What is the meaning of “mind your own business”?
Depending on the context, any one of these interpretations is possible:
“Don’t ask about my private life.”
“Stop meddling with someone else's life.”
“Stop being nosy and worry about yourself.”
Let’s start with some examples:
As you can see in these examples, mind your own business means “don’t ask me about my private life!”
It’s not a very polite thing to say – you definitely wouldn’t say it in a formal situation, for example, to your boss.
You would say it to your brothers or sisters or your friends. More often than not, it’s used in a lighthearted way.
Instead of saying, “stop asking me questions,” you can say, “mind your own business,” so that the other person isn’t offended. Keep your voice sounding “happy” to do so!
Of course, you could say it angrily to let the other person know that they are being rude and you want them to stop talking about it. The tone of your voice is the key! This phrase can be said both in a lighthearted way as well as in a strong way.
Okay, so now you know what mind your own business means, let’s have a look at some other ways to say it.
Different Ways to Say “Mind Your Own Business”
In text or online, you might shorten it to MYOB (mind your own business).
You could also say that’s none of your business or shorten it to none of your business.
You could say keep your nose out of it, or keep your nose out. Just like mind your own business, this means not get involved.
A slightly more jokey way to tell someone to keep out is to say mind your own beeswax or none of your beeswax. This is a little bit more lighthearted and a little kinder than saying mind your own business but still has the same impact.
Finally, you could also say, that’s for me to know and you to find out, or you could shorten it to just that’s for me to know. The universal signal for this is tapping your nose. So, you can even just tap your nose and not say anything! Tapping your nose means the information will be kept to yourself.
Polite Way of Saying “Mind Your Own Business”
These expressions above are all very informal and should only really be used when you have a comfortable relationship with a person. That’s why siblings are perfect!
What if you want to tell somebody to mind your own business but more politely?
Saying I don’t feel comfortable sharing that is a good way to express your wish to keep this private and to remind the other person that they shouldn’t really be asking that in the first place!
The second response, nowhere in particular, is a vague way of answering the question. It expresses that you don’t really want to share. You could also say nothing in particular to answer vaguely.
And the third one, that’s not my story to tell, shows that you respect another person’s privacy and you won’t start gossiping.
In this post, you’ve learned these phrases:
- Mind your own business
- That’s none of your business
- Keep your nose out
- Mind your own beeswax
- That's for me to know
- I don’t feel comfortable sharing that
- Nothing in particular
- That’s not my story to tell
With all of these expressions, it’s important to keep your tone light and not say them angrily or defensively. Be polite and be respectful, and hopefully, the other person will keep their nose out!