My name is Mudmap and I’m an over-sharer.
There, got it off my chest.
The problem is, I come from the health industry. In health, sharing personal details is positively reinforced. Not only have all the clinicians heard it all before (and they are keen to top your story with a grosser one – a competition that one is keen to win), they are also incredibly interested in the details. They ask informed and intelligent questions and listen intently to the answers. And then you get excellent considered feedback. And possibly a diagnosis.
Now I like to think I am not totally self-absorbed, but it is rare to get a really good quality conversation about yourself and your every twinge or symptom.
So after two and a half decades of this training, I changed industry. And now I have to remember “real people aren’t quite so interested in discussing either my or their every symptom”.
So here are my twelve steps to give up my addiction:
1. “how are you?” is not an invitation to answer literally or in detail. If pressed for detail on health, high level symptoms are much better that detailed descriptions. Adjectives are best left out of the descriptions.
2. Casual enquiries about health are more socially acceptable (see above). It is not appropriate to enquire in depth as to people’s health.
3. I am not a clinician therefore I shall not diagnose others, no matter what disclaimer I issue. Not even as a hobby.
4. Sometimes listening is better than responding when someone has chosen to share an issue.
5. Someone offering a symptom up is not an invitation for an interrogation. Polite interest has its limits.
6. Conversations about symptoms are not appropriate for the lunch or dinner table. Even if someone else started the conversation.
7. Trying to gross people out is also not socially acceptable, albeit somewhat amusing.
8. No-one is quite so interested as I am in what I read in the medical mag, nor what photo they had to illustrate the afflicted body part.
9. Stories about bizarre ways to die is not a socially acceptable conversation. Nor is conversation about the likelihood of various types of deaths.
10. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing (repeat three times).
11. Sound effects of symptoms are also best left out, even just descriptions of sound effects. Not everyone has iron guts developed from listening to someone vomit in a bucket while you eat dinner.
12. There are certain classes of symptoms and ailments that are really best not shared, particularly in mixed company, no matter how common the ailment. This includes anything hormonal.
Hopefully this will let me pass as a normal human being.