Friday, January 8, 2010

Dis⋅cre⋅tion

The quality of being discreet, esp. with reference to one's own actions or speech; prudence or decorum: Throwing all discretion to the winds, he blurted out the truth.

I'm a sharer. If you catch me in the right mood (or even not the best mood) I'm bound to overshare until your eyes glaze over and you find yourself wondering what possessed you to become friends with me in the first place. Over the years I've had many stern talks with myself about telling too many private details to too many people and while I've gotten better, I still feel this need to tell people everything.

Yesterday I actually said the words "I'd rather not get into it" when a friend I've known for twenty years asked me a personal question. We were talking about something that I've been open about in the past, but I've gotten to the point that it takes too much energy that I just don't have to spare. I felt guilty about it at the time, but as I'm writing this I only feel relief.

Do you ever feel like that?

Is this something only I struggle with?

I've often joked that I can keep everyone's secrets but my own, and I guess that's because my secrets are the only ones I'm allowed to tell. And I like talking. And sharing. And learning secrets about other people.

I'm sure I'm not alone in that.

Anyways, it felt good to stand up for my mental health and even better to have that friend understand and then -- get this -- STILL BE MY FRIEND.

24 comments:

Jason Tudor said...

Human nature is never something you should feel chagrined about. Great insight and post, Mel.

WendyCinNYC said...

Oh, I totally get that. Despite all evidence to the contrary (i.e. having a blog), I actually *don't* enjoy sharing too much private, angsty stuff about myself. I'm a good listener, though, and since good listeners are hard to find, especially in NYC, people tend to tell me things.

But if they don't, that's cool too. I get it.

Allen said...

I like to share details about myself, but I guard a secret place where my inner secrets are hidden. I could tell you about them, but I would have to kill everyone who has an internet connection.

I like hearing about other people. I think this is why I read twenty blogs and only fill in information on mine once in a blue moon.

Perhaps you are just normal, strange as it might sound.

Janna Qualman said...

Absolutely. And we have to determine what that discretion means for each of us, individually. Good for you!

Adam said...

Sounds like me. ;-)

I have only one thing I keep secret, the rest is blurted to all and sundry, sometimes without them asking. :)

Adam

mary said...

Preaching to the choir! I share WAY to many details of my life with people, probably most of which they could care less about. I also have had many talks with myself about not sharing so much and trying to remember not to ask others personal questions that I myself do not mind answering. I have learned not to share as much about my husband though. He is much more private then I am.

june said...

Maybe it's a writer thing. Brings a whole new meaning to "I'm an open book," eh? ;)

Robin said...

That's so nice that your friend could understand and be supportive. I've always been too eager to share. When I was little my mom would say, "Robin, you don't have to tell people EVERYTHING. And if you must, leave out the stuff about me."

JLC said...

Very introspective post.

Sharing personal information is human nature and a form of bonding with others. We are always looking for patterns in life and when we share something personal and discover that the other person is the same way, a tighter bond is formed. However, I also believe that the truly special and personal events in our lives hold more strength when they are NOT shared. And the truly private/humiliating/sad moments in our lives should be saved for those we trust the most, or for those who could help the most.

When you do share information with me, it feels good to know that we have that connection. Even if we've never met in person. :D

Natasha Fondren said...

Oh yes. It's terrible. My one friend used to tease me, because he said there was no filter installed between my brain and my mouth. *sigh*

And everybody knows after-market installations are worth crap.

Jewel/Pink Ink said...

I am a sharer. I'd rather have something out in the open than festering.

And sometimes it gets me in trouble. :-)

For the most part though, I'd rather my life was an open book than the opposite. I think we have a lot to learn from each other.

Nadine said...

As you know, I'm a sharer too. I can't remember what was the word they called it in the film Lucas, but it meant verbal diarrhea. Yep, that's me.

But there gets to a point where I just don't have the energy to answer a question about something or it's too painful to go over again - and it has nothing to do with the person who asked it. So I completely relate to this post today.

Melanie Avila said...

Jason, I sometimes need reminding of that.

Wendy, exactly! People who don't know me as well assume that I share EVERYTHING here, and I like that I'm able to appear open without divulging everything. Or maybe I shouldn't reveal that, lol.

Allen, I refuse to believe I'm normal.

Janna, that's a good point. Certain people I wish would use MORE discretion, while others use to much, imo.

Adam, you CANNOT say something like that and then slink off to drink your tea. UNFAIR!

Mary, see that's my problem. Because I talk about a lot, I don't always realize I shouldn't be asking the things I am. But only sometimes.

AB, I think you're on to something...

Robin, that's hilarious!

Jen, that's a good point. I like being able to pick and choose who knows certain things about me, and that's a lot easier when I'm so isolated. People I see everyday tend to know everything about me.

Natasha, yes, verbal diarrhea. Especially if I've had a couple drinks. Oy. Very funny about the after-market installation!

Jewel, I do learn from other bloggers about how much to share. Some people put SO MUCH out there and while I admire that freedom, I don't think I'd be comfortable with it. I talk that way in person, but I don't let myself forget that people read this that I don't know about -- and it's here forever.

Nadine, I know you know what I'm talking about. I just wish you'd had a more receptive friend.

Adam said...

Haha ;-)

If you wish to know something, you need only ask. :D


Adam

Melanie Avila said...

Oooooooooh. I do have something I've been wanting to ask you, but I don't know if you'll divulge.

Adam said...

PM it if it's personal, but feel free. ;-)

Adam, open book.

Pam said...

As I read this post, I felt like you were describing me. But wait, we've never met. After reading the comments, I guess many of us share the same trait.

Interestingly, I notice that as I get older I keep more to myself, and I'm more selective about who I share with. Not sure why that is.

Great words, Melanie!

Erica said...

Great post Melanie!

Yeah I feel like that too, it's only natural. I'm a sharer too, I think people take that for granted sometimes... and think that every time you will tell something, but there are times that maybe we just want to keep something to ourselves.

A good friend always understands that, sounds like you have a good one there :o)

Melanie Avila said...

Adam, done. :)

Pam, I'm the same way. It is tricky finding a balance online, because it's easy to forget a lot more people may be reading what you write than you realize.

Erica, I'm glad I'm not the only one who has to think about this! I feel like for some it just comes naturally.

Adam said...

The things she asked, people! FILTH!

*Fans self*

Ok, maybe not. ;-)

Adam

Melanie Avila said...

It was un ESCANDALO!!

Adam said...

Isn't that a car?

*Snigger*

Adam

Cynthia Bronco said...

Did this have something to do with Quickwit and Wednesdays?
We all know what socks you are wearing, and you are right; there's no reason to re-explain it.

:) Hi Hoo!

Melanie Avila said...

Bronco, ha! No...