Whether you’re drunk and chatty or sober and full of words, at some point in time we have all overshared. Although some people attach oversharing as a negative characteristic, is it really so bad? Of course it’s one thing if we overshare about someone else’s personal life or badmouth another individual, but is there really any harm to over-sharing about yourself?
For me, oversharing becomes a personal trait when I’m in the midst of potential new friends or am in close quarters with a potential love interest. As the time goes on, everyone swapping stories and drinking their drinks, I feel to need to overshare swell up in my throat and bam! My mouth is open and I’ve lost all control over past sexual experiences, childhood stories, information about my period, and any other conversational topic generally put off until established relationships have been formed.
Every time it’s the same emotional roller coaster that we oversharers can’t get off of. Whether it’s a reaction to nerves or an act of validation, once an oversharing opportunity arises, we can’t turn back.
Uncontrollable, heightened excitement: We’ve found a mutual story that you and everyone else can relate to. Quotes about the importance and value of being a good listener flash past our eyes but it’s too late, manners are no longer a priority and the story must be released
And then word vomit: We keep talking and talking. There’s no end in sight, but sweet Jesus it feels good to let it all out.
Time to layer on some doubt: Oh shit, we start to question our intentions and why in the world we felt it was an appropriate time to share our intimate details with the people around us.
Here comes anger and shame: Let the berating, embarrassment, and shame begin! That sweet relief has completely dissipated and now seems like the perfect time to pull the covers over our head and hide until people forget. Except we’re still out with co-workers and unable to flee. Time for another drink, a cigarette, or a trip to the bathroom.
Hope creeps its way in: Hope usually emerges after the conversation has moved on and the overall vibe remains calm, cool, and collected. It can also set in after we’re home and tire of feeling like total crap because of our personalities. We might think something along the lines of “I’m cool. I’m worthy of compassion. And if they can’t understand my personality and appreciate the good and bad then fuck ’em.”
Sweet, sweet relief: After what seems like an eternity of consistent self-validation, relief finally sets in when we meet or talk with the individuals who experienced our oversharing and everyone seems completely cool about it.
Oversharing used to be a trait I was embarrassed about. Resulting in me cancelling plans frequently, hermitting, and laying off the alcohol. Until I started to learn a little bit more about why us over-sharer’s do just that, overshare.
In “The Power Of Vulnerability: Teachings of Authenticity, Connection, and Courage,” Brene Brown talks about oversharing as a self-sabotaging mechanism people use who believe they’re not worthy of kindness and meaningful relationships. By oversharing and having the other person slink away never to hang out or talk to you again, they reaffirm their belief that people do not like them.
Although I don’t necessarily fit into Brown’s explanation of oversharing, as I’m more of a social anxiety oversharer, it helps me understand fellow oversharers a little bit more. As an over-sharer, I appreciate my friends all the more because of how they handle my method of social anxiety. They’re able to see past it and value it as one of the many characteristics that make me who I am. Once I get through my initial anxiety, my oversharing decreases significantly and I’m able to listen with awareness of the other person, and share personal experiences when I feel comfortable doing so. Conversations become more present and thoughtful.
For those under the assumption that all oversharers do so because they think they’re better, are annoying, or have a limited self-confidence, think again! Oversharing stems from a variety of factors and is generally a reaction to new environments, meaning it fades fairly quickly after initial meetings and conversations.
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