Hey, over-sharer! Yes, I’m talking to you. You’re an over-sharer, and so am I. Over-sharing is a learned behavior that’s snow-balled over time, with the increased use of social media platforms and the ever-increasing need to impress.
Let’s talk about sharing privileged and personal information, what it means, and how to reel it in. Let’s first define what over-sharing is. To over-share is to reveal an inappropriate amount of detail about one’s personal life. Key word here is personal.
We all have someone in our lives – or it may be ourselves – that shares a little too much information. You’re walking down the street and you run into Sally. You ask her how she is doing and she unravels a lengthy, grueling story about her entire 2016 so far. And maybe you care to hear it because Sally is a dear friend, but you’re caught off guard with the verbal vomit that comes spewing out – and you were totally unprepared to be there for her emotionally or physically (timing is important). Maybe Sally’s just an acquaintance and you were not expecting for her to open up so freely.
Listen up, the story of our lives is privileged information to be shared with only those who are deserving. Sharing your story (whether exciting or scary news) with the wrong person can lead to private information getting into the wrong ears, or misinformation about you.. ring, ring… hello, remember the game of telephone?! Over-sharing is not only happening in our personal encounters with others, it’s also taking place on social media platforms every day – some use it as a means for managing others’ impressions of us. Do we really need to know every time you check into the gym?
We must discern who we deeply open up to and what information to share. Next time you hear yourself begin to chatter about all the details of your life to an acquaintance, reel it back in and consider who’s standing in front of you. This is your chance to exercise a little self-regulation.
Even more, if your sharing information about someone else, we must honor that person and show respect for their privacy. Exercising restraint with someone else’s personal information can save friendships and keep you from looking like Ms. Gossip Queen (or Mr. Gossip Queen – I know some men who like a good gossip more than any woman I’ve ever met!) Over-sharing someone else’s personal information, or straight-up gossiping, will cause a person to refrain from befriending you.
So, what does it mean when someone over-shares? Generally, we can ascertain that over-sharers need to be heard. They long for connection, for sympathy, a moment to vent and let go of all that they’ve been holding onto (emotional stress). Over-sharers have a very admirable quality… they’re trusting, although at times too trusting with the wrong people. Over-sharers are courageous in that they’re unafraid to be vulnerable and to truly be seen.
And while we all overshare a time or two (guilty!), it’s important to remember that we are not defined or limited by our stories and our experiences. These experiences are opportunities for growth!
Information about you is a gift, and to truly know you is a privilege. By all means, forge connection with others, but do so with reverence.