Have you ever been in a situation where someone is guilty of delivering too much information to you? It occurs in a variety of forms. It can be a co-worker, someone waiting in line ahead or behind you or on an airplane. Very often, the nature of the relationship or the venue will dictate that the subject of conversation is wholly superfluous. Regrettably, there aren’t too many tactful methods by which you can let the offender know that they are telling you altogether too much. The “too much” can be defined by too personal, too detailed or too graphic.
One method is to change the subject. Our current political skirmishes provide for alternatives such as, “What’s your take on the situations in Washington, DC?” or “Are you following any of the political developments that we’re seeing?” If that’s too touchy for you or you don’t feel comfortable in that milieu, pick something that’s specific to the situation in which you find yourself with the overzealous speaker.
The opposite condition is that where you are incapable of identifying or soliciting any information whatsoever. Many people suggest to me that while I am capable and willing to share my opinion when asked, I seldom volunteer information about my life or me. My rationale is that if people need to or want to know anything that I know, they simply need to ask. If they don’t, my assumption (yes, I know that this is a dangerous word) is that if people require any sort of data from me, it’s their responsibility to request that info.
Is there a respectable and acceptable space between verbal diarrhea and zippered mouth? For the sake of not hearing information that the source would regret with sufficient analysis, I find it necessary to diffuse or discontinue the details. In the area between those extremes is what I would call reasonability. If there is a need to tell me about something, someone or some situation to assist you in any way, proceed. Likewise, if your life will be enhanced by some morsel that I can share, please ask. If neither of them is true, let’s agree that brevity is as good as discretion. Shalom.