Oversharing has always seemed like a bit of a problematic term to me – particularly as someone who is quite an honest person, and tends to wear their heart on their sleeve. What does oversharing really mean anyway? It seems like one of those things that everyone will feel slightly different about – everyone sits somewhere slightly different on the oversharing scale. Oversharing is defined as: revealing an inappropriate amount of detail about one’s personal life. However, I think there’s a fine line between oversharing, and just being an authentic person to those around you…
For me personally, I believe that oversharing only exists when you’re around the wrong kind of people. Nothing is off limits to me when I really trust someone and feel comfortable around them – I find that being honest and open encourages the best kinds of conversations. I’ve never been one for small talk, and I love it when you instantly click with someone and can skip straight past the pleasantries and into the ‘oversharing’. Whether it’s an embarrassing incident you experienced, something to do with sex, or the classic toilet talk that always seems to bond all the best kind of people. We are all human, and we all have the desire to connect with others…
Throughout my time on this earth, I have overshared plenty and realised that there are definitely a few things to consider when it comes to oversharing etiquette…
Oversharing for the greater good – I’ve found that sometimes it’s worth letting someone know something slightly uncomfortable about yourself if it can make them feel better about themselves. If I can see that someone feels distressed about something, I might open up to them about something similar I’ve experienced and how I dealt with it at that time – it’s a great way to connect with people and make them feel less alone. It just tends to make people feel way less alien when they are going through something particularly tough – it’s also the reason I chose to write frankly about my own health issues and anxieties on this here blog. It might not always be the most enjoyable subject for me to write about, but it’s what I know, and I feel like the only thing I can ever write authentically about is what I know.
If me sharing the trials and tribulations of my womanhood on the internet might be deemed oversharing by some, then so be it, I’m of the opinion that ‘oversharing’ is appropriate when it’s for the greater good…
The workplace scenario – I think most of us would agree that this is where oversharing becomes most of a problem. Should I tell my boss I’m currently going through a bad depression? Should I tell them that I’m going through a divorce? Do I tell them I’ve had a family grievance? It’s impossible to compartmentalise those kind of issues when working life is a huge proportion of life in general. Nobody wants to be treated differently or judged – feeling vulnerable in the workplace is awful, everybody wants present this strong version of themselves that can handle anything. I’ve opened up to old bosses before and it’s backfired – they even tried to use certain scenarios and sick days against me at a later date, and these kind of horrible bosses are why a lot of us feel the burden of ‘oversharing’. Unfortunately, the world isn’t always a very nice place, and there will be people who use this information against you, and see it as a weakness on your behalf. However, never internalise this as something that’s your fault – some people are just so wrapped up in their own lives that they become ignorant and emotionally detached from those around them.
It’s also worth noting that a job that affects your mental health is not a job worth having. We all need to make money of course, but I’ve definitely put off job searching for way to long in the past – a new start can seem scary, but sometimes it’s the first step towards a happier and healthier version of yourself…
Dinner table politics – oversharing never seems to be more prominent than when you’re sat at the dinner table. You really have to gage the crowd and suss out what kind of topics will be suitable to discuss. For me, nothing is off limits because nothing could possibly put me off my food – I mean, I’m just not wired that way, nor am I easily grossed out. Food is food, and I’m pretty much Joey from Friends when it comes to my consumption habits (although, I do share). However, a dinner table situation is just one example that I can think of when oversharing might be at the forefront of our minds. Perhaps you’re someone who tends to overshare after a couple of drinks, or perhaps you’re someone who gets nervous and has a habit of brain dumping on the person sat next to you. It’s funny how situations that tend to be more organised and constructed, tend to make people feel like they have to be on their best behaviour – a filtered version of themselves. If it’s some kind of event, sometimes you might get lucky and get sat next to someone who really makes you feel at ease – someone you can have a laugh with, and the nervousness of oversharing slowly disappears.
I’ve always thought the sign of a great interaction with a new friend is when you walk away and don’t dissect every little thing you talked about – you feel full up on positive kind of energy, and oversharing doesn’t even enter your mind…
All this being said, it’s the 21st century, and the lines between what’s acceptable to share with others have been well and truly blurred. When is oversharing actually oversharing, and when is it just an honest conversation? Where do we draw the line between obvious vulnerability, and loosening the ties around taboo subjects that desperately need to be discussed more? When do we stop labelling oversharing as a cry for attention, and start viewing it as an act of bravery? I don’t believe that spilling all your deepest darkest secrets is necessary when it comes to utilising the internet and your experiences in a constructive way. However, I do believe that sharing experiences in a helpful way shouldn’t be labelled oversharing – the world should be a place that we can discuss all kinds of topics, and I’m glad we are slowly breaking away from old fashioned etiquette (life isn’t a Jane Austen novel). That being said, maintaining a sense of privacy is still massively important – being an honest and authentic person doesn’t mean you have to spill every thought out into the open. Do you, do what what feels right, share what you’re comfortable with, and screw anyone who makes you feel bad for it…
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Oversharing for the greater good is definitely acceptable. I always know when I’ve overshared. A voice in my head usually goes, “yep, you’ve gone too far” and I feel like strangling myself in the moment haha. You’re spot on about the not dissecting everything after making a new friend thing. I’ve never thought about it but that’s so true. Great post! xx
Coco Bella Blog
I think sometimes that people who actually get ‘offended’ by ‘oversharers’ is because themselves have their own vulnerabilities that they are not ready to deal with, so seeing someone having the courage to do so probably triggers negativity in their mind, but each to their own!
I think it is amazing that we have this free platform where we can share our experiences and help people who needs comfort – I will never take for granted readying someone’s story while going through a sleepless night googling things and feeling much more at ease after finding someone who has gone or is going through something similar to me.
Maybe I think very similarly to you when it comes to being a honest person and just going with it, but I am all for people talking, sharing and learning together. <3 xx
I totally agree with everything you’re saying! I think some people are naturally less open and sometimes they are never more aware of this than when someone is being open with them. I never take it for granted either! The internet gets a bad rep but i’d have been pretty lost without it – it’s been my connection to so many resources that have helped me in so many different ways. Sharing and learning together as you say is a wonderful thing xxx
I totally, totally agree with all of this! I think some people overshare in a negative way, in a way that they shouldn’t be oversharing – because it’s just inappropriate. But oversharing for the greater good is absolutely fine imo.
Hannah | coffee with hannah
Great read, and very wise words! feeling like I’m not alone in this oversharing business 🙂
Fantastically written blog post.
I know this is an older post but I stumbled across this randomly today and felt compelled to thank you for illustrating what many of us feel but cannot put into words.
Hope all is good with you!
Thank you so much! Really means a lot that you took the time to comment xxx