Too Much Information…

   

     Am I the only one who is at a loss when other people share too much of their personal business that you didn’t want to know?  That is precisely what happened to me last year with someone whom I used to work with.  A co-worker of mine, whom I am not particularly close to or even friends with, proceeded to tell me all about the problems that she was having with her significant other.

    I am not a big fan of spreading all of your personal life all over the place.   Additionally, I am very selective about the people that I share any information with that has to do with my personal business.   As far as my relationship is concerned, that is definitely something that I only discuss with a select group of friends that I have known for years and that I actually trust.  That said, there are still aspects of my relationship that I do not even discuss with my closest confidantes.  It’s not that I do not trust them but, there are certain things that should just be kept between you and your significant other.

    I’m extremely interested in the reasons why some people have no discretion whatsoever when it comes to choosing who to share intimate details about their life with. Maybe it is a certain sense of narcissism that makes them feel like they are the center of the universe and that everyone else’s life revolves around them and their experiences. On the other hand, maybe they really are that miserable and just need somebody to talk to.  I am a little more patient with those people who are motivated to share all of their business due to the latter.  That does not take away the fact that certain personal information should not be shared with others, particularly those people whom you are not close to, to begin with.

    I’m not exaggerating when I say that this person practically described her entire relationship, problems she was having with her boyfriend, and intimate details about her physical relationship with him.  My ears were almost bleeding from hearing all of this information that I definitely did not want to hear.  I’m almost positive that I gave off all of the cues to indicate that I was extremely uncomfortable with the conversation but I did not have the heart to be mean to her since she was going through a break-up and is looking for advice on the whole issue from everyone that she comes across.

    My husband always says that women are always doing that, talking about their relationships with men with other women.  He insists that this always causes problems in relationships because a woman’s friends will instigate and make the situation worse by influencing her with their opinions.  Early on, we decided to be very discreet with others about the intimate details of our own personal relationship.  Although I would never admit it to Hubby, he is absolutely right, telling others about your relationship is bad business.  In this case, it was especially bad because I did not want to know anything personal about this woman at all.

    People like her are infectious.  I say this because they purge themselves of all their bad feelings and toxic emotions by telling you all of their problems.  After they have finished vomiting all of their drama on others, they experience a feeling of relief because they have vented about their issues.  Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about how you are feeling after the conversation because it is definitely not good.  I mean, why would you feel good about hearing all of this and about being part of such a negative conversation? 

    In order to assist others in avoiding being sucked into these kinds of situations and to assist would-be offenders with keeping their traps shut, I have come up with a list of “The Last 3 Things That People Want To Know About You” :

1)  Nobody wants to know what you do in your bedroom.

2)  Nobody wants to know what you do in your bathroom.

3)  Nobody wants to know how much money you have or how much money you spent.

    I think that if we all adhered to these three simple rules, we would all benefit from it.  This would definitely stop a lot of gossipping and it would help to reinforce the parameters of romantic relationships.  My advice is that, certain things you should just keep to your self.  Don’t punish others by sharing what you already know is, “TOO MUCH INFORMATION!”

© 2010, Tough Cookie Mommy. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. “After they have finished vomiting all of their drama on others, they experience a feeling of relief because they have vented about their issues.” This is soooo true! I love how you use the word vomit in this, it perfectly describes my thoughts on these TMI violators.

    • Eleana, it is exactly that, vomit full of all of their bad feelings that they are trying rid themselves of and spew unto you. I love how you call them TMI violators. That is going to be what I refer to them as from now on…

  2. Eh I don’t know what to say. I felt a little sad when I read this. I hope I’m not one of these people but I fear that I have been a few times. To be honest sometimes people simply don’t have anyone else. There were times when I had no family at all and my friends were all heading down the wrong road. All I had were my co-workers. A made a few good friends out of it.. but they’re loudmouths too so I guess that’s ok.

    I don’t talk about what goes on in my bedroom! That is something I stopped doing long ago…and I was always taught not to discuss your money with anyone, however.. I have a mother who refused to talk to me about money. She always said “It’s none of your business”. Still to this day she acts that way and you know what.. we’re not close at all. Now my Grandmother on the other hand, she taught me everything about money from a young age. She always told me to keep my business to myself too but she wasn’t so crude about it, thank goodness. She’s the reason I live debt free and my mom who still makes 3x the amount we do is in debt.. Ooh shoot, was that too much info? LOL

    Anyway.. in my husbands country of Norway everyone knows everything. Tax info is public and is published each year. I often go snooping on there to see how much people I know that live there have made. They just don’t care about such things over there. Took me quite some time to get used to his parents asking too many questions, but it’s just their way I guess. I think maybe if it were like that here people would have more ambition to do better in life.. since most are only concerned about money anyway.

    • Monica, I don’t think that this post applies to someone like you who seems to have just confided to someone when you were feeling badly or going through a hard time. This particular person tells everyone that will listen the details of her sex life, when her checks bounce at the bank, when she fights in the street with her ex- husband, etc. You get the picture… I agree that sometimes people just need to talk but, what she divulged is ridiculous. We have to draw the line somewhere at the information we share with complete strangers or acquaintances. As the person hearing it, it made me very uncomfortable. It is at these extreme cases that this post is directed.

  3. Clearly we need to have t-shirts with your three rules printed on them to wear….then when people start spewing their drama vomit, we can just point at the shirt and they will stop.

    My husband is a talker, and when we were dating I told him that I loved him, but if “we” were going to work he needed to learn discretion. You don’t have to tell people everything you know or do. We have an agreement not to talk about our personal lives with people just like you and your husband do.

    • According to my husband, I am the talker. Now, I am extremely talkative, however, I feel like I know where to draw the line and be discreet. I think having this “privacy pact” with my husband has helped to keep others from infiltrating the happiness of our marriage. We also teach our sons about being discreet and not spouting “house business” when they are in school…

  4. I must have one of those faces that just screams “I’m friendly and easy to talk to, come over please and share!!” because I ALWAYS get people, some who I don’t know very well at all, who want to “vomit” on me! And the disinteresed “yeah, umhuh’s” never seem to get the message across fast enough. Now that you’ve got a list for the offenders to follow, I need some effective, but nice, exit strategies to use! 🙂 LOL

    • Tisha, I swear, I must have one of those faces too because the most random people tell me the most random and private things. Normally, I am very sympathetic to them and I listen, however, some people just don’t know when to draw the line. There are certain things that I really do not want to know.

  5. I totally agree. I know that I have been one to share too much information from time to time, but I like to think that it is with people that are truly “friends”. That said, I’ve never talked about my boyfriend, our relationship, the bedroom, heck I don’t even really talk about that time of the month. Some people however, and I see it on twitter, have NO boundaries.

    Thanks for the post. I agree with having shirts made. 🙂

  6. See, if people would follow your simple rules, we would all get along fabulously and have so much more fun! Really, I hate the Over-Sharers. I do. I am never one to share personal information, even to the degree that some friends have been offended by my lack of sharing. There are just some things that need to be kept private, and you’ve listed them all!

    • Sherri, you are absolutely right, there are just some things that should be kept private. I’m all for being there to lend moral support but for those whom I am actually close to but it is extremely uncomfortable to go there with those who are essentially complete strangers.

  7. You are so right! At my last job we had a ton of these types of women. I began to just kind of tune them out. When they were done I would quickly change the subject and they didn’t know any better that I wasn’t listening to them. Mean in a way I guess, but I don’t know these women! I don’t want to know about their sex life and what problems they are having with the hubs. Now my close friends, of course I’ll listen to them.
    That being said, I recieved the BEST peice of advice from a cook at that job. She was very wise and like a second mama to me in many ways (love you Miss Jackson!) She said that if your having trouble with your man to NEVER vent about this to your close freinds or family. Let it stay between the two of you! BECAUSE only you know your man inside and out and only YOU love him unconditionally, so only you might be able to forgive him. So while your able to move on from the problem friends and family members might always hold your man in a negative light. Not good! So if you vent alot about your man to others, don’t expect much support from your friends and family once you’ve gotten over and moved on. They might not ever move on from the issue.

    • Miss Jackson is a very wise woman. My Grandmother has actually told me this for years, “Keep your relationship business to yourself.” She has always said that we might get over whatever happened but friends and family will not be able to get over it and may never see the person in the same light again. So true and such good advice.

  8. I’ve found myself in this situation my entire life! Even as a kid, older kids would come to me for advice. I must have one of those faces, too…lol However, the most extreme was when I had just started a new job and within the first two days, a woman had confided to me all sorts of personal information about her (open) relationship with her boyfriend and way more intimate details than I ever wanted to know. It didn’t take me long to figure out that she had no friends to talk to, which is why she was sharing such personal matters with a complete stranger. So I was there for her because I knew she needed it.

    Luckily, I am good at compartmentalizing; I don’t internalize negative energy if the situation doesn’t actually involve me so I can listen to a lot more than I need to. Some people really just need an ear, while others just like to talk about themselves. I guess you can’t always know what’s really going on with a person…

    • Chela, it is sometimes hard to tell what the person’s motives are for sharing such private information with others. Additionally, it can be very personal and make others feel very uncomfortable to be privy to such private matters…

      • I agree! That’s what I mean by the ones who just like talking about themselves, regardless of whether you want to hear it. Pure narcissism at that point…

  9. Very well said. I agree with your three guidelines especially! Thanks for sharing your perspective.

  10. See, I respectfully disagree with a lot of this. First off, I think sometimes, people just need to get things off their chest. Sometimes it’s easier to tell a ‘stranger” than those close to you. A stranger is not personally involved and can look at the whole picture without prejudice. When someone knows the two of you, they may not be able to give a fair opinion. They could be biased and not even realize it. This is the reason why my sister could write a book and make millions. She has been in the beauty business for years and she knows more personal information on her clients than one could ever imagine.

    Now, there’s other factors. Maybe you have “that kind of a face” where people just open up to you. Or maybe you make others feel very comfortable.

    The other thing is, maybe they are just open people. To me, it’s so not a big deal and no subject is taboo. I will discuss anything with anyone at any time. Nothing bothers me, iritates me or embarrasses me.

    I also totally disagree with your husband. I’m sorry, but many a friend has given others good advice, strenght or the push they needed to make a move and change their life. That doesn’t necessarily mean ending a relationship either.

    People, strangers even, have opened up to me, unsolicited. One told me she just felt comfortable talking to me. She also said she admired that I was a strong, independent woman. She took the advice I gave her too.

    So, I do want to hear, if they want to tell, about what goes on in their bedroom, bathroom or how much they spent on their new house. I’m all ears.

    • Hi, Doreen. Let me begin by saying that I appreciate your honest feedback. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I agree with you that there are a lot of factors involved in why people choose to open up and share the intimate details of their lives. You are right that some people just need to talk and have genuine reasons for seeking the feedback of others. This post was not really directed at those people. There are actually more details to this story that were not included to protect the privacy of those involved. What I can tell you is that my experience has been that sometimes people have specific agendas as to why they choose to share this kind of information with others. Unfortunately, these agendas are not always positively motivated and end up leading to bad endings for all parties involved. I, like you, am caring and tolerant to others who choose to confide in me for legitimate reasons. On the other hand, I am cautious with others who share their private information and whom I suspect may not have the best intentions for doing so. I supposed it depends on the situation and the person who is opening up to you. I am definitely not “all ears” and do not want to, nor need to know certain things about others, especially if they are someone that I am not particularly close to. Have a wonderful weekend. I always enjoy our exchanges…

      • Ahhhh, ulterior motives. I agree, that’s another whole story. Also, yes, the fact that you couldn’t give all the facts, does also change things.

        One thing I’ve always hated are those that “open up” to you because they can’t face another. You see, they will tell you something thinking you will go back and gossip to the person they really want to speak to. That’s a chicken if I’ve ever met one. Not I. First off I don’t gossip, so that backfired big time a few times. Secondly, if I have something to say, I prefer to say it personally and to the person it needs to be said to, face to face.

        First off, I like to take care of my own issues. Secondly, I don’t want someone else twisting what I want to say. It’s the old game of telephone.

        I once had a friend open up to me about her sister whom I was also friends with. She erroneously assumed I was going to give her “message” to her sister. She figured I’d mention to her sister how upset she was with her. I never said a word.

        One day she came out and asked me. “What did my sister say about the whole situation.” My response was, “we never discussed it.” She looked very disappointed.

        I suggested she discuss it herself with her sister. As far as I know, she never did, but she sure did keep complaining.

        • It’s funny that you should bring up this example because this is exactly what drove this person to spew all of her business unto me. She was hoping that I would share the information with someone that we know mutually so that it would get back to her boyfriend whom had just broken up with her. That is why I am always cautious in these situations. Experience has shown me that, sometimes, there are ulterior motives behind why the person is sharing their personal information.

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