Author Topic: When an acquaintance "overshares" personal information  (Read 5005 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

oceanus

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 693
  • pronounced o-see-ANN-us
When an acquaintance "overshares" personal information
« on: February 12, 2013, 10:04:30 PM »
Ever run into someone you had little more than a passing acquaintance with a long time ago, and they latch onto you and “overshare” – and that’s putting it mildly?  They tell you things which, for most people, would be kind of embarrassing?

It’s happened to me several times, but most recently this week.

I went to meet a friend for lunch, arrived in the area 40 minutes early, and decided to kill some time in the library (which is across the street from the café).  I was going to leaf thru a few magazines, but as I entered the main lobby area a woman waved abd approached me …………….we had met at a wedding reception over a year ago, and we kind of hung out together (at the reception) but I haven’t seen her since.  Frankly, I didn’t even remember her name.

She said she had come close to having a nervous breakdown because her ex-fiance had moved out while she was at work, stolen her credit card, her son is in an ugly custody battle, etc. etc.  I nodded, make a few sympathetic sounds.  After 15 minutes of this, I checked the time and said “Oh, I’ve got to run.”  As I eased away she said “We should get together”, and I just smiled and said “Take care.”

I didn't say "Yes, we should" because I have no interest in a friendship with her.

delabela

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 589
Re: When an acquaintance "overshares" personal information
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2013, 10:28:34 PM »
There have been times in my life where I'm a magnet for this. I usually try to say something positive ("well, you look great today!") and extricate myself without giving contact info. I am sometimes surprised at how few boundaries some people have.

Judah

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4769
  • California, U.S.A
Re: When an acquaintance "overshares" personal information
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2013, 10:38:11 PM »
There's something about my face that says, "Please tell me all your intimate problems." I've had perfect strangers tell me their problems. If it's someone I know, even a little bit, I let them go on and try to give vague platitudes in response.
Ask for what you want. Let's be clear on this one:
Subtle hints don't work.
Strong hints don't work.
Really obvious hints don't work.
Just say it!

-The Car Talk Guys

oceanus

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 693
  • pronounced o-see-ANN-us
Re: When an acquaintance "overshares" personal information
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2013, 10:42:41 PM »
Years ago I swore there must have been a sign on my clothing or forehead: "Tell me about all the men who have messed your life up".  But, I checked, and saw no such sign/sticker.   :-\
« Last Edit: February 13, 2013, 11:03:43 AM by oceanus »

doodlemor

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2194
Re: When an acquaintance "overshares" personal information
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2013, 11:48:49 PM »
I think that you handled this very well.  Next time, if you see her coming, start preparing bean dip.

We used to get this kind of thing at parent - teacher conferences.  Some people apparently need/want the catharsis of spilling it all.  Even when distracted they are likely to return to their favorite disasters.

Amava

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4751
Re: When an acquaintance "overshares" personal information
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2013, 01:59:50 AM »
I'm an "oversharer magnet" too. I really do seem to have "tell me the soap opera of your life" written across my forehead.
I don't really mind it, because I love listening to people's stories - after all, I seek out people's stories on the Internet to read, too.

The only things I've had to learn were:
- not to get emotionally involved. It's one thing to hear (or read) about people's problems, but I've learned to not let their burdens keep me awake at night.
- not to expect the same people to care about /my/ story whenever I need a listening ear.
 

CrochetFanatic

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 854
Re: When an acquaintance "overshares" personal information
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2013, 02:48:43 AM »
I get this a lot, and so does my mother.  I had it happen at work once when another cashier and I were talking in between customers.  She mentioned in passing that she was meeting her boyfriend after work, and when I said, "Oh, cool.", she looked at me like I was out of my mind.  She then went on a long rant about how he had terrible habits and she was only with him because he gave her new things and she liked new things.  She basically tore him down while outright admitting that she was using him.  I made some sort of excuse to leave the front for a bit, and was swamped with "busywork" for the rest of my shift.  I wasn't touching that situation with a ten-foot pole!

As for my mom, when some people find out she's a nurse, they take it as an invitation to discuss their bowels and such.  With other people standing within hearing distance.  When these encounters happen, and I'm around, I usually make myself scarce.  Also, people seem to get highly offended when, instead of doling out free medical advice, she tells them that they should go see their doctor.

I always feel like a deer in the headlights when acquaintances do this to me, because they always expect some sort of response/agreement.  :-\  Once, when I said, "I'd rather not get involved", the girl I was talking to sort of drew herself up and snapped, "I just got you involved.  >:("  Might have been rude on my part, but I just walked away.  I've got so many stories it's not even funny, but I think I'll stop there.

VorFemme

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12924
  • Strolls with scissors! Too tired to run today!
Re: When an acquaintance "overshares" personal information
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2013, 08:52:14 AM »
I have one SIL that is the youngest of several daughters.  She and her sisters share "everything".  As in very intimate details of their private lives.....

She wants to have the same level of closeness to her husband's sisters.

We don't want to hear that kind of detail about our brother......and what they do behind closed doors.

We know that they have two kids and we are niether OB/Gyns nor midwives - so please keep the rest of that to yourself.....please, please, pretty please with sugar & cinnamon on top.

There are certain people in this world that you do not want "that kind of details" - and I mean no details whatsoever about their *really* private lives - your grandparents, your parents, your siblings, your children, and their children are on that list (at least, to me).   

It took a little brain bleach...and possibly a Bunny FooFoo...or two...to achieve forgetfulness.

Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I say more?

siamesecat2965

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8687
Re: When an acquaintance "overshares" personal information
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2013, 12:16:11 PM »
Ah yes. COunt me in as being a magnet for people like this too!

Although in my two instances, it was friends who overshared in my presence. Once, many moons ago, a friend and I were doing weight watchers together. And as everyone does, we were chit chatting with the others as we were waiting for weigh-in. Now while its fine to say "oh i'm nervous, i didn't stick to the plan too well" and stuff like that, my friend is the queen of oversharing.  She launches into a diatribe about how she KNOWS she gained since mother nature had arrived, and so on. The poor woman next to us had the deer in headlights look!

And this same friend, another time, when we were all hanging out at another friends, overshared about her HUSBAND.  Several of us were jokingly taking about scrabble, but nothing personal, just generally, and having fun. She comes up and proceeds to tell us what postitions they prefer, and why, and also discussed ahem, size. mind you, her DH was in the other room!  we all cringed and told her to quit it.

And then there's my manager at work. Who is divorced, has a rat for an ex-DH, money problems, etc etc etc. She goes on and on to anyone and everyone about how terrible thing are for her. Looking for sympathy, I supposed but really its gotten old. Although she was told by our DM no more, so its stopped, thankflully, for hte most part.

oceanus

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 693
  • pronounced o-see-ANN-us
Re: When an acquaintance "overshares" personal information
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2013, 12:36:31 PM »
I remember when I used to take a bus from the building where I was working downtown and get off where my car was parked.

A woman I had NEVER laid eyes on sat down next to me and said “These men will really mess with your mind.  Last night, …”  Just then at that moment my bus came.  Thank you, God!   I walked away without saying a word.

Dalek

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 85
  • Am not amused!
Re: When an acquaintance "overshares" personal information
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2013, 12:52:16 PM »
I had a brand new coworker corner me in the break room one day as I was looking in the refrigerator. She kept telling me about her hysterectomy she had the previous year. I just wanted to find my
Carnation Instant Breakfast drink and get the heck out of there. No coworker needs to hear those details.
I don't want to live on this planet anymore.

oceanus

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 693
  • pronounced o-see-ANN-us
Re: When an acquaintance "overshares" personal information
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2013, 01:03:44 PM »
Quote
She kept telling me about her hysterectomy she had the previous year.

Yeah, it's incredible how people will share details about things like that, problem pregnancies, abusive relationships, financial problems, an incarcerated relative, :o etc. etc. with people they barely know or even haven't seen before.

Okay - venting is one thing.  Over-sharing is another.  There are limits!

I guess sooner or later they find someone who is not only fascinated by their story but willing to share their own stories, so they're willing to put up with several people walking away and rolling their eyes. ::)
« Last Edit: February 13, 2013, 01:37:13 PM by oceanus »

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 30595
Re: When an acquaintance "overshares" personal information
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2013, 01:17:50 PM »
Next time, don't wait 15 minutes.

The moment you realize what's going on, interrupt and say, "Excuse me, I need to get going." And go.


bansidhe

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2066
    • The Menagerie
Re: When an acquaintance "overshares" personal information
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2013, 02:50:51 PM »
I don't have a problem with people sharing medical stories (most stories, anyway) and it occurs frequently where I work. The thing is, we're in a "medical periphery" industry and most of us have worked at hospitals and the like, so it's the norm for us. Thus, I wouldn't bat an eyelash if a distant acquaintance told me about her hysterectomy or whatever and would probably ask all kinds of questions, as I find the topic interesting. Given the responses in this thread, I take it that's not the norm for most people. :D

Were that person to start talking about other overly personal topics, I'd go for making sympathetic noises and suddenly remembering I'm running late for an appointment.

As for being a magnet for oversharers, I'm not usually. I am, however, a magnet for women who are being beaten up by their husbands/significant others. They aren't oversharing, but are desperate and asking for help. Not sure why this keeps happening to me...

Esan ozenki!

Arizona

Julian

  • I lost it between Thriller and Gangnam Style...
  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 764
Re: When an acquaintance "overshares" personal information
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2013, 03:00:57 PM »
I also have a 'please overshare' sticker on me somewhere...

Once years ago I was at a friend's place.  Her mother was there too, with her friend, who I had never met before.  Friend of Mother found out I was a nurse, so she just had to tell me about the horrible surgery she'd had recently - only she didn't just tell me.

She hoiked up her dress over her head, pulled her knickers down to 'oh no, put it away' level and said 'What do you think of that?'  And stayed that way, trying to hold her clothes and point out the various scars, divots and otherwise and tell me exactly how they happened.

Friend and Mother and I were all just gobsmacked.  Jaws on floor all around the room.  Nobody knew where to look.