Oversharing, or being honest?

“I’ve found that if I say what I’m really thinking and feeling, people are more likely to say what they really think and feel.  The conversation becomes a real conversation.”

-Carol Gilligan

Over-sharing, or being honest?

Many times, I have found myself scared of being an over-sharer.  I do not feel comfortable in every social situation, or with every person, but once I am comfortable I share a lot about myself.  I know that I am an introvert, which means that I get my energy by spending time alone, compared to extrovert who get their energy from being in social situations.

Learn more about these  personality types here, or take a test to see what you are here.

I don’t feel the need to tell everyone about myself, but when I do it feels like I open a tap and can’t stop when I am with someone that I feel comfortable around.  Unfortunately, I feel like I can overwhelm those around me once I start sharing.  I think I am good at listening, so it is not that I am talking incessantly, but I could talk for hours when I am with someone that I like.

Also, I find that my filter disappears when I am comfortable around someone.  I do not mind sharing intimate details about my personal life or experiences that I have had.  I think that it is important to talk about experiences, even just to get things off your chest.  Doing this helps to process your experiences and the feelings associated, and creates an opportunity for another person to give some input and share their similar experiences.  I know that there have been times when I have said too much, or it seems like I have and then I feel guilty.  I feel guilty because I tend to enjoy being stoic and talk less about myself, therefore it feels like I am breaking a rule.  I know this is in my head, and rules that I have made that may not reflect how I actually am in life.

People need people.  We need to talk to others and feel connected.  It is unfortunate that people shut themselves off from others, and that being stoic is valued.  We need to feel supported and to support others.  The take away here is that sharing is not bad, but make sure that you are supporting those around you as well.  Listen.  Actively listen.

-GR

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Complain-y friends

I have been thinking about complaining a lot lately.  It is hard to be positive all of the time, and I think certain people in your life will always be the ones that catch all of your negative thoughts.

The problem:

What if you have a friend that complains, a lot. What if they are constantly complaining about the same things everyday. They may complain through text messages, therefore it is easier to ignore, but it could you feel like I you are being a bad friend.

I feel guilty for not engaging with certain texts, and for not trying to make someone feel better when they are feeling upset. But, how do you support someone’s negativity without succumbing to negativity yourself? I am already a pretty negative Nancy, although I tend to be optimistic when talking to other people. I was recently told that I am a very positive person. I admit I was shocked to hear this, but I think it is because I tend to save my negativity for those that I see a lot, or just try to keep it to myself. My husband can sometimes be really dragged down emotionally by my negative mood or views about situations or people.  How can I stop being negative, and then also try to be supportive to a negative friend?

The lesson:

I think that being able to see negative complaining in a friend makes it easier to see it in myself, and makes me want to change. I hate to think that I make my husband, or anyone else around me feel like my negativity is overwhelming or dragging them down. A friend, that is left un-checked, complaining could be never-ending, and the focus will be on the same things. Maybe I need to identify those situations or people that I am complaining about most, and then come up with positive solutions to change my view. I may be holding on to past events that are affecting the way I am looking at the future.

When dealing with other people, I think that I need to keep it simple. Try not to change them, make them feel better, or support their negativity. The only thing left is to ignore those texts. I hate to be unsupportive, or not try to help, but I need to see that they are taking advantage of me, and putting me in a situation that is not ideal. I imagine that they would do the same thing, or if reading this may agree. I do not think it is possible to be able to deal with that everyday. Essentially, they need to do what I am doing planning to do, and disconnect themselves from the situation or person and decide why they are feeling that way, but how do you say all of this in text message without coming off like a therapist?!

I cannot imagine that problems like this will go away easily, and this may very well be what the friendship continues to look be like. I need to realize that they are not like this all of the time, and that it has helped me to distinguish problems that I have in my own relationships that can be fixed.

Hopefully, at least the guilt of not feeling like a supportive friend will subside, and I can be supportive of my friends good moods and positive thoughts.

-GR