Tuesday, August 7, 2007

the fine art of TMI

‘So last night, I hooked up with a guy and he was so good I had multiple orgasms.”

“The food was great, but then I came home and got so sick. My poop came out green!”

“Since my boyfriend and I can’t have sex with the Nuvaring inside of me, he likes to take it out during foreplay.”

All of the above statements can be considered TMI. For those of us not hip to the lingo abbreviations of kids today, TMI stands for ‘too much information.” This is often said to someone who has clearly over shared something typically considered private. And over sharing is definitely something that I am guilty of.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve never been afraid to speak my mind. And if you read this blog on a regular basis, you’ve probably realized that I am very opinionated. I just so happen to do a lot of thinking (guys may refer to this common female phenomenon as ‘overanalyzing’). Over the years, I have trained my brain-to-mouth filter to not be very discriminating. It’s gotten to the point where I believe that my brain-to-mouth filter has stopped functioning altogether.

This blog has probably become the epitome of my over share. It is only out of respect for the real people I blog about that I occasionally censor myself. This isn’t fun, as I prefer to be as truthful as possible. But I can understand that not everyone wants their business out there. For me personally, I couldn’t care less. The more open, the better.

My TMI/over share habits evolved over time. You know how sometimes, when you’re talking to someone, you’ll be thinking of something that is probably not appropriate to say? But still, this is what you’re thinking and this is probably what your fellow conversationalist is thinking too, but neither of you say it? Well, the first time I actually verbalized my thoughts (that I knew were shared by the person I was talking to) the reaction was expected: “Oh my God, I can’t believe you said that!” I thought about that for a second. Really? If that person was thinking it too, why is it so hard to believe that I actually said it out loud?

So why the TMI/over share? I believe there are two reasons why people do this. The first is the shock value. Usually when you say something that society/our culture deems inappropriate for casual conversation, people tend to be shocked and appalled that you would have the audacity to say such an inappropriate thing. Eventually, the shock value is expected and loses its appeal.

Because my years of over share have desensitized me to the expressions of shock, I believe that my main reason for over share is the second reason: people who over share know that other people have their little quirks, idiosyncrasies and no matter how crazy the statement, the people they are talking to will understand. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve over shared and the person I was talking to has said, “That happens to me too” or “I totally know how you feel.” Somehow, in sharing something so personal, both the person who over shared and the willing listener both feel less weird and more normal.

I experience this every day at work. I happen to work in an office that is very, very open. I know that the subjects we discuss out in the open would definitely be considered unacceptable to discuss in a normal work place. The combination of my blog and the ease with which we discuss inappropriate topics at work have led to the shutdown of my brain-to-mouth filter. I can’t say that I miss it. Moreover, I love my co-workers because they have made the over share feel commonplace. We all put everything out there, with no fear of judgment.

And as I look into career advancement opportunities (interpret that as you will), I fear that I will miss that lack of judgment.


sunchaser said...

I love my co-workers because they have made the over share feel commonplace. We all put everything out there, with no fear of judgment.

That sounds like a really cool group of people you've got there,
and I guess you do know how lucky you are! :)

I have a tendency to do the TMI thing too (surprise, surprise) and I've gotten the “Oh my God, I can’t believe you said that!” too :) Y'know what, I think people need to just learn to deal with it! As long what I'm saying isn't offensive or mean-spirited, does it really matter?

Madame M. said...

Damn gringos are wound too tight. Silly Puritans.

(I overshare.)

lizzie said...

sunchaser--my sentiments exactly. people need to relax.

madame--maybe we should start an oversharers anonymous group.

can you imagine how fun our group sessions would be?