Nosy Neighbours

Nosy Neighbours

 A nation of nosy parkers?

Have you ever had that urge to take a quick look in a stranger’s or even a neighbour’s house as you walk past? Afterall, if the lights are on and the curtains and blinds are open, they’re just inviting you to have peek, surely?

Is it nothing but harmless curiosity, or should we be more careful when it comes to protecting our privacy in our homes? Here are at Burton Roofing, we asked 2,000 members of the British public exactly how vigilant they are in closing their own curtains and blinds, as well as how often they steal a glance into a stranger’s home.

Human nature

If you’ve ever walked past a window and had a peek, whether fleeting or otherwise, you’re not alone - over 80% of Brits have admitted to taking a peep though open windows. However, don’t be alarmed or ashamed, as it’s completely natural. Dennis Relojo-Howell, founder of Psychreg, explains the reasoning behind why people have that urge to look in other people’s windows: “It’s due to social curiosity and interpersonal perception. By nature, we want to use available social information to assess our environment. When we walk past a house with an open window, it draws our attention – we love to see how other people live, and how this compares to us. There's something fascinating when going to other people's houses to see how others live on their space. As cliché as it may sound, windows do tell you a lot about a home.”

Dare to bare

With so many Brits happy to take a quick look into a stranger’s home, you would assume that the majority of people would be extra vigilant in their own homes. However, almost half of Brits (48%) admitted that they don’t close their curtains or blinds when changing clothes and almost one in three Brits (32%) claim to keep the curtains open even during intimate moments!

And it seems that as we get older, we’re less inclined to care that someone is taking a peek, even if we may be in a state of undress! Those aged over 65 most likely to bare all, with over 60% stating they don’t close their curtains or blinds when changing. Whereas 25-34-years-olds - despite being the nosiest – are far more coy when it comes to changing, with just over a third keeping their blinds open.

Not only does your age impact how much you protect your privacy (and modesty), but our study reveals that where you live dictates whether you’re more likely to be a nosy neighbour and/or an exhibitionist. And it turns out that northerners are far nosier than their southern counterparts, with 100% of the Sheffield residents we polled admitting they’ve looked through an open window, followed closely by those living in Newcastle, Cardiff and Liverpool. Similarly, those in the north are happier to bare all in front of an open window - Sheffield tops the list again, with 71% of residents stating they change without shutting their curtains or blinds.

However, it’s the Bristolians who take the crown for being the most extroverted, with 45% admitting to not bothering to protect their privacy during intimate moments. Those in Edinburgh are more cautious however, with 86% stating they would close their curtains or blinds every time – we can only assume that’s to keep the cold at bay!

Security issues

If you’re part of the population who’s happy to strip off in front of an exposed window, you might want to reconsider, as there’s a security risk posed from leaving curtains and blinds open. Brian Davenport, owner of The Solar Centre warns: “Burglars will often scope out a property they’re thinking about targeting beforehand. Open blinds or curtains not only allow thieves to look for valuable goods inside your home, but it also allows them to study the layout of the property so they can figure out the best entry point and their way around, should they gain access”.

If you’re adamant about leaving curtains and blinds open, a Velux window might be the answer –they allow light in but limit what nosy parkers can see!  

So, while we need to be mindful of security, for the majority of us, a quick look through an open window is nothing more than harmless inquisitiveness. It’s part of human nature after all – a trait left over from our caveman days when we would check our surroundings were safe and secure - and perhaps even take a sneak peek at a neighbouring cave.