Oversharing is caring … right?
As a college student with trying to make friends during a pandemic, I thought being open was the best way to get close to people. I managed to convince myself that the conversations I was having about my personal life with people I’d just met were hilarious. Looking back now, I can tell that—more than a few times—I crossed the line between comedy and TMI. Turns out a lot of those laughs I heard were in fact…nervous laughter.
It’s a line that humans can cross in real life at this pandemicky time when we’ve forgotten how to human, and—by the way—it’s also a line that comics can cross on stage when they’ve forgotten to PROCESS (or at least journal) before they write a joke. And no matter what, I’d like you to get real laughs, not nervous “Where is she going with this?” laughs. So here are a few tips to help you tell the difference.
1. How well do you know this person?
If the total amount of time you’ve spent with this person is less than a few hours…probably not the best person to tell about your deep childhood trauma, even if it cracks you up. Sadly, word vomiting won’t usually bring you the close connection you’re craving.
2. How long should this conversation last?
If you’re just acknowledging them in passing, the fewer details the better. Save the rant about your roommate’s insane sleep schedule for your bestie on FaceTime, so you can ruin her sleep schedule too.
3. How many people are around?
Having been both the overshar-er and the unassuming eavesdropper, I can assure you: people can hear better than you think.
4. Is this something you would be fine with everyone talking about?
People talk. A lot. I should know.
5. Have you properly processed whatever issue you’re joking about?
Let’s face it. If you still cry about it at night, the sympathy laughs you’re getting are really masking thoughts of “Oh my God. Does she need help?”
6. Would you laugh if someone else told you this about themselves?
Or would you recommend a therapist, perhaps?
7. Are they a licensed professional?
Speaking of which, a therapist might tell you you’re using humor as a means of coping because you haven’t processed your trauma, but hey, you’re paying them to listen AND they have to keep things confidential.
Let’s see what you’ve learned. Here’s a helpful quiz to determine whether you’re oversharing, or if you’re just a good old fashioned comedian.
- When the girl you met last week asks “How are you?” when you wash your hands at adjacent sinks in the bathroom, do you answer:
- Good, how are you?
- I could be better. I think I just failed a math test worth 25% of my grade.
- I’m good. Definitely better than whoever has to clean up after the girl who threw up all over that last stall. Or the girl for that matter.
- Ugh, the worst. The guy I was hooking up with just tested positive for gonorrhea and now I’m worried I have it. If that happens, I’ll be gone-orhea from the dating pool for the rest of the semester.
- When your boss asks you what did you do this weekend do you answer…
- Nothing much.
- I spent some time with family and finally went to a concert I’ve been wanting to go to for ages.
- I stood looking in the mirror for three hours trying to see if my reflection would do anything different than me.
- Panicked because I thought I was pregnant but it turns out like I was just late but like I had already texted the guy and he freaked out and drove south so guess that relationship is over
- When you are asked in a job interview ,“So tell me about yourself,” how do you respond?
- With a brief and compelling summary of your resume.
- With your resume and a couple of niche hobbies.
- You ask if they’d prefer your elevator pitch, escalator throw, or stairway chuck before you tell them about your career experiences.
- You tell them about how you only got fired from your last job because your boss caught you sleeping with a coworker in the supply closet which was totally unfair because they were just jealous.
- When you’re on a first date and they say, “So why are you single?” how do you respond?
- You leave, which honestly is appropriate if they basically ask what’s wrong with you right away.
- “I’ve been waiting to meet the right person.”
- “I am a nun.”
- “I am hella prone to UTIs.”
- When you haven’t posted on your “private” story with over 100 people do you post:
- Thirst traps
- Links to BuzzFeed
- Mental health infographics that are so niche it is clear that you made them exclusively about yourself.
If you answered mostly 1s: You don’t overshare…but you also maybe undershare?
If you answered mostly 2s: Nice job on the boundaries.
If you answered mostly 3s: Good jokes come in 3s…you’re pretty funny!
If you answered mostly 4s: You are probably oversharing with someone about your oversharing issue WHILE you are reading this.
Additional writing by Tessa Abedon.