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.