If I’ve just met you and within the first five minutes of our conversation you’ve told me your whole life story; pretty much.
I know where you were born, whether you are married or single, that you have children, what you love doing, and the current state of your day.
Sounds like you, right?
This is my concept of ‘over-sharing.’ It may also involve providing lots of details about your personal life that people don’t necessarily want to hear or know. For example, that you and your husband argued this morning about money, the details of your non-existent sex life, or maybe the details of your relationships; full stop.
There is a fine line between sharing, to want to connect with someone and sharing too much. What falls into this ‘over-sharing’ space?
What is Over-Sharing?
As I’ve described above, over-sharing is the concept of providing too much information; personal information mostly, with the person you are talking to. It’s providing lots of your life information that the other person doesn’t necessarily want or need to hear.
How does it help you connect with the other person? Think about that for a second. If I told them what just happened to me and how bad my day has been, what does it add to the connection I have with them?
I’m going to suggest none. It is more likely to turn the other person off from having future engagements or conversations with me.
Why Do You Share So Much?
This question is a great one. Why DO we over-share? Have you stopped to think about why you do it? What’s driving you to divulge so much personal information with someone? It’s usually easier to do with a stranger, because they don’t know you, or with someone you know; be that a work-colleague or a friend.
What is it that has you share so much?
I would suggest it’s the exact opposite to the effect it has on the other person and that is a connection. What you are wanting by sharing with the other person is a connection. You think that if you share all of who you are like this, they will like you and want to be your friend.
Does that feel right?
I’m guessing if you stop and consider it, it will feel right. You are wanting connection. You’re trying to create that connection artificially, by divulging information about you that you think the other person will want to know.
It’s like raising a flag and saying, “I’m safe to talk to, I’m just like you” or “I’m here, will you be my friend.”
Pretty sad when you come to think of it. Especially in realizing that this ‘over-sharing’ is having the exact opposite effect a lot of the time.
Now if you meet another ‘over-sharer’, then that’s a totally different story. When you two meet what you will do is share and share and share in search of the deeper connection each of you is looking for. The sharing will most likely become a competition with extra drama and exaggeration added for effect.
When Did You Start Over-Sharing?
I’m guessing this ‘habit’ or ‘pattern’ started when you were young. And probably because you believed deep down inside you weren’t lovable.
You were trying to gain love, approval, and appreciation from others. And this way of ‘over-sharing’ was the only way you knew how to do that. Maybe it was something you’d seen your mother or father do. It could also be a family pattern, so your aunts or grandmother did it too.
Wherever it came from, it serves a purpose for you; to gain love. That’s what we are all seeking. Unfortunately, it isn’t there that we will find what we are looking for. It’s our internal love that’s more important.
This is why I’m saying that over-sharing doesn’t work.
How Can You Change the Pattern of Over-Sharing?
Start by noticing when you go into the over-sharing mode. Notice that you are sharing way more information than the person has asked for. They might have asked you one simple question, like how’s your day been?
What story are you weaving and telling? What would the simple answer to their question look like? Then practice giving a short and honest answer like “My day was topsy-turvy. I had moments of feeling sad and others were okay. How as your day?”
Notice if you feel like a child wanting or seeking attention when you respond this way. This may not be as easy when you are spilling your life story. After the conversation though, take time to notice if it felt like a younger version of you standing there having the conversation. My guess is it will be.
Go inside and let her know that you see her and hear her. And I am using ‘her’ in the generic sense. By acknowledging that inner child we are beginning the journey of learning self-love. Something that no one taught us up until now.
And don’t beat yourself up for being an ‘over-sharer’. It’s happening for a reason. You’re doing it because you don’t know any different. Be okay with that and gently find a different way, it’s a pattern that you want to change.
Did you learn a new way to stop over-sharing? If so, please share your thoughts in the comments section below!