Too Much Information – Why People Should Think Before They Speak

Mon, Apr 12, 2010, by Frances Lawrence

Social Networks

What makes some people so free with information that would be much better kept to themselves? I have never understood what prompts people to air their dirty linen in public on television shows, but it seems that a lot of people lack boundaries in real life too.

Why do people feel the share every intimate detail of their lives? Are all these reality television shows influencing the way that people conduct their lives or perhaps it is the trend to discuss everything on Facebook or Twitter. In general I try to be a fairly helpful and friendly sort of person, nothing out of the ordinary, just on the boring side of normal if you know what I mean. So I really can’t work out what it is about me that makes all sorts of people tell me about their problems.

The supermarket is a particular trouble spot for me. A couple of months ago I was minding my own business, looking for the items on my shopping list when I bumped into someone that I knew slightly because years ago our children were in the same year at school. I was too late to dart off in a different direction and pretend I hadn’t seen her so I manage a polite ‘hello’, and before I could stop myself the foolish question ‘how are you’ slipped from my lips. Time slowed down and my eyes glazed over as she related every intimate, embarrassing and cringe making health problem she has had in the last ten years. I did my best to compose my expression while my brain frantically searched for a plausible excuse to escape. When I finally reached the freedom of the car park I vowed to be more careful in future, but it is so difficult to avoid the phrase ‘how are you?’.

Another person who I know slightly because our children are friends bumped into me in the fizzy drinks section of the supermarket and after the briefest greeting proceeded to tell me in graphic detail about the trouble she was experiencing with haemorrhoids - far too much information! Then before I could do anything to stop her she embarked on a tale of woes about her marriage problem! At work people tell me about problems with their children, their partners, their health and various unmentionable issues. I don’t think I am especially sympathetic and I don’t give amazing advice, I usually tell them that they understand their individual circumstances best, so they are best placed to know the right answer for them.

People don’t seem to think before they speak. If they reveal personal information they no longer have control over that information especially if it is shared on a social networking site. It may help to confide in a best friend or a family member when facing a problem, but why on earth would would anyone want to argue about the paternity of their child on television? What does it say about the people concerned, and what will the child think when he or she finds out about it? Does it realy help for a couple with relationship problems to air them on television, how can they ever put things back together when every intimate secret is public knowledge? There is a lot of wisdom in the lot saying ‘least said soonest mended’.

It seems to me as if we have allowed our standards to slip, people have more freedom than they did in past generations and that is a good thing, but we need to use our freedom wisely. The details that you reveal about yourself today could become a ball and chain that you will have to drag through life with you. We all make mistakes and we all have things we would rather forget, but if you have drawn attention to those things it is very hard to leave them firmly in the past.

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23 Comments For This Post
  1. Val Mills Says:

    Well written. This does seem to be a sign of the times doesn’t it! I like your saying, least said soonest mended. I can’t believe I’ve never heard that one before.

  2. diamondpoet Says:

    I completely agree with this article, here in the South these people are overly friendly to me, they tell complete strangers all of their business, I should know I was a customer service rep. for Time Warner Cable. Way too much info for me some days.

  3. Christine Ramsay Says:

    I totally agree with you too. I find if I go quiet they soon get the message, and I can’t bear thos tv programmes where people are airing all the laundry in public. A great article.


  4. LoveDoctor Says:

    Excellent article. This is very true. People share a lot of stuff with me too and I sometimes wonder why if I am not even a psychologist. Health problems is what they usually talk about and how do you cut them off without being rude? Well, I guess in some cases you have to be rude. When handling people like this, just say, “Excuse me, but I really need to go and leave. If they keep talking, just walk away. I learned this principle in a book that I read. Some people enjoy listening to their own voice I guess or just crave attention.


    haha sometimes people ned to relieve themselves of some gnawing infoprmation and unfortunate you are there so they just vomit everything on the first receptacle they meet.
    greeat article

  6. giftarist Says:

    It’s good to keep quiet at times. I like this one, very well-written.

  7. Ruby Hawk Says:

    Frances, I’m trying to work that one out too. I don’t understand why anyone wants to tell the world every private bit of information in their life. How they get people to go on TV shows puzzles me. They must be paid well or sometimes I think they are actors.

  8. fishfry aka Elizabeth Figueroa Says:

    Thus is the reason God gave us 2 ears and one month. To listen more and speak less.
    Great article well written

  9. ladym33 Says:

    Some people certainly do give out too much information. I think sometimes people are just loney or have no one to talk to so the first opportunity they have to talk to someone they let it all out.

  10. Authoress Terry E. Lyle Says:

    Great article and the insights are spot on.

  11. athena goodlight Says:

    perhaps it’s part of the publicity stint for the people in the entertainment world.

  12. lillyrose Says:

    maybe some people share as a way of hearing it out loud so they can sort it out in their own head.

  13. Sharif Ishnin Says:

    Like Val I ‘ve never heard the term ‘least said soon mended’. It sounds vaguely familiar though. I guess that’s why there’s an action called “talk to the hand”.I fully agree with this discussion.

  14. Ruby Hawk Says:

    Frances, another I like,

  15. CA Johnson Says:

    I agree with your article too. People come up to me and tell me things even if I don’t know them. I don’t want to be rude and tell them to leave me alone so I end up listening to them.

  16. wonder Says:

    A great one about maintaining decency.

  17. Intuitive Says:

    very true and a v. interesting topic.

  18. lsk123 Says:

    You pin pointed a touchy thing, almost everybody overlooks the fact but actually it is worth it.

  19. Diverseblogger Says:

    Agreed1 Thank you for sharing this :)

  20. SharifaMcFarlane Says:

    People sometimes just want someone to air their troubles to-even if that someone is a stranger. It’s kind of like a confessional.

  21. Jean Chevalier Says:

    SharifaMcFarlane, Of course it is a confessional, and a good one at that. What’s the harm to confessing something to a stranger and letting it out of your chest? Certainly less than telling it to a friend or relative that will remember later. And besides if I a stranger tells you off or starts being judgmental you know how to deal with that: by dismissing the stranger’s opinion right away -he’ a stranger after all- you won’t feel bad if he doesn’t agree with you. The person who’s been dishonest in all these encounters is the writer, not the persons disclosing. If the writer felt embarrassed he ought to have said so to the persons in questions, not to us. Saying that to us is no more no less than spreading TMI yourself! Got that?

  22. Kaiya Says:

    I have to disagree with this article because I think people forget an important key point in the reason why people do that. Think about society now, everyone is independent and mind thier own business, but some families even go as far as not allowing even thier children talk about their feelings or atleast learn why we must keep somethings to ourselves. So who in the hell do these people are supposed to talk to or who can even learn from? Its not other peoples fault that thier parents didnt help them to understand what you do. Reality is, whatever people dont understand or dont know when they are young, appears in thier adult years.

    If the family system was better in the western culture, we would not have this problem, nor would we need to pay for counselors or therapist. Think about it!

    As long as people dont share thier sexual information, or thier suicidal attempts thats a big no no obviously. But medical issues, daily stress, family or friend issues, or even social issues is perfectly ok! They just need someone to talk to or need some help understanding what to do!

    In my personal opinion, i think its selfish and insensitive when people get cranky or annoyed over something so silly like this. Learn to help eachother, not ignore eachothers problems, even your own problems, otherwise it kills society, even an entire country. And people who ignore thier personal feelings end up with more health problems, garenteed. The number one cause of death of the entire planet is unresolved issues or misunderstandings.

    Ignorance is what makes people messed up, an A*** hole, or just plain stupid. Period.

    Take a damn psychology class!

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