How often have you had the experience of speaking to someone who tells you far more information than you should know…and you can’t wait to escape? How about the reverse where you realize you’ve just been the one to divulge inappropriate information and now it’s too late to take it back. It’s the all-too-common TMI syndrome (Too Much Information)! You can think of it as over sharing or having a “blab fest.”
So why does this occur? Potentially there are various reasons; some of the more common ones include the fact that this has become the norm on some social media sites as well as quite in vogue on reality shows. According to experts, another reason we may blurt out information that’s too personal (about our own lives or about others) is that it’s a subconscious way of controlling our anxiety (referred to as self-regulation). In other words, at times we may become preoccupied with how others perceive us. This results in exerting excessive energy in attempting to present ourselves as confident, humorous or intelligent. In the end we’re not as adept at filtering or censoring how much we reveal and to whom we communicate this information. Additionally, some people may over share in an attempt to connect with others or fit in.
What’s the solution? Hal Shorey (psychologist and assistant professor for the Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology at Widener University in Chester, PA) recommends asking yourself these two questions:
1. Does my listener have time right now and is he or she emotionally available to listen?
2. Will your blabbing relieve your anxiety or make it worse? (In other words if you stop and think about it, you can usually predict that your boss or colleague will not have a positive reaction to your over sharing.)
Should you apologize if you over share? Not necessarily since most people have already moved on and your conversation is no longer a priority. If you absolutely feel compelled to extend an apology, keep it short and sweet.
What are your thoughts on the topic of TMI? Leave me an audio message using the microphone icon on the right side of the page...can’t wait to hear from you.