It’s been a while since I’ve done a long-form blog post, and I think you’ll enjoy this one because I think it’s something we’re all guilty of doing at one point in our lives, or for some people, consistently. With that said, in this post, I’ll be talking about oversharing, how to tell if you’re oversharing (A.K.A. Too Much Information) and ways you can stop.
The New York Times describes oversharing as “ exclusively talking about personal matters and rejecting to volley the conversation back and forth. Some of us when being disclosed frivolous information might interrupt someone mid-speech to say “TMI ! (Too much information). There’s a cost to revealing information to a party that doesn’t need to hear it. In regards to this, it can be detrimental if revealed to the wrong person. For one, you can alienate people who feel uncomfortable with the amount of information you share, and rightly so. Hey, they’re probably dealing with dilemmas and there’s no reason to add yours to theirs in hopes of them helping you resolve it. In addition, you might think it’s innocuous to disclose information you need to resolve to whoever might listen, but if that person doesn’t have your best interest at heart, then you’ll be at risk of them taking advantage of you. From coworkers, to using Facebook like a diary, to the person seated next to you on a train/plane, it’s human nature to communicate any personal matters to someone willing to listen and give appropriate feedback but as mentioned, sometimes the risks can outweigh the benefits. Divulging into details without properly vetting the person is sort of reckless. So, it’s better to say as little as possible. On another note, do you know what oversharing can do to already established relationships? You’ve guessed it, the end of that relationship. This depends on the content of what’s shared but once oversharing begins it becomes a stream of things better left unsaid. Having said that, below are signs of oversharing and the reasons behind oversharing, and ways to stop oversharing.
Signs of oversharing :
- Your relationships are unbalanced: You don’t want everyone to know way more about you than you know about them.
- You’re afraid of silence: Are you the one who has to initiate the break of silence? Those around you might prefer silence. Engaging in a one-sided interaction can lead to the person you’re interacting with being uncomfortable. As mentioned earlier, say as minimal as possible or nothing at all if you have the discipline.
- You’re loved ones turn into a therapist
- No one interacts with you on social media: Just to get attention one can use it as a place to disclose everything that’s on their mind and yeah… someone will either like it or call you out on it.
- You’re at work: Keep work interactions with coworkers and your personal life information separate as much as possible, cause it can backfire.
The reasons for oversharing
- A false sense of intimacy
- Solace in a stranger
- A misguided attempt to fast track a relationship
- Poor boundaries
- A hasty effort to make someone else feel comfortable
How to stop oversharing
The number one way to stop oversharing is identifying the reason you’re compelled to share in the first place. By coming to that realization, and understanding why will help you curtail your eagerness to overshare. If you think you overshare because of attention then find out what triggers your desire for constant attention. On the other hand, once you get a hold of your oversharing, start placing your thoughts into private outlets (a notepad app on your phone, a google/word doc). Use a notebook cautiously because if you lose it and someone picks it up, all that oversharing is in written form for them to be entertained by. Anyway, to close out this post below are ways to overcome your oversharing.
- Give yourself a time restriction. If you’re talking for minutes at a time, you’re probably turning a conversation into a monologue.
- Find another outlet. Take up journaling instead of posting, or start leaving yourself voice memos to verbally process something.
- Practice active listening – Make sure you’re asking the other person questions, rather than constantly dominating the sharing.
- Avoid social media when you’re feeling emotional. This is a rule to live by in any context.