Not many people can confidently say they have never overshared. Many of us make this mistake from time to time. Sometimes, we get too emotional and vent our feelings to the wrong person, and other times we might be too excited and talk faster than we think. To stop oversharing, it’s important to understand what oversharing is and what causes it first.
What is oversharing?
So, what is oversharing? Oversharing is when we reveal too much information about ourselves to others – perhaps more than others want to know. Additionally, we may sometimes put ourselves at risk by sharing too much, such as oversharing at work or on social media.
It’s important to be aware of what is appropriate to share in the context of the conversation to keep yourself safe and preserve healthy and comfortable relationships with others.
Why oversharing is a problem
You make others uncomfortable. There are aspects of your life other people may not want to know. For example, some of your personal issues may need to be kept private, such as your problems with your partner or family members. Details of some personal health information may also make others uncomfortable.
People may stop trusting you. Oversharing can be used as a shortcut to closer, more intimate relationships, but if you overshare too much or with the wrong person, the opposite may occur. Some people may begin to question your judgment and discretion.
Safety concerns. If you overshare too much personal information, you may put yourself at risk. Information such as your salary, your address, your travel itinerary, your kids’ school location, your financial information, your documents, and your bank details should never be shared on social media.
Relationship imbalance. When you overshare and the other person doesn’t, an imbalance of power can occur where the other person knows much more about you than you know about them.
Loss of professionalism. If you overshare at work, your colleagues may lose respect for you and may regard your behavior as unprofessional.
What is oversharing a sign of?
You may be wondering why people overshare and why you are sometimes compelled to do the same. Oversharing can be a sign of several things. For example,
In some cases, people overshare because they want to feel validated. They want others to validate their feelings and experiences. They want to feel heard and understood. They want someone to confirm that they are right. They keep sharing their thoughts and feelings with little or no filters because it forces others to react, usually by validating or agreeing, just to keep things polite and comfortable.
Lack of boundaries. Sometimes people overshare because they don’t have a good sense of what is appropriate to share and with whom. However, it’s important to remember that commonly accepted boundaries may differ in different cultures.
For example, in some Asian cultures, personal information is shared more freely. People may ask you about your family and your financial situation and may share the same information with you.
Oversharing can be a sign of difficulty regulating emotions. If you struggle to cope with strong emotions, such as sadness, anger, or even excitement, you may make the mistake of oversharing. Some people use oversharing as a way of processing their feelings and releasing negative emotions.
Attention seeking. Sometimes oversharing is simply an attention-seeking behavior, which is particularly true on social media. People may overshare to elicit responses from others, such as validation, praise, or admiration. This can take the form of excessive updates, pictures of daily life, or the constant sharing of thoughts and feelings. While it is important to share something about yourself to maintain relationships, oversharing can cause others to feel like they have to compete for attention with you. Additionally, it can become very draining to always have to react to someone’s posts or listen to their constant need for attention and validation.
Sometimes oversharing is a sign of wanting to build a deeper connection quickly. Some people feel that revealing personal information and thoughts will help them bond with others more quickly. However, it often has unintended consequences, particularly in a professional setting.
Is oversharing a coping mechanism?
Oversharing can be a coping mechanism for some people. Particularly, when we are going through a hard time, it can be a way to vent and process our feelings. It can also be seen as a way to get other people’s support and validation; after all, if you never tell others about your problems, they can’t support you.
Another way oversharing may sometimes work as a coping mechanism is by helping us push away our real problems to the back of our minds. Sometimes we may excessively share parts of our lives just to keep ourselves busy and avoid addressing what really needs to be addressed.
Is oversharing a trauma response?
You may be wondering whether the need to overshare can be a trauma response in some people, and the answer is yes, it can be. People who have experienced traumatic events may feel compelled to share their traumatic experiences over and over. This behavior is also sometimes called repetitive disclosure.
While repetitive disclosure can make others feel uncomfortable, it’s important to understand that the person sharing is trying to process their feelings and make sense of their experience. Sometimes they are looking for a response or comment that would add the missing piece of the puzzle and help them understand their experience.
While oversharing with random people may be definitely an inappropriate way to deal with trauma, talking about your trauma with a mental health professional can be very healing.
How to stop oversharing: Say goodbye to those awkward moments!
Now that you understand the mechanism behind oversharing, you can address the problem more effectively.
Understand your triggers. Think about all the times you overshared. What emotions did you experience? Were you upset or angry? Or perhaps, were you too excited about something positive happening in your life? Just being aware of your triggers can help you become more aware of your behavior and prevent the issue from happening again.
Are you dealing with trauma? As it was already mentioned above, oversharing may be your way to process a traumatic event. If so, it may be a good idea to speak with a mental health professional who can help you understand and deal with your emotions much better. They will never roll their eyes or judge you for oversharing. It is their job to be there for you and help you navigate through difficult times.
Are you trying to distract yourself? If you overshare on social media just to distract yourself from your real-life problems, you probably know it. It is important to be honest with yourself about your priorities and address what needs to be addressed first. Once you resolve your uncomfortable feelings, you will feel more balanced, and the habit of oversharing should resolve too.
Practice self-awareness. Take a step back and ask yourself if what you are about to share is really necessary. Take a little pause before you speak or post that social media update.
Find healthy outlets. From wanting attention to dealing with trauma, you can find better outlets to stop yourself from oversharing. Exercising, journaling, and working with a mental health professional are all helpful and constructive ways to deal with the problem.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s possible to slip up sometimes and overshare. Don’t blame yourself too hard. What is oversharing for one person is a normal conversation for someone else.
Stop overthinking. Some people may obsess about oversharing, where they constantly recall situations and feel embarrassed about long-forgotten conversations – this may be even more unhealthy.
Finally, remember that if you want to maintain friendships and relationships with other people, you do need to share something. If you don’t share anything at all, people may become unsure of what to expect from you and who you are. So, sharing is important, but it’s important not to share too much and too early in the relationship. It’s important to differentiate between your work colleagues, friends, and family members. However, sharing is a part of healthy relationships.