How to deal with an oversharer
When talking with friends, do you ever feel like you should have a cartoon bubble over your head with the words "She didn't really just tell me that..."? Some people just can't help themselves from sharing too much information about their personal lives. Here's how to handle it tactfully.
"In an effort to achieve greater intimacy with friends, sometimes people (read: women) lose track of healthy boundaries," says Shari Corbitt, PsyD, senior executive director of Promises Treatment Centers.
The reality is that some people have a much broader definition of what they enjoy sharing than others. If you're on the receiving end of one of these conversations, handling your discomfort without offending or hurting your friend's feelings can be difficult. Essentially, it boils down to respectful assertiveness -- which is simple but not easy.
Dealing with an oversharer
Here are a few gentle but assertive ways to deal with a friend who "really did just say that":
- "You're a really special friend to me, but I don't really want to know quite so much about your sex life. Does that make sense?"
- "I really value our friendship, and when we spend time together, I notice you share way more than I do. Does it seem that way to you?"
- "Sometimes I feel confused about why you share so many private details with me."
Ultimately, there is a lot to be said for those who don't "kiss and tell," but not everyone is so discreet. For those who aren't, the freedom to share is very important to their own emotional wellbeing.
Finding a balance
Finding a balance between no info and too much is a challenge for any woman, let alone a shy one. That said, sometimes listening to those sexy details is a good thing.
Many of us have questions about sex and our own sexuality -- and most of us turn to our friends for information. Once you get a little more comfortable listening to the details of your friend's fun Friday finales, you may get some answers to a few questions of your own.
After all, you might wonder about issues such as orgasms (frequency, intensity and being multi-orgasmic), sexual exploration (role playing, toys, fantasy), sex games or sexual positions -- and how others feel about them.
Listening doesn't mean you have to share your own experiences, unless you want to. And if your closest friends are really sharing too much information, ask them to spare you the details. A little mystery never hurt anyone!