things leads to a reconciliation that needs to occur.
We do one another a favor when we recognize this behavior and redirect the person back to the source by saying “you’ll have to take that up with…”
Practice these two phrases, it makes you a better human and you will make the world a better place.