Well isn’t this quite the adventure! I’m so happy to get back to writing after a few months of editing and marketing focused days. I figured maintaining a blog would be a good outlet for me between the launch of Being Human and settling down to write the next book. I have to warn you that I am allergic to routine! While I truly plan to post every Tuesday, I cannot promise that this magpie won’t get distracted by a sparkly spotlight every once in a while (Smiles)
So as I sit down to write this, I am wondering what everyone wants to know. I tend to be an open and honest person. I like to show my human side to people because I find that we get enough of the mass corporate media telling us to be perfect. That being said, I recently had the experience of reading someone else divulge way too much about their inner selves, their horrific past, and their current challenges in a social media post. Part of me read it with that feeling you get driving by a car crash—wondering how bad things can really get, and part of me read it shaking my head at the lack of boundaries the author had between showing their humanity and inappropriately exposing themselves.
Where is that fine line?
I am searching for a clear answer to that as I research my next book on boundaries. What I do know is that we have different, healthy levels of trust and intimacy with different individuals and social settings. For example, I might describe to my daycare provider the color and consistency of my child’s runny nose when calling to say why he is staying home, but the cashier at the grocery store most likely doesn’t want to know the same depth of detail.
I find we tend to be unclear about how much we should share with people, just like we can sometimes blur the definition of some relationships. Some relationships happen by choice and some by chance, and I feel we need to be realistic about what we tell people that we did not necessarily choose to have in our lives. Do we need to be best friends with our mother-in-law? Do we need to be best friends with our boss? And if I realize that I don’t need to have an intimate relationship with my boss, does she need to know when I’m menstruating and how painful it is this month because I had too much caffeine and not enough exercise? When I make it funny like that it seems so clear. But you’d be amazed at how much some people divulge to others who don’t need to see all of their humanity.
Another guideline to follow is: Did they ask to be told? The social media post I read was not something I had been actively searching to learn about that person. There is quite a difference between developing a friendship and learning that you can trust them and then sharing some of your deepest truths during a conversation, and having verbal diarrhea in a public forum to anyone that “likes” your feed. The information becomes sensationalized and sometimes can lead to alienation.
Yes, I feel that we must be honest about our shortcomings. Yes, I feel that we need to have authentic relationships with the people in our lives and show our vulnerabilities and accept others’ vulnerabilities. But I feel that there is a time and a place for these revelations, and there are also relationship expectations and criteria that need to be met before we expose our soul to others. In my opinion, those are healthy boundaries—that is the fine line—that’s when it is healthy to the person allowing their vulnerability to be exposed, and healthy to the relationship that must flourish after the unpacking of “baggage”.
What do you think? Have you ever heard too much information from someone? What is your fine line between being authentic and over exposed?