According to Adele, a Malaysian friend of mine, a “busy body” is someone who likes sticking her nose into other people’s business and gossip. Gossiping people exist everywhere because sometimes gossiping can be addictive, especially in Southeast Asia where I came from.
“Hey, you know Ales?” asked Adele.
“Ales who?” I replied.
“He sits right across from you. He’s a clever guy. He introduced Agile methodology to the company. He even went to our branch in Malaysia to raise awareness on the topic. Oh yeah, he’s also a Scrum expert.” She continued.
How convenient! I’ve heard about this Agile movement for a while, but had no idea how it applied to the workplace. Also, I’ve wanted to take a Scrum course for a while now, but there wasn’t any session opened yet. Maybe, I wanted to know this guy a bit more and asked him to train me.
“Can you introduce me to him?” I asked Adele.
“Sure. Remind me.”
Adele set up a date to introduce me to Ales. Hey, wait a minute! I sit across from him, and still need a proper introduction? Hmm, have you noticed something amiss? Can’t I just holler at him from across my desk? This is something I still don’t get about the Westerners, especially when they are from this part of Europe. They still have walls.
I had a lunch box, and haven’t eaten yet, so I thought to give it to Ales as a nice gesture. A year later, Ales told me that it was a strange experience for him to receive a hand-out from a complete stranger.
Q: What does a busy body want to know?
A: People in proximity for the latest gossip.
What is your personality?
Knowing Ales happened to be around the same time I was doing a certification program on the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). The MBTI is a tool, a useful framework or model to assess a person’s personality. If you’re American, then you know it’s the fad that just won’t die, claimed a camp of people who discredit this psychological instrument due to lack of scientific facts.
Another group of people, among coaches, trainers, psychologist and enthusiasts, myself included, loves it. We believe that any good tool is better than nothing. The MBTI is an effective model for a person to gain insights of his preferences that result in his thinking and behaving. Having this knowledge, he can then see how they play out in social setting.
As required by the program, I needed to assess at least one person and have a one-on-one coaching, explaining the result to him.
“Whom do I want to know, now?” I asked myself. Who else other than the neighbor in the next cubicle who seemed never talk to anyone.
You see, in my world, the most logical step after offering food to a stranger food is to offering him a lifetime opportunity to learn who he is.
“You like analyzing, thinking, and building complex systems…You prefer a small group of people. You like to go to conferences and be around smart people. You don’t like networking too much…” I went over the personality report with Ales. “One area for improvement is to start doing some networking…” I went on.
He just smiled, nodded, and listened. “You know when I get a checklist telling me what to do, I use it as a guideline and don’t take it seriously.” He said.
“I know. It’s in your personality. You hate rules, guidelines and anything conventional wisdom I guess.” I said.
You would think that the personality business stopped there. But when you are a busy body who happens to love Jung (the father of the Jungian psychological type which the MBTI derived from), not only you want to know the personality of the person right in front of you, but you also want to know the personality of his wife, mother, father, children and his extended family, neighbors and friends if that is possible.
“Based on what we just went over today, can you guess your wife’s type?” I tried my luck.
“I think she’s so and so.”
“Can I test her too?”
“Sure.” Ales went home and asked his wife to take the test. We exchanged a few emails discussing her results. Then I met her in person.
Q: What does a busy body want to know?
A: If you have a personality.
And that was how I got to know Ales and his wife, Vladimira.
You can’t be a busy body if you only want to “invade” someone’s private space and psyche. You also have to stick your nose in the person’s business.
Twitter also needs a personality
“You complained too much. I plan to give you the Twitter account so you can inject your personality there.” Ales told me after I whined and moaned about his Twitter account behaving just like him.
Our digital world is going to get more noisy, thanks (or no thanks) to Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest. If each has a personality, I would say that Twitter is a very extroverted person with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder).
That’s why I got a bit annoyed seeing how Czech and introverted his Twitter was. I kept on pestering him to tweet something.
Q: What does a busy body want to do?
A: To hijack your social media account
As you can see, I got busier and busier minding other people’s business…. to the day that the business got real, and we embarked on an unexpected journey.
But this will be in another post. Stay tuned!