Technology may have changed the way we snoop, but the underlying reasons remain the same. How do you balance love and trust with your hunger for more information about the people close to you?
Learn how to deal with snooping in your relationships with your children, romantic partners, and employers.
General Tips for Dealing With Snooping
1. Understand your motives. Some people meddle out of mere curiosity and others because of anxiety. Often, they’re trying to discover any hidden conflicts so they can fix them.
2. Communicate openly. Whatever your reason, asking for information is more constructive than snooping. It takes courage to discuss sensitive subjects, but the rewards are profound. You’ll develop greater trust, intimacy, and wisdom.
3. Recognize the impact of technology. Social media and smart phones make it easier to access personal information. Think twice before you look. Ask yourself how you’d feel if someone did the same thing to you.
4. Create privacy zones. It’s a personal decision when it comes to what details to share. The important thing is that you and your loved ones are comfortable with the boundaries.
5. Brace yourself for dramatic news. You may be surprised by what you find out when you snoop. Plan ahead for how you’ll respond if you discover that your child is being a bully.
6. Apologize when needed. Nosing around can seriously damage relationships. A sincere apology may help to repair the violation of trust. Of course, you’ll also need to change your ways.
7. Forgive others. If you’re on the receiving end, forgive the intrusion. Even if you decide not to continue the relationship, letting go of resentments is good for your own peace of mind.
8. Deal with underlying issues. Most of all, examine your relationships when you feel the urge to snoop. Figure out why it’s difficult to approach the person directly and why your trust is shaky.
Tips for Dealing with Snooping Between Adults and Children
1. Put safety first. Common sense and the law recognize that parenting is a special situation where your actions may be necessary. If a child’s wellbeing is in danger, snooping may be justified.
2. Give advance notice. It helps to let your kids know that you may check their text messages or enter their rooms. Making them aware may even discourage the behavior you want them to avoid.
3. Consider the evidence. Ideally, your children will come to you when they’re looking for support. If direct questioning fails to work, you may need to take further action. Watch for signs like changes in behavior, falling grades, and troubling friendships.
4. Be a positive role model. Children tend to copy their parents. If you communicate directly and respect people’s privacy, your kids are more likely to do the same.
Tips for Dealing With Snooping Between Adults
1. Understand workplace policies. Privacy rights are very limited in the workplace. Use your own devices for personal communications.
2. Follow the law. Outside of the workplace, adults enjoy a greater expectation of privacy. At a minimum, check your state laws before doing anything questionable, like recording a phone call.
3. Discuss expectations. Setting up boundaries and expectations early in a romantic relationship will likely build trust and make for a strong, long-term relationship. Try talking about your values at the start of a relationship. See if you agree on the meaning of fidelity. Check if you’re compatible when it comes to sharing passwords.
4. Be more transparent. Consider the difference between being private and being secretive. It may be okay to guard your passwords if you have nothing to hide.
The temptation to snoop is natural, but giving in to those impulses can undermine your relationships. Protect yourself by communicating directly and treating others with love and respect.