Some people are great sharers. You will always know what they are thinking and feeling because they will tell you. Usually, I’m one of them. You’ll know where I stand on issues, topics and projects.
Then there are those people who share a little too much. I realize that bonding over ailments is something athletes (professional and recreational) do regularly. “A stress fracture, yikes, I’ve had one of those and here’s my story,” is a fairly common conversation during a run, in that context. Only. But telling me at work about your stomach issues, or other very personal maladies, will make even me uncomfortable.
There’s a great article from the CNN about 13 Things To Keep Private At Work. I emphatically agree with all the points.
Now, for how to address these all too common faux pas. If you notice your co-workers avoiding you or their body language indicates they are uncomfortable (blushing, leaning away, etc.) you might be over sharing. There are different bench marks for different topics. Such as would you tell a total stranger on the metro about your health issue? Would you let your children overhear you talking about your ex-wife that way?
I’ve found it is much better to err on the side of caution and share too little than too much. If the person wants to know more they’ll ask and if you are comfortable sharing, then go ahead. Otherwise keep your mouth shut.
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