Did I Share Too Much?
For you to be asking the question, means that you spent time with someone. You opened up. You allowed yourself time and space to be heard.
When you are the one who is usually doing the listening, sharing yourself can feel like you handed over the key to your diary and let someone read what you wrote.
If you are used to focusing on others in your conversations, then beginning too many sentences with the word “I” can feel like you have betrayed yourself or the person you were talking to. You are more likely to be comfortable opening up about yourself in small increments and very occasionally.
Plus, you recognize that being a good listener supports the people in your life, so when you are talking, you feel guilty for being the center of attention instead of giving all of your attention to another.
I recently went on a hike with a friend. I really wanted some exercise after having sat in class all day, and I didn’t want to exercise alone. So when I heard a couple of classmates talking about taking a hike, I asked if I could come along. They were both amenable, until one realized that she had a conflict in her schedule. Now it was down to just two of us.
With just the two of us going and my being completely new to the area, I was glad to yield to my friend’s choice for what route we took. She was excited to hike a path into the woods located just beyond a home she had lived in years before.
What a delight that hike was! With every step, my friend recounted a cherished memory. I got to know her so much better, which was a gift and a Joy to me. But the next time I saw her, it was clear to me that she hadn’t felt exactly the same way.
Though our time together had been enjoyable for both of us in the moment, after she had had some time to reflect on it, she realized how much of herself she had shared. That wasn’t something she had planned on, and she was uncomfortable with how it had gone.
When we aren’t talking about posting something to social media, to share something always involves the word “with,” since to share means to divide something and give a portion to someone else. We share pie with someone. We share news with someone. We share ourselves with someone.
To share yourself with someone means that you are passing along information about yourself, dividing the knowledge between you and the other person. In the moment, that can feel wonderfully and appropriately intimate as long as you know you are sharing with a trustworthy person.
But when you take the memories of the talk home with you later, dwell on them, and pick them apart, you start to regret what you shared—thinking that it was too much. It isn’t that you shared too much. It’s that you thought too much about it later.
Is it possible to share more than you ought? Of course. But since you’re not in the habit of over-sharing, the chances that you shared too much are small.
You spent time with someone you trust. That person listened to you. You took the opportunity to be heard and shared more than you usually do. Why? Because a trustworthy and compassionate person was actually listening to you and absolutely caring about what you had to say.
Since the person wanted to hear, and you enjoyed sharing in the moment, what’s going on?
Fear of Intimacy
The fear of intimacy usually plays itself out in relationships that we actually want. That’s what is so frustrating about it. And these relationships can be found in your family, among your friends, with your co-workers, neighbors, classmates, or the people you worship or volunteer with.
Types of Intimacy
It can take place in class or at work: a fear of sharing your ideas with your classmates or co-workers. It can happen relationally. As in the case above, you may be afraid to share your emotions or your memories or your thoughts with another person—not without regretting them later. Even the physical closeness of the experience of walking might have felt like too much, as you thought about it later.
Two other types of intimacy may frequently stop you in your tracks. Spiritual intimacy. It can be really scary to divulge your beliefs about God with someone else. Sexual intimacy. That one is outside of the scope of this post and relates to sharing your thoughts about sex, as well as having sexual relations with another.
How to let go of the fear of having shared too much
- Based on all that you know about people, you would not have shared all that you did unless you trusted the person who was listening. You weren’t drunk, overly tired, weakened by illness, or otherwise impaired when you had the conversation.
- Everything you shared is still a part of you. You simply divided the knowledge of it by passing a portion onto a friend. Let that person hold onto it. Allow yourself to be known in this new and (relatively) small way.
- You are valuable. By sharing with your friend you allowed the opportunity to be valued by another.
Don’t deny yourself or your friend that gift.