Friday, 9 March 2012

To Share Or Not To Share

My Village's fountain...

No wonder I feel a bit lost in London. Over the last few days, in France, I have had a stark reminder of how much French people like to over share. To be fair, I dont know whether it is a French thing. It might be something they do around St Tropez. I really wonder. I have seen lots of family and friends in my familys village. I hadnt seen some for years I am in denial here, we are probably talking about decades. Sigh. I am not getting any younger. And let me tell you this: nothing is off-limits. They simply told me everything about themselves, sometimes with painstaking details. In no particular order, I was told about pets issues, knee operations, restaurant menus, this years flu, failed relationships, headaches and heartaches, and also hospital care in a nearby town.



Dont get me wrong, it is nice to have the latest news of the community. But why did they have to share intimate details with me? As an example, I had a full description of an old aunts bowel issues, with an exhaustive explanation of how hard it was for her to go to the loo.  I am sure that I shouldnt over analyse it. Maybe they were just feeling at ease and wanted to share what was happening. Maybe I should be flattered: I must be a good listener. I didnt stop them (but sometimes really wanted to).

To make matters even worse, they also expected me to share everything with them. I simply couldnt. I kept it at the bare minimum. There was also a certain voyeurism in their questions, which surprised me. Being curious is perfectly normal: I left so long ago!  But lets not push it please

Is it a cultural thing? In London, you are expected to suggest rather than describe and maybe, without noticing, I am now more British than French. What about you? Do you think that it is acceptable to over share? When do you stop and, more importantly, how do you stop someone who over shares?

In short, its good to be back.

27 comments:

  1. I'm not an exceptionally chatty person, so I hope I don't overshare. And when people overshare with me, I just make fun of them. Which discourages them from oversharing again.

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    1. I like to talk but, just like you, I don't overshare. I tried to discourage them from oversharing but they didn't get my (too subtle) hints. must be doing something wrong...

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  2. I think people share too much when they don't have much to do. Perhaps people in London are busier! :)

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    1. You certainly do have a point here. We are far busier than them and I am grateful for that...Having said that, when can I buy you a quick cup of coffee?

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  3. Hi Muriel...Nice to see your thoughts again :+))May your spirit find its moments of restful peace.
    In my experience, many old-er people have diarrhea of the mouth. I've wondered about the reasons. Is their brain so full that they must keep trying to empty it? If living alone or with someone who often shuts down on them, when they find a new ear, words spew out without thought. Plus, the bodies of old-er folk are less resilient and poo & pee issues become a hot topic! Seriously! I tend to be a listener yet, lately, I've found myself wanting to be the one who is listened to (I just hit 64!). As I became wiser (ha!), I've learned to say, "No. Not right now." Or, "It doesn't fit for me." No explanation...just the bare, honest truth for me when my listener tank is empty; when I need restoration. Some may think me impolite and wonder what has happened to that nice person, Dody. What someone thinks of me is their business, not mine. That's a good way to get a busy-body or worry-wart or spirit-nabber to shut their door on me. Great friends remain. Best of luck with this :+))

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    1. Glad you enjoy my thoughts Dody...I am sure you are right about older people, but I hope that I will not grow old to have, as you say, "diarrhoea of the mouth". I really hope not. I felt I couldn't really stop them from talking and I felt really weird. Maybe and need to be more direct and stop them. That said, I am not there very often I suppose I will just have to let it go and then forget!

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  4. Maybe village life is less exciting so people discuss everything in detail to get the maximum chit chat out of it.

    I certainly don't want to hear graphic details of intimate stuff and say things like "Do I want to know that?" to give the hint. :)

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    1. I tried it and it didn't work. they just don't stop and after a couple of "hits" I just shut up and listen until they were finished. Not really nice 9especially the graphic details) but what can you do?

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  5. There is a certain introversion about village life - it reminds me of Ringsend, an area by the docks in Dublin about two miles from the centre. The bridge into the centre was closed for two months for repairs leading to a local to comment it was a shame how "Dublin was cut off." A Big City is probably lonely and not the best place to seek solace but it is probably the best place to get on and do things. Which is probably why we cluster together!

    P.S. Bowels are fine today!

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    1. I am glad that all is well with you. I really don't know whether it is village life or something else, but I ended up knowing a lot more than I had bargained for....You may be right, people there believe that they are the centre of the world, just like Ringsend.
      I thought that you wanted to go back to the countryside? Is it still on he table?

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  6. Context is everything. In this particular situation, people ought to have been extremely sensitive to you, and followed your lead with regard to the tone and level of 'sharing.' Clearly and sadly this did not happen and understandably left you feeling drained. Some people are so needy they take advantage of every situation to spill. This is inappropriate and insensitive. Hugs Muriel, glad you're home.

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    1. Thanks again for your help and your support Elizabeth. I don't think that people meant any harm, they were just very self centered because most of them haven't really left the village...ever.
      That said, I am also very glad to be home. Actually, that's an understatement...

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  8. They need Facebook. Then they can share to their heart's content, and the rest of us can Hide the Story on our newsfeeds. Would you like to teach them how to use a computer, Muriel?

    I'm finding that it's the 20-somethings who won't hush up about themselves, their latest relationship snaffus, their agonizing angst. But maybe I'm just not around older people as much.

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    1. You are right, they need FB...But I don't see FB making a break in my childhood village. Some things will never change!

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  9. It just hit me...the young are trying to find their voice in their world. Once we mature and find our niches, there is less need to be heart. The old-er folk are trying to keep having their voice be heard in the world. Perhaps..food for my thought! Enjoying all the comments!!

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    1. Well, the older ones were definitively very chatty...Glad you are enjoying this post!

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  10. I am very chatty and I feel people over share at times. But I feel, many are just waiting to vent out. They don't have company, maybe they don't have someone who will listen without judging. So it is like say it all and get it out. I don't think it is a cultural thing; it is an individual thing as far as I look at it! ;)

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    1. If it is an individual thing, they had all caught the chatty bug! I am glad to be back. maybe I am just going through an asocial phase...

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  11. haha... yes, plenty of people like to overshare around here. usually about gross stuff like every detail of childbirth or something i really don't want to know about. :) i try to stop them by saying something like "stop, please, you're scaring me.' sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.......

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    1. Well, let's just say that it didn't work....I find it really hard to stop them without seeming rude. I suppose I just have to listen to them and wait until they stop!

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  12. Some people seem to think that sharing their deepest thoughts/details of their knee surgery will make you like them; how wrong they are! We live in an age of 'TMI' - 'too much information'. There are definitely some things best kept to oneself.

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    1. Maybe next time I should put a sign? "Please do not share too much information". Hmmm Worth a thought. I agree, some things are not meant to be shared.

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  13. I have been known on occasion. I usually walk away wondering why the hell I was babbling on so much.

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    1. I also believe that they were talking because they were emotional and felt at ease. I don't resent them for it, it just felt odd at times...As for babbling, well, if it makes you happy, then it can't be that bad!

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  14. I believe the level of information shared is a function of the level of closeness or intimacy. This is of course the ideal, or at least, my ideal and personal belief and practice. Do I stop 'oversharers'? Not usually. However, I don't encourage it when it also causes me discomfort. I let them share but I don't ask further details maybe hoping they would stop for their sake. If they don't, then it's their problem and the risk is for them to take. Maybe they do it because they trust me?...and I don't take that lightly :-)

    P.S. It must've been refreshing for you after being away for so long.

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    1. Just like you, I do not tend to stop over sharers. I just keep silent. It was refreshing, because in London people are very careful about what they can and can't share...

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