Do you find yourself sharing intimate details about your life with a complete stranger? Or, maybe you look back on a conversation you had with a coworker and realize you were talking the whole time. Oversharing is easy, and it’s a problem many of us deal with. Whether you overshare to fill awkward silences or just because you don’t know what to talk about, we’ve got you covered: We’ve got you covered on how to avoid oversharing and learn more about who you’re talking to instead. We’ve compiled the best conversation tips for. ,
[Edit]things you should know
- Practice active listening skills and ask your conversation partner questions to learn more about them.
- Take 1 to 2 seconds to think about what you’re going to say to avoid accidentally oversharing.
- Change the subject to a more comfortable, neutral topic if you find yourself oversharing.
- Avoid posting on social media when you are feeling upset or overwhelmed.
[Edit]How to stop yourself from oversharing
- Wait 1 to 2 seconds before speaking. When we talk without thinking, sometimes we share more than we think. Before you start a story, pause and think about what you are going to say. That way, you can think about what you want to say and avoid anything you don’t want to talk about.
- Practice active listening skills. Sometimes, oversharing is the result of not listening to your conversation partner. Practice active listening skills by getting rid of distractions and making eye contact with the person you’re chatting with. Think of follow-up questions to ask them so you can learn more about them and what they’re saying.
- Great questions to ask during the conversation include, “Wow, what happened next?” or, “How do you feel?”
- Ask questions about the people you’re with. It’s important to learn a little about someone before diving into the details of your own life. To avoid oversharing, ask questions about the other person’s occupation, living situation, and hobbies. That way, they can share more about themselves, and both of you can learn a thing or two about each other.
- “So, how long have you been living in this area?”
- “What’s your favorite way to relax on the weekend?”
- “Do you have any pets?”
- Change the topic of conversation. The conversation may be heading in a direction that carries a lot of emotional weight for you. If there’s something you don’t want to talk about (relationship problems, past trauma, grief, etc.), change the subject by complimenting them or telling them something about your environment.
- “I love your hoodie! Where did you get it?”
- “Wow, look at that rose bush! Those colors are so vibrant.
- “Hey, look at that cute dog over there! I would love to have a dog like that one day.”
- Set clear boundaries for yourself before you start talking. Make a list of topics in your head that you don’t want to talk about with an acquaintance or a stranger. When you find yourself turning to those topics, use the methods above to avoid them. That way, you can stop yourself from oversharing right from the start.
- For example, you might avoid talking about your own relationship or any family drama you may be going through right now.
- Stay away from social media when you are emotional. Oversharing doesn’t always happen in person. When you’re upset, you may find that you post things that you wouldn’t normally do on your social media accounts. To avoid oversharing on social media, log out of your accounts any time you’re feeling overwhelmed or upset. That way, you won’t be tempted to tell people things online that you really don’t want to share.
- There is a false sense of intimacy between the two of you. Do you find yourself sharing intimate details of your life with your hairdresser or nail technician? When someone is in your personal space or you spend a lot of time together, it can make you feel like you’re closer than you really are. However, just because this person is inside your bubble or you see them every month doesn’t mean the two of you are really close.
- You don’t feel like strangers judge you. Maybe you share more than the person next to you on a flight, or you tell funny stories from your past to the person next to you in the waiting room. You feel better oversharing with them when you know it’s unlikely you’ll ever see that person again, because they can’t judge you as much as a friend or family member.
- You’re trying to fast-track the relationship. When you first meet someone nice, you probably want to get to know them (and fast). However, the “getting to know you” phase is important. Instead of learning more about who they are and what they like to do for fun, you can very quickly bring up personal details of your own life to build a relationship.
- You have social anxiety. Social anxiety is more than being shy. If you are a socially anxious person, you may be so fearful of being judged by others that it clouds your ability to read social cues. Social anxiety can make you overshare, especially with strangers, so that you avoid uncomfortable silences and awkward moments.
- You have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD can cause poor impulse control and hyperactivity, especially during conversations. If you’re excited about the topic or having a lot of fun talking to someone, you might overshare without realizing it until later.
- You’re feeling emotional (especially on social media). Emotions can drive our actions if we let them. You may find that posting on social media helps you feel better when you’re feeling sad or angry about something. It is a way of reaching out to others for support without directly asking for it.
- You are trying to make someone else feel comfortable. You may not have been the one to initiate the oversharing in the first place—maybe your conversation partner recently disclosed some childhood trauma or deep-seated phobia. You may feel like you have to share intimate details about yourself so the other person doesn’t feel awkward.
[Edit]Why oversharing can be harmful
- It can make others feel uncomfortable. The person you are talking to may not feel comfortable enough to share details about their life with you. Or, maybe the topic you’re talking about isn’t something they don’t feel comfortable discussing. Oversharing can make your conversation partner feel awkward, and they may not know how to handle the situation.
- It can leave other people feeling tired or overwhelmed. Hearing about someone else’s personal trauma or life story can feel exhausting to other people. It can take a lot of emotional energy to ask the right questions and have empathy, especially for someone they don’t know well.
- It can leave a digital footprint online. Whenever you post something on the Internet, it is there forever (even if you delete it). Sharing too much about your life can negatively impact your job prospects in the future, so it’s good to be mindful of what you’re posting and how potential employers might view it.
[Edit]Signs You’re Oversharing
- You don’t know much about the people you are talking to. When we overshare, we end up talking about ourselves more than we let other people talk. If you look around the room and feel like you don’t know much about anyone else, you may be listening too much.
- You leave out the little things. Small talk gets a bad name, but it’s actually very important! If you find yourself asking “What do you do for work?” or, “How do you like living in the area?” conversation, you may be oversharing to some degree. These basic conversations are appropriate for people we don’t know well, and it helps build a solid relationship that can grow at a normal pace.
- You are always planning what you are going to say next. Instead of listening to those around you, you may find yourself thinking about the story you’re about to share or the small talk you want to make. While we all plan to some degree what we are going to say, doing so may mean that you are not giving your conversation partner your full attention.
- You’re talking about yourself in a professional setting. When it comes to sharing things about yourself at work, less is always more. If you’re at work or at a networking event and you find yourself sharing intimate details about yourself, you’re likely oversharing.