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TMI And The Art Of Oversharing

TMI And The Art Of Oversharing
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Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.com

BY JILL MATLOW

In the 1970s, if someone mentioned TMI to me, I immediately thought of Three Mile Island. For those of you too young to remember, Three Mile Island was the location of the most significant accident in US commercial nuclear plant history. The accident occurred on March 28, 1979 in reactor number 2 of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station located near Harrisburg, PA.

These days, if you google TMI, guess what comes up first? That’s right – “Urban Dictionary: Too much information”. Looks like we really have our priorities in order as we have now replaced information about significant historical events with information about the latest slang and acronyms.

And we now have the perfect platform for over-sharing all the personal details of our lives too, thanks to Facebook. Our daily minutia—be it our medical appointments, tests and diagnoses, dining preferences, vacation destinations, and other personal information—can now be shared with our Facebook friends, family and the general population at large! What used to be shared in the privacy of our homes or on the phone with our family members and closest friends is now up for public consumption and nothing is too sacred to share.

The oversharing has definitely spilled into the dating world too. I remember my grandmother, mother and sister would always tell me to “be a little mysterious” and not reveal too much on a first date. I’m guessing some of the guys I’ve gone out never got that memo. While I pride myself on being a good listener, sometimes I am cringing inside when I’m on the receiving end of personal details coming from my partner on a first date.

This oversharing can lead to premature judgements made before you’ve even had an opportunity to organically develop an emotional intimacy with your partner. In my opinion, discussing financial matters, relationships with your ex’s and other intimate details are best discussed down the road, not recommended fodder for first dates. What do you think?

I always brace myself too when a guy tells me he’s an ‘open book’. You know what? I’d prefer just reading the first chapter right now if that’s okay with you. I don’t want to know how the story ends yet!

Ironically, the one place where we really should be doing some oversharing is at the doctor’s office. Remember at your annual physical, when your doctor always asks you how many drinks you have weekly? We’ve all been there. You don’t want to sound like a raging alcoholic, but when they start giving you the multiple choice option you begin to embellish your drinking habits considerably:

  1. One drink a week
  2. Two to five drinks a week
  3. More than five drinks in a week

Do the math. Sometimes it’s not pretty but we would never admit the actual number to our doctor. Same with questions about our diet (which are usually asked right after we pop off the scale and act shocked by the number). I would never confess to my doctor that sometimes my dinner was a bag of microwave popcorn or a big bag of Doritos. I was too ashamed to admit that I was not eating a balanced diet. Fortunately, that has changed over the last few years.

Here’s another form of oversharing that you never want to be on the receiving end of and it usually starts like this: “I had the weirdest dream last night”. It’s not enough that we share all the intimate details about our lives when we’re awake, but now we’re sharing the details from when we’re asleep too! Tell me—is there anyone on Planet Earth that really wants to hear someone else’s dream? It’s usually sprinkled with unnecessary details and while the teller is reveling in their storyline for 15 minutes, your eyes are already glazed over from checking out within the first 3 minutes. Am I right?

So with all the unsolicited ‘information overload’ that you receive on a daily basis, where do you draw the line? Do you find that nothing is sacred anymore when it comes to sharing and oversharing personal information? Have you ever been in those awkward predicaments where you’ve had to feign interest? We love hearing about your experiences so please share your stories with us (no dreams please).

 

 

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Jill Matlow
Jill Matlow spent much of her career working in many different facets of the healthcare industry writing marketing proposals, creative briefs and tactical plans. She is thrilled to now be writing articles geared to baby boomers who are nostalgic about their past but still hopeful about their futures. While music is her first passion, writing comes in a close second.