As living and breathing members of the age of overshare, it’s hard to hush our busy minds and, subsequently, mouths. But the consequences of banging on about your every single being and doing – be it by slip of the tongue, check-in or selfie – can be worlds worse than winding up with the occasional egg on your face. Some experts believe oversharing is an attempt to boost a delicate self-esteem, and may be indicative of poor personal boundaries. Furthermore, in revealing too much about ourselves we invite unwanted judgement, misunderstandings, even identity theft. So the time has come to stem your tide of verbal diarrhoea. Here’s how:
Adopt an air of mystery
We are all inherently mysterious as we are all – by our very making – unique, so adopting an air of mystery comes from staying true to yourself, living life on your terms, and not seeking validation from others. Start by keeping your life under wraps in unfamiliar company. Try talking in facts instead of airing your opinions or experience, and stick to one-word answers when people pry. In the words of famous undersharer and actress Emma Watson, “The less you reveal, the more people can wonder.”
Think before you speak
About to launch into a lengthy retelling of what you had for lunch? First ask yourself, What am I gaining from sharing this information, and what might someone else gain from hearing it? Then take a silent second to consider your environment. You might be excited to share the saucy details of last night’s date with your desk buddy, but would you want your boss hearing them? Your co-workers have ears, you know, and words have a way of travelling swiftly upstream in an office.
Enough about me…
A failsafe way to stop oversharing is to quit talking about yourself and focus on the people around you. Try and slip more “you”s than “I”s into your conversations, ask open-ended questions, and actively listen to what others have to say. It’ll make you a better friend, for one, and according to AARP Magazine, keeping mum can also be good for your brain health, while research has shown that the quiet, less impulsive souls among us tend to be more intelligent.
Go easy on social media
The digital space is positively swarming with oversharers, spawning the ludicrous notion that ‘if it didn’t happen on Instagram, it didn’t happen’ and likewise, the pressure to make relationships ‘Facebook official’. Remember that your online activity is out there for anyone – from your grandmother to a prospective employer – to see, so pause before you post and consider your audience (a certain US president provides a good example of what not to do on Twitter).
Applying the old, ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all’ adage instantly clears out a sizeable chunk of chatter and, according to The Mind Makeover Artist, Nicci Roscoe, could lower your stress level. “Bitching can be a form of jealousy and eat into our own confidence and ego,” she told HuffPost. “It can become all-consuming if you let it and the stress it brings will lead to lack of sleep and exhaustion, which can effect your work and personal life.”
Put it in writing
If you’re one to rant, let your pen do the talking. Keeping a private journal will see your woes healthily channelled into writing and your thoughts neatly gathered and organised – negating the need to knock them about with others. Journaling is also linked to numerous benefits such as increasing happiness, boosting memory and strengthening self-discipline – which every oversharer could do with a little more of.