When was the last time you found yourself in an uncomfortable conversation because you shared too much information? Perhaps you blurted out something personal to a co-worker or even a stranger and, afterward, immediately felt regret or embarrassment.
Whether we realize it or not, oversharing is a habit that many of us fall into, and it can be harmful to our reputation and relationships, both personal and professional.
What an Oversharing Habit Looks Like
Oversharing can take many forms, but it usually boils down to disclosing an inappropriate amount of detail about one’s life – often to the wrong person, at the wrong time, or both.
This might be done for attention, validation, or simply out of habit. Regardless of the reason, oversharing is a harmful habit that can lead to serious consequences.
For one thing, oversharing can damage relationships. When you overshare, you open up to judgment and criticism from others. You also become vulnerable to manipulation and exploitation. If you share too much with someone, they may start to use your information against you.
Oversharing can also have negative consequences for your mental health. Constantly sharing your problems with others can often create more problems, like increasing your anxiety and making you feel isolated and ashamed.
Additionally, it can be difficult to stop oversharing once you start; the more you resort to it, the harder the habit is to break.
So, how do you know if you’re oversharing? Here are some signs:
– You tell people things they don’t need to know or that you wouldn’t typically want them to know about you.
– You share information that is too personal in times of stress because you don’t know how else to manage it.
– You bring up sensitive topics that you tend to regret later.
– You share intimate details about your life – whether with someone who cannot be trusted, a total stranger, or simply isn’t the right person to confide in.
If It’s Not So Helpful, Why Do We Do It?
Especially in today’s social media-driven world, it’s easy to fall into the trap of oversharing. With the click of a button, we can share our every thought with the world. We’ve grown more accustomed to the apparent lack of boundaries between our private lives and the public sphere. But why do people need to share every detail of their lives?
Whether through social media, in person, or on the phone, it may seem like some people like to talk a lot or enjoy sharing every detail of their lives. However, there is often more to it than that.
For some people, sharing the intimate details of their lives can be empowering and freeing. But for many others, oversharing is a coping mechanism for anxiety, stress, and untreated trauma. In some cases, oversharing may be a cry for help from someone struggling to cope with their mental health.
When we overshare, we seek validation and reassurance from others. We want to know we are not alone in our experiences. We feel a sense of control and belonging by disclosing certain events or aspects of our lives.
How to Break Your Oversharing Habit
Many of us tend to overshare to cope with our emotions. For instance, maybe you’ve noticed that you tend to overshare when feeling insecure or anxious.
It may feel good at the time when we need to disclose our struggles and relieve our stress. However, oversharing is the fine line between processing our emotions to find a sense of peace and control and disclosing too much because we lack it.
And while there is nothing wrong with seeking support from others, oversharing can inadvertently interfere with our ability to cope in healthy ways.
If you think you might be guilty of chronic oversharing, here are a few things you can do to break the habit.
Become more aware of your oversharing.
First and foremost, pay attention to the patterns of when you’re feeling the need to overshare. Try to be aware of what personal information you share with others and in what scenarios.
If you find yourself spilling out your problems when you’re tired and stressed at work in the morning, or broadcasting details of your life on social media when you’re heated or upset, consider taking a step back. Use these findings to start setting some boundaries for yourself.
Be mindful of your audience.
Ask yourself if the person you’re talking to really needs to know this information. What good or purpose will this serve when it’s all said and done?
Consider your reasons for oversharing.
When you catch yourself oversharing, pause and reflect on why you are doing so. Is this going to help you process your emotions? Are you talking for the genuine purpose of seeking advice, or do you just feel a need to vent?
Find ways to manage your emotions.
Have a set of healthier go-to coping mechanisms for when you feel the need urge to overshare. Exercise, getting outside, and creative expressions like writing and drawing may prove even more relieving than talking to someone who likely isn’t equipped to help you or handle what you throw their way anyway.
That said, there are people trained to do just that, who will not only listen but protect your privacy when you need to talk about something. A therapist or counselor can help you break the cycle of oversharing and develop healthier coping mechanisms in its place.
After all, disclosure should be a choice, not a compulsion. With the help of a therapist, you can learn how to use your words for good.