The line between public and private information is blurring more than ever, regardless of whether you blame reality TV or social media or a global pandemic that steadily erodes our emotional states. There’s a good chance that you have been guilty of “exclusively discussing personal matters and neglecting the opportunity to volley back and forth the conversation.”
So: Do you use Facebook like a personal diary? Are your coworkers aware of every detail about your past relationship? Do you find that every conversation becomes a personal monologue or a formal exchange? While it’s wonderful to be genuine and personable, you may be going too far in how much information you give away to those around you.
Is there anything wrong with sharing too much?
As Amy Morin, a psychotherapist writes in Forbes, excessive sharing can lead to serious consequences.
If you reveal too much information to the wrong person, it could put your health in danger. People who are uncomfortable with the amount of information you give could be alienated. People who aren’t interested in your best interests may be able to profit from your troubles if you tell them about your problems.
Nicole Arzt, a licensed marriage and family therapist, says that oversharing is not good for healthy relationships. Oversharing can make people feel uncomfortable and may lead to resentment.
How can you tell the difference between sharing too much and not enough?
Why is there so much sharing?
You feel that you can tell your hairdresser everything. Why is it that the stranger sitting next to you on the flight now knows about your partner’s issues with commitment? Why is it that your coworker knows about the embarrassing incident you committed in seventh grade?
Morin, Psychology Today, identifies five reasons for oversharing.
- False intimacy
- Poor boundaries
- Find refuge in the company of a stranger
- An ill-advised attempt to speed up the relationship
- An inexplicable effort to make another person feel comfortable
Your hairdresser can create a feeling of intimacy in your space that may not be real. So you can use them to vent your frustrations. Maybe your coworker started sharing embarrassing stories, so you are digging into your past to make it less awkward. It can be easier to avoid oversharing in the future by identifying the causes.
- Signs you’re oversharing
The lines between sharing and oversharing are dependent on many factors such as your relationship with someone or where you live physically. These are indicators that your friends may think you are going too far.
- Your relationships are not balanced
Real Simple’s Andrea Bonior, a psychologist, said that if you feel like everyone knows more about you than about you, it is time to take stock.
- You are afraid of silence
Do you find yourself always interrupting the silence? Others around you may be comfortable with the silence, but uncomfortable with your choice to break it. Even if you don’t disclose any personal information, it’s possible to be too open if the context doesn’t call for it.
- You feel like a therapist to your loved ones
Good friends should be confidants. Ask yourself whether you are going to your friend as an equal or expecting them to treat your venting as a therapy session.
- You are the only one who interacts with you via social media
Although there are no clear rules for how to interpret social media messages, if your friends seem to ignore your status updates, it might be worth examining whether your accounts are being used as private journals.
- You are literally at work
You might be wondering if you are sharing too many personal details with your coworkers.
How to stop sharing too much
Avoiding oversharing is the number one way to stop it. Arzt says that it is important to recognize why you share. You can think about the reasons you share. You can also reflect on the situations that cause you anxiety if you believe you overshare.
Here are some additional strategies to reduce your sharing habits after you have identified the root cause.
- Set a time limit
Talking for more than a minute at a stretch can lead to a monologue.
- Look for another outlet
You can journal instead of posting or you can start writing voice memos to help verbally process what you have read.
- Practice active listening
You should be asking questions and not dominating the sharing.
- If you feel emotional, avoid social media
This rule should be followed in all contexts.
How to recover from oversharing
Perhaps you were in panic mode and clicked on the article. Everybody has experienced a moment of regret after uttering something. It is important to quickly address the issue and move on. You can change the topic, make the situation more positive, and not get too obsessed with the information that is already available.