I am guilty of oversharing

  1. I confess. I overshare ALL the time.

    I think I know how it gets started. Sometimes I'm nervous about a situation (very common in nursing school) so I just open my mouth to say something short and to the point, but garbage pours out of my mouth until I can get it clamped shut again. It is even worse when I'm starting to get comfortable with a skill or a concept because then I ramble on thinking what I'm saying is relevant, but I've already gone way off course.

    I'm also really bad at casual conversation. I don't necessarily expect to be best buddies with all my classmates, but I tend to be way more personal with details about my life than my conversation partners. Most of the time this only results in a somewhat off balance awkward conversation. Sometimes I end up sharing details about my life I do not want others to know about, but there it is out in the open and I can't take it back.

    I'm pretty good at not oversharing in social media and message boards. Being able to read what I write helps tremendously. I'm more concerned about getting through nursing school without digging a conversational hole so deep I can't climb out of it. This hasn't been a problem yet, but I am very worried about saying things about patients that I shouldn't say, or things to a supervisor that they have no business knowing. Unfortunately, I don't have much work experience so I am unused to navigating this particular aspect of social interaction.

    How do I stop this? How do I hold a polite conversation that gets the job done without delving into things that are far too personal?
  2. Visit Ioreth profile page

    About Ioreth, CNA

    Joined: Oct '15; Posts: 68; Likes: 105

    10 Comments

  3. by   ItsThatJenGirl
    Oh bless you. I overshare, too. But for me I think it's because if people know the bad/awkward stuff about me, they can decide early if I'm someone they can be friends with. I am awkward and uncomfortable. I don't talk about things like my sex life or anything, but if I sneeze and almost fart, I'll probably tell you about it.

    I don't really do social media, so I don't overshare on there, either. I don't even overshare on here. But when it comes to face to face, I find myself sharing things that no one cares about.

    I don't have any advice. I never try to overshare, or intentionally make people uncomfortable, it's just part of who I am. I've managed to restrain myself with patients, but that's because those aren't social situations.

    No advice, just commiseration.
  4. by   Ioreth
    I'm sorry you have this trial of life too, but I am comforted to know that I'm not the only one.

    I overshare in two ways. The first is like what you struggle with: anything that pops into my head comes out of my mouth. I overslept this morning and almost brushed my teeth with Neosporin. Yup, my clinical group had to hear about it this morning.

    The other way I overshare is I divulge personal and private details about myself that I really want to let stay burried. I had a traumatic relationship in high school. I've already gone through counseling and I'm emotionally OK with that part of my history. I want that experience to stay dead and burried, but stupid me keeps bringing it up in conversation. No one needs to know about that. This isn't the only thing I overshare about, but it is one of the most eggregious examples.

    I'm working on a small project that I think might help keep my mouth in check. I'm making a list of 10 things that are off limits in conversations. Sure these might be OK to talk about in certain situations, but I want to have to consiously make the decision whether the topic is appropriate.
  5. by   ItsThatJenGirl
    Quote from Ioreth
    I'm sorry you have this trial of life too, but I am comforted to know that I'm not the only one.

    I overshare in two ways. The first is like what you struggle with: anything that pops into my head comes out of my mouth. I overslept this morning and almost brushed my teeth with Neosporin. Yup, my clinical group had to hear about it this morning.

    The other way I overshare is I divulge personal and private details about myself that I really want to let stay burried. I had a traumatic relationship in high school. I've already gone through counseling and I'm emotionally OK with that part of my history. I want that experience to stay dead and burried, but stupid me keeps bringing it up in conversation. No one needs to know about that. This isn't the only thing I overshare about, but it is one of the most eggregious examples.

    I'm working on a small project that I think might help keep my mouth in check. I'm making a list of 10 things that are off limits in conversations. Sure these might be OK to talk about in certain situations, but I want to have to consiously make the decision whether the topic is appropriate.
    Interestingly, I over-share about my past trauma, too. I wonder if it's some sort of coping mechanism.

    Do you want to change this habit because it bothers other people or because it bothers you? I find the sort of honesty you mention refreshing. I like people that are unapologetically themselves. I understand if you're sharing in inappropriate situations (patients, maybe supervisors), but in friendly conversation?
  6. by   Ioreth
    I think I want to control oversharing for both myself as well as for other people.

    I also much prefer openness. Personally, I love having deep conversations. I don't like tiptoeing around touchy subjects, and I'd rather just come out and say what I mean. It helps if people understand my context, so I share to show my point of view. In non-work/school settings, I don't mind if people know intimate details about me, because I recognize that everyone has their own story and my experiences are really not all that unique. This is how I relate to people and sometimes I use it to get people to open up about themselves. I generally have no patience for the kind of small talk that doesn't actually communicate anything.

    I've recently gotten feedback from a classmate that I talk too much about myself and I hijack conversations. Initially this was very upsetting, because I felt like I was being rejected by my classmates. I took a week of mostly sitting back and observing how my classmates interact and trying to pinpoint what is different about my conversational style. After a lot of reflection, I realized that it wasn't so much that I was turning the conversation to myself, but that I was oversharing, which made conversations unbalanced. Several other classmates also overshare, but I'm seeing that they're having some of the same problems I am in casual conversation.

    I know I'll probably always be a little more open than is comfortable for most people. That's a core part of my personality. However this is something that I need to be able to control, not just for patient confidentiality purposes, but also for personal boundaries. When I share something, I want to be cognisant that I am doing it. If it is deliberate, then I can control it better.

    Here's my 10 off limits topics:
    1. Stuff that takes place in my bathroom. If it happened in the bathroom, it should not be talked about. What shampoo I use, putting my hair up, makeup woes, whether I used deodorant, my period, even decorating choices. Keep this room private.
    2. Stuff that happens in my bed. Didn't sleep well, being sick, sex, waking up, etc. My bed is special, and sacred space doesn't get talked about.
    3. Medical history of myself or anyone else. The only exceptions should be if I am currently ill right now and the other party needs to know or if we are discussing a patient we are both caring for. This includes mental health, past surgeries or hospital encounters, recent doctor appointments, kids medical history, my pregnancies/childbirths, my family'schronic conditions, and whether I stubbed my toe this morning. This is especially important for patients. We already deal with enough medical stuff, so I don't need to add my own to it.
    4. Traumatic history or negatively emotional events. This includes ex-boyfriends, past toxic relationships, self-doubt, embarrassing situations, and caring for terminally ill family members. The past is past. The past is dead. Let it stay dead.
    5. Negative comments about other people. Avoid anything that may possibly in any minor way be seen as critical of other people. If a less than positive aspect of a person (patient) must be discussed, be very clinical and impersonal about it. State what happened and what was done, but leave feelings out of it. NEVER be negative about coworkers, classmates, or family members.
    6. Politics. Keep it out of the workplace, out of school, and out of friendships. This includes politically charged topics such as gun control or public healthcare. When politics cannot be avoided, keep the tone as neutral as possible and avoid extreme or controversial positions.
    7. Religion. Another sacred topic. Religious conversations should be reserved for very close friendships, family, or church members. Concentrate on walking the walk instead of talking the talk.
    8. Personal finances. Don't talk about taxes, payment for college, financing of vacations, trying to find good deals, or any monetary transactions.
    9. My husband's work. Can state his job description and employer, but stop there.
    10. Grades. My grades, other people's grades, job performance, etc. These conversations are often taken the wrong way. Never ask someone else how they did on a test, even before the grades are posted. Also never talk about my own performance - don't even bring it up. The test is done and turned in, so let it be over. If asked directly by a classmate, deflect the topic by saying simply "I did well/not as well as I would have liked."

    This is just a list of the topics that tend to land me in hot water. I'm sure this is highly individual and other people are able to navigate these topics with ease and grace. Some of these I already am pretty good of stearing clear of, such as grades, religion and politics. Others, such as medical history and negative past experiences come up far too often. Of course the situation varies, but I made this list so that I can at least pause before I say something and then move forward deliberately.
  7. by   Glycerine82
    I do the same. I finally stopped trying to change myself, I am who I am. Some people know more than they want to about me, oh well.
  8. by   ItsThatJenGirl
    Quote from Ioreth
    I think I want to control oversharing for both myself as well as for other people.

    I also much prefer openness. Personally, I love having deep conversations. I don't like tiptoeing around touchy subjects, and I'd rather just come out and say what I mean. It helps if people understand my context, so I share to show my point of view. In non-work/school settings, I don't mind if people know intimate details about me, because I recognize that everyone has their own story and my experiences are really not all that unique. This is how I relate to people and sometimes I use it to get people to open up about themselves. I generally have no patience for the kind of small talk that doesn't actually communicate anything.

    I've recently gotten feedback from a classmate that I talk too much about myself and I hijack conversations. Initially this was very upsetting, because I felt like I was being rejected by my classmates. I took a week of mostly sitting back and observing how my classmates interact and trying to pinpoint what is different about my conversational style. After a lot of reflection, I realized that it wasn't so much that I was turning the conversation to myself, but that I was oversharing, which made conversations unbalanced. Several other classmates also overshare, but I'm seeing that they're having some of the same problems I am in casual conversation.

    I know I'll probably always be a little more open than is comfortable for most people. That's a core part of my personality. However this is something that I need to be able to control, not just for patient confidentiality purposes, but also for personal boundaries. When I share something, I want to be cognisant that I am doing it. If it is deliberate, then I can control it better.

    Here's my 10 off limits topics:
    1. Stuff that takes place in my bathroom. If it happened in the bathroom, it should not be talked about. What shampoo I use, putting my hair up, makeup woes, whether I used deodorant, my period, even decorating choices. Keep this room private.
    2. Stuff that happens in my bed. Didn't sleep well, being sick, sex, waking up, etc. My bed is special, and sacred space doesn't get talked about.
    3. Medical history of myself or anyone else. The only exceptions should be if I am currently ill right now and the other party needs to know or if we are discussing a patient we are both caring for. This includes mental health, past surgeries or hospital encounters, recent doctor appointments, kids medical history, my pregnancies/childbirths, my family'schronic conditions, and whether I stubbed my toe this morning. This is especially important for patients. We already deal with enough medical stuff, so I don't need to add my own to it.
    4. Traumatic history or negatively emotional events. This includes ex-boyfriends, past toxic relationships, self-doubt, embarrassing situations, and caring for terminally ill family members. The past is past. The past is dead. Let it stay dead.
    5. Negative comments about other people. Avoid anything that may possibly in any minor way be seen as critical of other people. If a less than positive aspect of a person (patient) must be discussed, be very clinical and impersonal about it. State what happened and what was done, but leave feelings out of it. NEVER be negative about coworkers, classmates, or family members.
    6. Politics. Keep it out of the workplace, out of school, and out of friendships. This includes politically charged topics such as gun control or public healthcare. When politics cannot be avoided, keep the tone as neutral as possible and avoid extreme or controversial positions.
    7. Religion. Another sacred topic. Religious conversations should be reserved for very close friendships, family, or church members. Concentrate on walking the walk instead of talking the talk.
    8. Personal finances. Don't talk about taxes, payment for college, financing of vacations, trying to find good deals, or any monetary transactions.
    9. My husband's work. Can state his job description and employer, but stop there.
    10. Grades. My grades, other people's grades, job performance, etc. These conversations are often taken the wrong way. Never ask someone else how they did on a test, even before the grades are posted. Also never talk about my own performance - don't even bring it up. The test is done and turned in, so let it be over. If asked directly by a classmate, deflect the topic by saying simply "I did well/not as well as I would have liked."

    This is just a list of the topics that tend to land me in hot water. I'm sure this is highly individual and other people are able to navigate these topics with ease and grace. Some of these I already am pretty good of stearing clear of, such as grades, religion and politics. Others, such as medical history and negative past experiences come up far too often. Of course the situation varies, but I made this list so that I can at least pause before I say something and then move forward deliberately.
    I thought I replied to this last night, oops!

    I think if avoiding things on this list is going to make YOU happy, then you should do it. If it's to make other people comfortable or please one person in your clinical group, please don't do it.

    Good luck in whatever you decide.
  9. by   kbrn2002
    I work with a couple of nurses that suffer from verbal diarrhea. You are right, it's not comfortable for the listener. I don't need or want to hear about your sex life, your drunken escapades or your drug addict family members. I am working, I usually have actual work that needs to be done and taking the LONG time to listen to your stories is taking time away from what I should be doing.

    It's good that you recognize in yourself that you are guilty of this. Knowing it's a potential problem for you is the first step towards correcting that problem.
  10. by   sasera
    Quote from Ioreth
    I overslept this morning and almost brushed my teeth with Neosporin. Yup, my clinical group had to hear about it this morning.
    That's a funny anecdote and one that I wouldn't mind my classmates telling me about.

    Quote from Ioreth
    I've recently gotten feedback from a classmate that I talk too much about myself and I hijack conversations.
    This might be the problem. It's not WHAT you say, necessarily, but HOW MUCH you are talking.
    There's a girl in my class who constantly interjects with stories about her own life. (You went to the movies this weekend? She went to Hollywood this weekend, and here's nine zillion pictures for you to look at, even though you don't care.) When I was telling my husband about her, he said she was on "send-mode" rather than "receive-mode." Is this your actual problem? Are you on "Send-mode?"

    Think of it this way: when you speak with your classmates, are you REALLY listening to what they are saying, or are you thinking of how what they're saying relates to your life and then coming back with your own stories; ie--waiting for them to stop talking because your story is more important.

    I don't like to talk to people who only want me to shut up so they can continue talking about themselves, and I don't mean to sound harsh, but from the feedback you've received from your classmates, it seems like you're doing this.

    Try to put yourself on "receive-mode" and really listen when other people are talking, and then shut up for a bit. Don't add a personal story, because then that makes it about you.
  11. by   Ioreth
    I got some more feedback from other classmates on this topic.

    Regarding the hijacking of conversations, the person that had told me that I do this, is actually seen (apparently universally by my classmates) as the most eggregious in hijacking conversations herself. She has very little tolerance for others having a turn to speak and tends to want to control every aspect of every social situation around her. In short, she is seen as a bully. I don't tend to think in these terms, and maybe it is a bit of my naievity and desire to want to get along with everyone, but I tend to take criticism rather harshly. These other classmates told me that I'm a much better conversation partner than this woman, but they agreed with my self-diagnosis of oversharing. Since they are nursing students and I'm oversharing about things that we are learning about, it wasn't bothering them. I still am worried that this may be a problem in the future, even if it is not a problem right now.

    Honestly, I'm already very good about not talking about some of the things on my list: sex, money, religion, politics, grades, and I don't drink alcohol so there's no embarassing drunken tales to share. I think the oversharing in other areas is more of a stress reaction than anything. Perhaps by recognizing areas of oversharing, I can recognize when I am stressed. At the very least, identifying this list gives me pause before sharing.
  12. by   ItsThatJenGirl
    Quote from Ioreth
    I got some more feedback from other classmates on this topic.

    Regarding the hijacking of conversations, the person that had told me that I do this, is actually seen (apparently universally by my classmates) as the most eggregious in hijacking conversations herself. She has very little tolerance for others having a turn to speak and tends to want to control every aspect of every social situation around her. In short, she is seen as a bully. I don't tend to think in these terms, and maybe it is a bit of my naievity and desire to want to get along with everyone, but I tend to take criticism rather harshly. These other classmates told me that I'm a much better conversation partner than this woman, but they agreed with my self-diagnosis of oversharing. Since they are nursing students and I'm oversharing about things that we are learning about, it wasn't bothering them. I still am worried that this may be a problem in the future, even if it is not a problem right now.

    Honestly, I'm already very good about not talking about some of the things on my list: sex, money, religion, politics, grades, and I don't drink alcohol so there's no embarassing drunken tales to share. I think the oversharing in other areas is more of a stress reaction than anything. Perhaps by recognizing areas of oversharing, I can recognize when I am stressed. At the very least, identifying this list gives me pause before sharing.
    This was actually my suspicion, but I didn't want to assume anything.

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