24

Update: There is a similar question, and I am thankful for pointing this out, as I found it interesting and useful to read answers to that question, yet my question is different: I am talking about people who make harm or cause trouble by real actions rather than merely annoy with unwanted pieces of advice. I think there is a principal difference between merely advising and actually interfering.


I cannot find a precise English word for a specific kind of person or personality trait and am humbly asking for your help. Let me describe a few situations to explain what personality trait or kind of person I mean.

  • Situation 1: A girl climbs on a high diving tower in order to enjoy a view of the lake. There a guy starts trying to persuade her to jump into the water. The girl is highly reluctant, but the guy is persistent and explains that jumping into the water will bring unforgettable emotions. Being unable to persuade her, the guy physically pushes her from the tower, deliberately making her fall into the water. The girl falls from the great height, screaming as if she were watching a horror movie. She surfaces from the water and feels extremely angry, as she strongly disliked the experience, was not psychologically prepared at all, and did not want to get her hair wet. The guy laughs, "You had to try it. Told ya, it's easier than you thought."

  • Situation 2: A student is preparing a small party for her colleagues in a research institute on the occasion of her graduation and brings a few bottles of expensive champagne to the institute for the party. Having little time left before the party, she puts the bottles to the freezer of a fridge at the institute in order to cool them on time. A few minutes before the party she returns to the fridge to take the bottles and does not find them in the freezer - they are in the main compartment of the fridge and have not been cooled at all. The girl is totally frustrated. The cleaning guy, who is unaware of the party, comes in and says, "Champagne does not belong in the freezer. How could you not know this? How could you not realize that it would get frozen within a few hours? I put it where it belongs."

  • Situation 3: A PhD student feels she was somewhat mistreated by her professor, and tells a friend about it. The guy says he will go to the professor and explain him how wrong he is. The girl asks the guy not to do it, because she is afraid that things might go very wrong. Yet the guy nevertheless approaches the professor some days later. A verbal argument starts between them and quickly escalates. The result is that the professor feels deeply offended and finds a formal pretext to stop supervising the girl. She is in deep trouble and has to look for another supervisor and start her PhD project over. She would happily accept occasional slight mistreatment instead, but it is too late.

I humbly hope you now understand what kind of people I mean. The guy causes harm or trouble or inconvenience, believing he knows better. He is closed-minded, has little empathy, and disregards the opinions of others. He is ignorant of the details and circumstances of the situation, but is quick to intervene. He has a big ego and feels entitled to decide for others what is best for them. He is not evil and has no bad intent, and he is not stupid either and may even excel in his studies or at his work, but he pays little attention to concerns or intents of others and is not used to giving thought to how his actions will actually impact others. He has a rigid way of thinking, is quick to make decisions, and is persistent and stubborn in executing them, sometimes to the extent of ignoring explicit protests or warnings by others.

My question is this: what words or brief expressions are there in the English language for such people? The more precise the better. I want to learn not only high register words, but also colloquial and even rude words. I especially want to learn very clear words that will cause deep understanding on an emotional level.


As an aside, the first word that comes to mind in my native Japanese is クソ野郎 . Translations of that usually come out in English as rude epithets (eg Google translate gives 'f***ing bastard') none of which capture the intention I'm describing, so I'm not looking for a translation.

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – tchrist Jun 2 at 22:08
  • 2
    I don't think there's going to be one word that applies to all three examples equally well. Sure, they are all related to your title description (good intentions for some one else that turn out bad), but the nuances of each situation may result in a different 'best' word. – Mitch Jun 3 at 14:26
  • 1
    クソ野郎 is obviously not specific enough, ha! While reading a novel, I learned a word 助長 which has "unwanted help (that is often harmful)" as a meaning. In the 2 and 3 situations, it seems the person did 助長. #1 is just physical assault. – Kaz Jun 3 at 16:33
  • @psmears : My sincere thanks for improving wording and grammar in my post. It was useful for me to learn from your corrections, and it is great that my post got improved. – Mitsuko Jun 4 at 0:13
  • @Mitch : Thanks a lot for your comment and adding an update to my post. I think that the behavior in all three cases has the same root cause, i.e., is caused by the same personality trait, and I would especially like to find a word or expression that encompasses the root cause of the behavior in all three cases. But I agree that depending on the severity of the trait, different words or expressions may be best. – Mitsuko Jun 4 at 0:14

19 Answers 19

28

I think the closest word to what you're looking for is meddlesome. Here is the definition for meddlesome according to Cambridge dictionary:

Often getting involved in situations where you are not wanted, especially by criticizing in a damaging or annoying way.

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/tr/s%C3%B6zl%C3%BCk/ingilizce/meddlesome

Another definition by Collins dictionary:

If you describe a person as meddlesome, you are criticizing them because they try to influence or change things that do not concern them.

https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/meddlesome

And here you can find some synonyms:

https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/meddlesome

  • 2
    Thanks a lot, I did not know this word. It perfectly describes a half of the personality trait I am talking about. The other half is that the guy is not careful not to harm to others. That is, he not only intervenes where he is not wanted, but is also not careful to avoid making any harm or trouble to others. Maybe I should simply use "meddlesome" and "inconsiderate" together, i.e., "He is highly inconsiderate and meddlesome." – Mitsuko May 31 at 16:49
  • 6
    Slightly less common, but the actual "word for the person" would be "meddler" – Tim Grant May 31 at 20:01
  • 6
    @Mitsuko In your first and third cases, I would say maybe "recklessly meddlesome", to emphasize that potentially serious consequences were ignored. Situation 3 might also be "White Knighting". The janitor was perhaps a "meddlesome know-it-all". (If 1 and 3 are real people in your life, I hope your request is in service of composing a good-bye letter.) Each case, I think, displays arrogance. Perhaps a "cocksure meddler" ("presumptuously or arrogantly confident"). – msouth May 31 at 20:18
  • 1
    I like this, although I would strengthen it with "****ing meddlesome" or even stronger, a "****ing meddlesome bastard". +1 to you. – Jennifer Jun 2 at 10:02
  • 2
    #2 and #3 are meddlers. #1 is a future sexual offender. (Male commits assault and battery on a female who has said “No”. Am I really the first person to think this? No; gnasher729 also identified #1 as criminal assault.) – Scott Jun 2 at 18:31
12

It's a lot to capture in just one word.

Looking at the many parts of the question in order to find the best words or brief expression one can see a person who:

  1. Causes harm or trouble or inconvenience
  2. Believes he/she knows better than everyone else
  3. Is closed-minded
  4. Lacks empathy
  5. Disregards the opinions of others (this would tie in with number 2 and number 3)
  6. Ignorant of the details and circumstances of the situation, but is quick to intervene.
  7. Big ego and feels entitled to decide for others what is best for them
  8. Not evil and has no bad intent
  9. Not stupid either and may even excel in his studies or at his work
  10. He has a rigid way of thinking
  11. Is quick to make decisions
  12. Persistent and stubborn in executing decisions
  13. Ignores warnings and protests of others

Some options:

imperious

assuming power or authority without justification; arrogant and domineering.
English Oxford Living Dictionaries

This term ties into the rigid, persistent, know-it-all, big ego parts of the list and contains the idea of commanding others. It does not imply intelligence or stupidity. It may imply evil in some readers mind. This word might be used as a basis for a description that tunes the meaning to your goal.

overbearing

unpleasantly or arrogantly domineering. English Oxford Living Dictionaries

Similar to "imperious" but with a more negative tone. Though this person is unpleasant there is no evil or level of intelligence indicated. Combined with other carefully selected word you could arrive at a description that meets all your requirements.

domineering

assert one's will over another in an arrogant way
English Oxford Living Dictionaries

This term contains a stronger sense of forcing one's will on others in a negative way. To say that someone is "imperious, overbearing and domineering" would be a way to add extra emphasis to the ways in which the words are similar and yet carry the nuances of each word to add clarity.

ride roughshod over

carry out one's own plans or wishes with arrogant disregard for (others or their wishes).
English Oxford Living Dictionaries

This phrase offers a picture of a horse that has been shod with nails projecting from its shoes being ridden over a person or persons completely disregarding the well being of others. This may capture most of the requirements along with expressing some of the emotional pain a person with the character traits you describe might inflict.

  • Thanks a lot, I did not know most of these words, they are indeed very relevant. – Mitsuko Jun 1 at 15:21
  • Overbearing is literally Ger. über-heblich (over burdening, too, perhaps) and in the sense of hubris often equal to arrogant (lit. asking a lot, or questionable, if not inquisitive), Ger. anmaßend (assuming), the opposite of esteemed, Ger. geschätzt, in turn related to überschätzt and unterschätzt (over or under valued; a word in the the active sense, over valuing, might suit the Q) and not quite the same as abschätzig (disregardfull). I totally do expect you look these up! I also expect your resentiment. – vectory Jun 2 at 1:21
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    @vectory This question specifically requests "words or brief expressions" that meet a very long set of criteria. If the question is valid then more than one option would have to be presented in the answer. – David D Jun 3 at 15:30
  • @Mitsuko Listing the words you already know or have considered in your answer will allow people to spend time on the words you have not listed. – David D Jun 3 at 15:38
  • David, do you mean I could post it as an answer to my own question? – Mitsuko Jun 4 at 0:34
11

Those people are busybodies!

Busybody

a person who pries into or meddles in the affairs of others.

As pointed out in the comments, a stereotypical busybody is someone who habitually interferes in the social affairs of others. It definitely applies to #3 and I think it's pretty close for #2 as well.

A classic response from someone who is being harassed by a busybody is

Mind your own business!

which means, almost exactly, "Do not be a busybody".

  • 1
    That describes the third person well - a person who habitually interferes in the social affairs of others, often without welcome or in a fashion that creates more trouble - but not necessarily the first or second. – Steve Jun 1 at 10:36
8

Another option is interfering. From dictionary.com:

to take part in the affairs of others; meddle (often followed by with or in)

I think it's telling that all 3 examples use the form of a man interfering against the wishes of a woman. I feel like there's a word or phrase out there that might specifically denote this type of misogyny, but I can't think of it.

Another option would be to call this fellow a Gaston, from Beauty and the Bast:

Beauty and the Bast parodies the idea of excessive masculinity...Obsessed with his own virility, Gaston shares several opinions associated with “the hyper-masculine male”.

YMMV.

  • Thanks a lot, "interfering" is a nice word indeed and well describes a half of the personality trait I am talking about. The other half is that when the guy interferes, he acts like an elephant in a china store - in a very inconsiderate closed-minded manner. There is a big difference between guys interfering in a helpful way and guys interfering very thoughtlessly. The real subconscious motivation of the latter kind of people is to establish themselves as the leader or to demonstrate some influence or importance. – Mitsuko May 31 at 17:25
  • Often paired with 'busybody' - "An officious, interfering, meddling, or prying person; one who involves himself or herself in other people's affairs without invitation". (OED) – Dan Jun 1 at 10:38
7

I would use patronizing to describe someone who has the attitude that,

I know what's best for you, even if I don't know you well or just met you (situations 1 & 2), even if I don't know the context or details or background (situations 1 & 2), and even if you have explicitly voiced your disagreement with my opinion or valid objections to my plan of action (situations 1 & 3).

Patronizing can also describe a specific action that a person took at a specific time, rather than the overall demeanor of the person.

It does have somewhat broader meaning than the situations you described.

patronizing (British patronising)

adjective

Apparently kind or helpful but betraying a feeling of superiority; condescending.

When applied to someone who enjoys respect or status due to education, training, or experience, it can mean that the person took the liberty of making a decision or acted with disregard to your circumstance or wishes.

The patronizing doctor assumed that I would want pharmaceutical pain relievers without presenting any alternative options.

When applied to random strangers who don't presume any special expertise, it can also mean, simply, insincere or judgemental.

The shopkeeper greeted me in a patronizing manner.

  • 3
    Not really. Patronising has a sense a bit like condescending I-know-better, but the OP is looking for something closer to entitled thoughtlessness. The coercive or thoughtless aspect is missing - especially the latter. – Stilez Jun 1 at 22:03
  • 1
    If that's what millions of teenagers feel about their parents, it must be correct. – vectory Jun 2 at 0:44
  • @Stilez There is implicitly a dismissive aspect when the person who is patronizing claims to have special expertise, and has engaged in a discussion with the victim who has voiced objections. "I am a medical doctor. I went to medical school before you were even born and I speak Latin in my sleep. Yeah I heard, although I didn't internalize, your concern about opioids making you vomit, but I am overruling your objections because I know what is best for you better than you know yourself. Trust me, I'm a doctor." But like I wrote above, the term can take broader meaning in different context. – wemily Jun 2 at 7:41
  • @Stilez: “entitled thoughtlessness” is a great phrase! – Scott Jun 3 at 17:04
6

You might be looking for something close to "hubristic".

Hubristic means having such an inflated belief in one's own superiority or rightness that it is a defining characteristic. It also frequently carries the connotation that this attitude will lead to problems for the person who holds it. It comes from hubris, which according to Wiktionary means "excessive pride, presumption, or arrogance (originally towards the gods)."

The meaning that it doesn't exactly carry is the "good intentions" aspect.

It is not found widely in everyday English, but is common in intellectual circles, and is generally considered to be an insult, or at least a critical evaluation.

Hubristic - Insolent, contemptuous (Oxford Dictionaries (not the OED)).

  • 1
    Did you find whatever it was that's close to hubristic? Is hubristic even a word? Please edit your answer to provide much more detail, such as a dictionary definition (linked to the source) and an explanation of why this word suits the context. For further guidance, see How to Answer and take the Tour. :-) – Chappo Jun 1 at 1:03
  • Sorry, answered on a whim because I didn't see another answer that seemed to fit, first time answering here. I have updated my answer. – partial_mask Jun 1 at 4:40
  • -ic describes behaviour not people, yes? A painting is impressionist-ic, but the painter is an impressionist. I can study Anglistic, and I say there are no hubricists nor hubrists. Maybe it's hubris speaking, but I find thathubristic sounds terribad. – vectory Jun 2 at 1:31
  • 1
    "She is fantastic." "You are simplistic." English speakers use -ic to describe people every day. – partial_mask Jun 2 at 3:38
  • @partial_mask you are objectifying if you say that – vectory Jun 2 at 12:28
6

I think he is both intrusive

tending or apt to intrude; coming without invitation or welcome

[Source: Dictionary.com]

and obtrusive

having or showing a disposition to obtrude, as by imposing oneself or one's opinions on others

[Source: Dictionary.com]

.

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

5

"Presumptuous"

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/presumptuous

overstepping due bounds (as of propriety or courtesy) : taking liberties

"Presumptuous" is used to refer to just the sort of pushy character described.

"Pushy" or "imposing" are other forms that fit, though "imposing" isn't as consistently negative. "Imposing figures" aren't necessarily a bad thing. "Forceful" is another for referencing the insisting.

  • yeah, pushy came to my mind, after noticing that my suggestion clutz rather implies dragging down. Imposing fits in a figurative sense as looming over, to hover, and literally for doing something unasked, uninvited. – vectory Jun 2 at 11:48
  • 1
    'Pushy' applies literally to the first example. And works for the phd student example. But not really the second example (though it's in the same ballpark). – Mitch Jun 3 at 14:20
3

I would suggest officious. Definition in Merriam–Webster:

volunteering one's services where they are neither asked nor needed : MEDDLESOME

[Example usage:] officious people who are always ready to offer unasked advice

Comparison with the approximate synonym meddlesome: To my ear, meddlesome has connotations of interfering in all sorts of ways and for all sorts of reasons. Officious carries the more specific connotation of interfering because the interferer thinks it’s right or helpful to do so. If you’re familiar with role-playing terminology: meddlesome suggests chaotic neutral or chaotic evil, while officious suggests lawful evil.

  • 2
    +1 though I'd lean more toward lawful evil.. They know better 'according to the rules' or some axiom (regardless of mitigating circumstances) – mcalex Jun 1 at 9:32
  • @mcalex: thanks — I’d actually meant to write “lawful evil” in the first place, but somehow made a thinko when typing! – PLL Jun 1 at 10:18
3

Insofar as officious, patronising, meddlesome, interfering, hubristic busybodies are 'riding roughshod' over an individual's wishes they might also be called insolent and impudent.

Insolent - Contemptuous of rightful authority; presumptuously or offensively contemptuous; impertinently insulting. Said of those who treat superiors or equals with offensive familiarity or disrespect (OED).

Impudent - Possessed of unblushing presumption, effrontery, or assurance; shamelessly forward, insolently disrespectful (OED).

  • @vectory - I think the OP wants 'strong' words. Incidentally, your associations (pudenda, insulting...) are not the contemporary sense of either word. Impudent has a latin root - pudēns - ashamed, modest. – Dan Jun 2 at 9:09
1

Paternalistic captures the pattern that the actor in all three situations was male. From the Latin pater, it describes behavior by drawing an analogy to the way a father treats his child.

In general use, the actor does not need to be male, or even an individual. The target of the behavior can be any gender, or a group of people.

paternalism

noun

the system, principle, or practice of managing or governing individuals, businesses, nations, etc., in the manner of a father dealing benevolently and often intrusively with his children

Modern use seems to focus on governments or institutions that provide welfare benefits.

Two paternalistic principles are foundational to Obamacare. First, the requirement to obtain health care insurance removes the individual's freedom of choice. Second, the provision of free health care insurance to low-income individuals is intended to act as a social safety net.

Wikipedia defines paternalism as being restrictive (e.g., "You're grounded because you missed your curfew" rather than, "I insist that you jump off this diving platform because in my misguided opinion you are not living life"), but also recognizes a second meaning that is close to patronizing.

Paternalism is action that limits a person's or group's liberty or autonomy and is intended to promote their own good. Paternalism can also imply that the behavior is against or regardless of the will of a person, or also that the behavior expresses an attitude of superiority.

  • 3
    Not really. Paternalistic really has a sense of a fatherly manner - the OP is looking for something closer to entitled thoughtlessness. – Stilez Jun 1 at 22:01
  • There is an element of misguided fatherly behavior in all three examples. The distinction between parenting and paternalism is that we expect parents to take care of their young children, but paternalism is unexpected or inappropriate. If someone who is not your father behaves towards you as if he were your father in an unwelcome way, then that's creepy. – wemily Jun 2 at 7:54
  • @Stilez I'm not familiar with entitled thoughtlessness? This is what the two-word combination brings to mind: There is only one ice cream left in the fridge, but there are two of us. I like and want ice cream, so I take it for myself without the thought even crossing my mind whether you might like or want ice cream. – wemily Jun 2 at 8:01
  • That's much the same as the OP scenarios, except that in his case the person does something to a person because he feels entitled and without thinking about if they want it, in yours he takes something because he feels entitled and without thinking about if they want it. But its very similar, so yes, the same description would be expected to apply – Stilez Jun 2 at 8:07
1

Going by the comment that you would say クソ野郎 kuso-yaro ("fuckin' bastard", literally stinky, rotten + rural, crude, rough, incivil + young man) in your native Japanese tongue, there's really not much to go by, but perhaps that's due to the inconsiderate, first comment to this thread suggesting asshole.

There's a whole lot of terminology involving the anus and things getting stuck up there, with anal retentive, anal for short, mimicking a formal, psychological register, that it can never have because most people are anal about taboos.

Leaning on ya- () the basic meaning of your expression seems to be rude behaviour, which is way too general to need asking. Ignoring that, an apt-translation would be little shit, somebody who is so naive as to be inconsiderate, not knowing the consequences of their actions, and deserving of disciplinary measures.

English offers a broad range of insults, though. The highest register might use, as was already suggested, insolent, for unruly, assuming and unwelcome arrogance.

If there's a common element to the three stories, then it is progressive involvement, that escaltes from provocation in the first example, to revoking in the second and finally invoking action in the third. A common term would be sabotage (manipulation), though not without ironic exegeration, as sabotage implies intent to damage; from French, saboter, sabot, "wooden shoe, clog; hoof", from Turkish zabata, Persian, Arabic shabat. The etymology is obscure. A common English expression would be to throw a wrench [in the wheels].

Another element is not having been asked, not having agreed. In that sense insolent might fit, though unsolicited would be clearer, or more gerally and to the point: unwelcome. As far as unwelcome opinion is a concern, know-it-all wise-crack comes to mind.

Returning to sabot, ignoring the throw a wrench sense, focusing on walking with loud, ennerving noises, German Trampel, Trampeltier comes to mind, literally a bull in a china shop, trampling, stomping on toes, a clod or clutz, an unworked block of wood (cp. Ger. "Klotz", "Klotz am Bein", a burdon).

However, in positive terms,

No. 1 is savage,

No. 2 is precautious,

No. 3 is heroic.

1

callous - 1. Emotionally hardened; unfeeling and indifferent to the suffering/feelings of others.

  • In my own words: insensitive, reckless, but not really ruthless.

sounds a lot like careless, but is synonymous with 2. having callusses. It's the negative variant of thick-skinned "not easy to hurt". It is from Latin callum "hardened skin", Proto-Indo-European *kal "hard", akin to Old Church Slavonic калити (kaliti, “to harden, cool”) ... so it is kind of cool or rather cold-hearted "lacking empathy", which would not fit Example 3, but only almost. The raging bull in the china shop is an elephant in German, where thick-skin (Dickhäuter) is a technical term for these animals indeed.

PS: Holy calamity, Spanish caliente rather means hot, implying that the sense of hard skin actually came from burned skin, leather skin in Latin, which would make just as much sense and fit the Japanese ya "rural, rough, coarse* angle either way.

1

I would suggest there are two aspects. Many answers don't capture the second one, as you have commented in one place.

  • The person acts as if they should make a decision. Many people have given good words for this: overbearing, entitled, insistent, pushy, imperious, overbearing, ride roughshod over. The sources for these are in their answers. (But some answers reflect rudeness, not insistence, not quite what you need.)

  • The person is also thoughtless – this captures the half of the situation you are missing. From Merriam Webster:

    1. lacking concern for others : inconsiderate
      • rude and thoughtless behavior
      • a thoughtless remark
    2. a : insufficiently alert : careless
      b : reckless, rash
      • thoughtless actions

This perfectly describes the second part, because it directly focuses on their lack of care, lack of thought, and lack of concern for the other person's view.

Overall I don't think one word captures it, but two words might. Try combinations such as:

  • entitled thoughtlessness (or thoughtlessly entitled);
  • overbearing thoughtlessness (or thoughtlessly overbearing);
  • thoughtlessly riding roughshod over;
    or even
  • thoughtless and impulsive
  • Thanks a lot, and yes, it seems I have to use at least two words. Concernig the word "thoughtless," the guy is thoughtless only towards others and well may excel at his work and be very thoughtful when it comes to his own interests. Is there a good word meaning "thoughtless towards others"? – Mitsuko Jun 1 at 22:22
  • 1
    @Mitsuko ... inconsiderate means "thoughtless towards others". My suggestion is that you collect all these comments and condense them into the question. Right now...it seems you have hit some nerve provoking brain-jerk activity which is not really helpful... – Cascabel Jun 1 at 22:26
  • 1
    When you describe someone as a thoughtless person, there is a strong implication that it's thoughtless towards others. – Stilez Jun 2 at 6:02
  • I think "riding roughshod over" gets pretty close to the OP's intended meaning, and doesn't really require "thoughtlessly". After all, can someone ride roughshod over someone else in a thoughtful and considerate manner? – Zack Jun 3 at 13:59
  • I’m glad you posted this as an answer, so I can vote for it.  (But I suppose I agree that “inconsiderate” and “insensitive” should be mixed in there.) – Scott Jun 3 at 17:55
1

Well-meaning does the same work as meddlesome (@dennis), but has a more positive connotation. Usually, you can convey the negative outcome without making the well-meaning party out to be a villain.

While I was in class, a well-meaning roommate did my laundry for me. Unfortunately, she neglected to separate lights from darks. Now all my whites are gray.

0

I'd call such a person a do-gooder.

This is a slightly derogatory term for someone who thinks they're acting to help others, but hasn't fully considered their real needs or whether intervention is justified.

Wiktionary defines it as:

(derogatory)  One who advocates a certain course of action, often of political or social concern, with the naïve conviction of their own moral superiority.

Chambers defines it as:

(colloq)  an enthusiastically helpful person, especially one whose help is unrealistic, impractical and not appreciated.

Collins defines it in British English as:

(informal, usually derogatory)  a well-intentioned person, esp a naive or impractical one

And in American English as:

(Informal)  a person who seeks to correct social ills in an idealistic, but usually impractical or superficial, way

  • There's no way you can define the person in Situation 1 as a do-gooder. :-) – T.J. Crowder Jun 3 at 12:33
0

In the novel "The Mote In God's Eye" (Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle) the term used for this is "Crazy Eddie". Crazy Eddie is the guy who does the right things at the worst possible time for all the wrong reasons. For example, if the transportation system of a city is running at full capacity, and the garbage trucks can just barely keep up with the waste disposal requirements by working 24 hours a day, Crazy Eddie is the guy who leads the garbage-men out on a strike for better working conditions. Any time someone does the right thing and makes things worse, they've become Crazy Eddie.

0

One word not mentioned yet is quidnunc which has Latin roots as "gossipmonger" - it literally means "what now?" as if you overheard something - but the common definition is "someone who meddles in someone else's affairs without consent."

Some other similar but imperfect phrases that haven't been mentioned yet:

  • devil-may-care
  • rash
  • overzealous
  • nosy-parker (same as busybody)
  • interloper
  • kibitzer
  • de son tort - the legal equivalent of your meddlers e.g. someone who interferes in the execution of a will or sues someone on behalf of someone else
  • put a finger in the pie - to make something that is not your concern, your concern
  • marplot - usually more a person who spoils a plan through interference
-4

No personality flaw. Acting on one's own beliefs is not the same as thinking you know better than someone else. Choosing not be be terribly concerned with another person's opinions, motivations, or feelings and just sticking to one's own principles is not a personality flaw. Nor is pushing someone off a diving board, that is, as you state, an assault. The situations you describe tend to happen when a pair of individualists meet up. Your lack of understanding of this behavior suggests you have been sheltered from it. Don't expect that sheltering to continue for much longer. I score the last two examples as admirable actions, regardless of how you feel about them. I hope those described aren't put off by your ingratitude and lack of understanding. The fridge fellow could have been more polite to you, though. Your description makes him sound a bit gruff.

Rugged individualism

Rugged individualism, derived from "individualism", is a term that indicates the ideal whereby an individual is totally self-reliant and independent from outside, usually state or government, assistance. Often associated with the notion of laissez-faire and its supporters, the term was actually coined by the interventionist American President Herbert Hoover, a Progressive Republican who presided over the beginning of the Great Depression.[1][2]

Rugged individualism:wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rugged_individualism

: the practice or advocacy of individualism in social and economic relations emphasizing personal liberty and independence, self-reliance, resourcefulness, self-direction of the individual, and free competition in enterprise

Rugged individualism: Merriam Webster online - https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rugged%20individualism

Interestingly, one of the other answers is paternalism. These two are sharply in contrast, as shown in the following example. "We were challenged with a peace-time choice between the American system of rugged individualism and a European philosophy of…paternalism and state socialism." - Herbert Hoover.

This suggests that your question isn't describing the problem you face in a consistent way. I can understand the paternalism answer if men tend to instinctively switch gears around you and start acting like older brothers. You may not be able to change that initial reaction, but you can change paternal behavior towards you in the future.

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    A "rugged individual" would be willing to respect the individualism of another person. The person in question instead believes that someone else needs their interference, despite not wanting it. – jpmc26 Jun 2 at 0:43
  • I agree @jpmc26. Individualism values autonomy and not treading upon the autonomy of others. – wemily Jun 2 at 8:16

protected by tchrist Jun 2 at 22:09

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