Are you oversharing?
Sharing. It’s a word we hear in so many contexts. Talk shows are no longer talking at us – we’re, “Sharing the conversation.” Churches are trying to stop laying down rules and invite people to, “Share,” or, “Participate in a discussion.” We don’t even post stuff any more, we, “Share,” on Facebook.
With all these years of practice, we should all be good at communication and levels of emotional intimacy by now…
Yet in 2015, for most of us, barely a day goes by without someone, “Sharing,” something utterly cringe-worthy in a highly public setting – who then then wonders why people back away in shock.
The below is a rather well written cheat sheet from Psychology Today outlining standard steps of self disclosure:
These 6 tips will help guide you in sharing your feelings:
1. Your default option should be to keep it light (but not silly). The Utz study shows that people prefer messages that are entertaining. Start with this as your first approach until you feel you can confide more somber reflections, if those are warranted.
2. Know your audience. Though starting light is a good approach, take the temperature of those you are with before you proceed further.
3. Don’t be too self-indulgent. Sometimes we say things to make ourselves feel better at the risk of boring or even offending those we are with. You may wish to recite a poem at the beginning of a meeting (because you like it), but your co-workers just want to get on with business.
4. Stop and think before you speak. People without filters just blurt out their thoughts without reflecting on the effect of those thoughts when they’re turned into words. Take a minute and decide if you really want to share your latest revelations, or if you’d be better off keeping them to yourself.
5. Pursue deeper relationships by deepening your self-disclosures. In the right circumstances, self-disclosure can be great. Don’t hold back if you truly wish to bond.
6. Listen to what your conversation partners are saying. The world of communication is based on people both talking and listening. Before you talk, make sure you understand what’s been said by others. If you’re not sure, ask.
Generally, the sequence of emotional intimacy is as follows:
(1). Courtesy speech.
(2). Small talk.
(3). Thoughts and ideas.
(4). Dreams and visions.
(5). Raw emotional intimacy.
The ability to gauge where you are at on that scale both gives you a picture of which experiment or social risk needs to happen next and a measuring stick to determine if the person we are having the communication with has reciprocated – thus giving us permission to fully to explore the next level with him or her.
The ability to practice that art form is the difference between building intimacy by way of self disclosure — and verbal/social exhibitionism.
Should we have to go through this order of fancy-footwork to get real with each other?
But, that’s really just the way it is and, we either follow those conventions – or we rarely get to connect at all.