Interpersonal relations within the office, in the dating world, and on the social scene can be tricky. We here at Notable spend a lot of time trying to break down and assist with the trickiest of these issues and interactions. In chatting with young professionals, both on the job and on the scene, we’ve noticed one such issue coming up a lot lately, which is having a big negative impact on the relationships and reputations of many YPs. It is that room-silencing, awkwardness-causing, conversation bomb known as TMI, or too much information. Whether you are looking to avoid it, or avoid being the peddler of it, here are some notable points to help with the tricky issue of TMI.
The attention-seeking shockers and awers
Probably the most common culprit of TMI is that character known around the office or at the Friday happy hour as the one who loves to shock and awe with breaking news, the latest gossip, or inappropriate personal details. This person feeds off of our visceral reactions, our gasps and facial expressions, and revels in the attention he/she gets from being the bearer of bad information. This TMI character spreads info that is usually of the gross, horrific, or depressing variety – not the stuff we want to hear first thing Monday morning or over lunch Friday afternoon. The only way to stop this TMIer from relaying the gore details of that recent puppy mill raid, their latest one-night stand, or yesterday’s trip to the gyno, is to simply cease reacting to it. Stifle those gasps and resist those OMGs and this TMI bandit will come away empty-handed. If they know their shocking TMI won’t get the attention they seek, then they will look for a new audience elsewhere.
Social appropriateness trumps honesty
Another type of TMI personality is that of the brutally honest (emphasis on the brutal). Some people believe that telling the truth is always the best policy, and while it is generally a noble rule of thumb, like every good rule, there are exceptions. In the case of TMI, that exception is regarding social appropriateness. The workplace, as well as most social settings, is generally not ideal for deeply personal opinions or conversations. Of course, lying is not normally a good idea, but there is something to be said about keeping personal truths to ourselves and simply going along with the group in order to remain socially appropriate. Being true to ourselves and our position is important, and with friends and family it is a must, but leave the awkward, inappropriate, or controversial truths out of the YP realm to avoid being a TMIer.
TMI cannot be unsaid or unheard, and those words can have a long-lasting impact on your reputation and relationships. Not only can revealing too much personal information severely change the way others think of you, but even just talking about the nasty video you watched on YouTube yesterday or the horrific news story you read this morning can affect the way others perceive and interact with you. On the dating scene, in the workplace, and out on the town, people don’t generally like to be grossed out, depressed, shocked, or made to feel uncomfortable. If you become the guy or girl known for regularly relaying TMI that causes such feelings, you then become directly associated with that negative vibe. If you find your stories or opinions often resulting in awkward giggles, prolonged pauses, or ending conversations altogether, you may be want to reconsider your content and ask yourself before you speak: “Is this too much information?”