You might remember a time back before Facebook and Twitter took over the world when people’s insignificant thoughts and feelings were stuck in their heads. Unfortunately, that was a really, really long time ago.
These days you can’t look at your timeline or news feed without reading about what someone had for dinner, how hard someone worked out, how upset someone is, how hard the wind’s blowing, or a hundred million other things you probably don’t want to know about. I’m understanding if the meal, race, incident, or weather crisis is truly something profound and it’s being shared because it’s worth it but most of the time… it’s just not.
I don’t even mind the occasional tweet or status update that is clearly pointless and better kept to yourself because, you know what? Sometimes people get unbelievably bored and can’t help themselves. However, when it happens time and time again with no signs of remorse or stopping, you cross over into the territory of The Over-Sharer… and it’s scary over there.
Few things interest me less than the dribble that comes out of the people who can’t stop talking. There are people who talk just for the sake of hearing their own voice. Maybe its soothing to them? I’m not saying everything you say, tweet, text, or post has to be profound or interesting- but believe me nobody wants to hear about every single detail of your day, even on your best day. There is no reason to share that much information. Not only is it unsafe (what if someone’s stalking you?) but it’s got to be exhausting. I’m exhausted just skimming over it.
Not only are you apparently doing a ton of stuff but you’re telling the world about it through every social media outlet as you’re doing it. When are you ever just enjoying the moment? Whatever happened to mystery? “Leaving a little to the imagination”? Saving something for later?
It’s much more fun to meet someone for lunch and hear a story about something exciting they did over the weekend that you haven’t already heard about. It’s like you’re hearing a secret, or sharing a personal moment with someone. That’s bonding. Sure beats cutting someone off before they even get started with, “Oh yeah, I saw it on Facebook.” (I’d like to point out that I’m aiming this post directly at people who over-share in their personal life. I understand sharing a lot if it’s done for work.)
It can also happen in text messages. I’m reminded all too well of an incident that occurred between me and an ex-boyfriend. This happened three and a half years ago, back when I was babysitting my boyfriend’s dog, and I sent a text to my boyfriend that said something about my dog like “he’s being SO funny… running around like a crazy beast” which received no response. A couple of hours passed and I texted “:(” or something, which led to a phone conversation that went a little something like this:
EX: “You need to stop texting me things like that.”
ME: “Things like what?”
EX: “About the dog, or your dinner, or the line at Starbucks, or the weather…”
ME: *hurt* “… Okay… Why?”
EX: “Because I don’t have a response for any of that. Those are things you should just keep to yourself. Before you waste the time typing it up and sending it to me and waiting for my response, just don’t. Ask yourself if what you’re sending is something I’m actually going to be interested in.”
Harsh? TOTALLY. Was I offended? Of course. However… It did make me think a lot about the things I shared and who I shared them with (and shortly thereafter I stopped sharing anything with him). His words didn’t make me feel like I was not worthy of someone caring about the stuff I eat or the things I do, but it made me realize that I don’t have to share every single thing I do with people because no matter how much someone likes me, they don’t need (or want) every detail. I also noticed how tiring it was to share every thing I did.
These days… I’m a huge fan of saving things for later. Face-to-face conversations. Limiting my audience. Picking and choosing your audience makes those who learn certain things about you feel special. It keeps the mystery alive. People loooove mystery!