When Someone is Looking Over Your Shoulder...
We’ve all had that moment where while you are waiting for the bus, riding the train, or simply sitting at home, someone feels compelled to look over your shoulder and see what you are up to. This has to be my number one pet peeve. Not only is it creepy and disturbing, it’s rude and intrusive. Are you really so bored with yourself that you have to look over my shoulder and read into my life as I’m doing something? Can’t a person have privacy here? I don’t care what I’m doing, whether it’s personal or not; if I wanted you to know, I would have shown or told you. This applies to people I know and especially to people that I don’t.
This is a pet peeve shared by many people, yet it happens often in the world around us. Why are people so interested in what others are doing? I have witnessed this often on the bus on my way to school, especially with people who are on computers. The person next to them will openly stare at the screen, as if enthralled with some entertaining movie. The person on the computer sneaks a sideways glance at this person, and scoots away from the intruder.
In some instances, the watcher will blink suddenly, as if brought out of a trance, and look down as if mildly embarrassed to have been caught being nosy, and continue on in there business. In rare cases, the intruder will stretch or scoot over to continue looking over the computer-wielding person’s shoulder, determined to know what they are up to.
At this point, the person at the computer will usually stop what they are doing to stare down the other, giving a clear message of “back off”, while those less timid will simply state their opinion out loud.
What bothers me most is when the nosy person gets offended by this, as if it is their right to know the new gossip you are sharing with your BFF Jill. On an internet conversation that was about people looking over your shoulder, one person even commented “I find it rude that the person using the computer doesn't turn around and acknowledge my presence.” I was exasperated when I saw this comment. How could a person possibly believe that the person who has just had their privacy intruded upon is the rude one? Sometimes I think it is only done out of curiosity, and I don't mind a quick glance, but there is a line that has been crossed far too many times. Do people really not realize how bothersome this it is to have another breathing down your neck while reading your favorite book?
Whether you are simply a curious passerby, or just another person that likes to know everybody's business, I would ask that you not look over my shoulder the next time I am reading, writing, playing on Facebook, or scrolling on my iPod. For those who have had the misfortune of your privacy being plucked away, which is an alarming proportion of us, I ask that you stand up and voice your opinion the next time that it happens. Let the intruder know that they are bothering you, for the protection of your and others privacy.