Ask Dr. Joy: Social media over-share

By WEEK Producer

May 15, 2013 Updated May 15, 2013 at 7:03 PM CDT

In this edition of Ask Dr. Joy, what to share and what-not to share when using social media.

Therapists always tell their clients to be cautious in sharing information with those they just met.
Keep it light and don't go into serious topics for the first meeting but a lot of people are meeting on social media and not face-to-face.

It seems some people do suffer from "over-sharing" and face the guilt-laden consequences and hits to their esteem and confidence. Facebook is one of those place where people BYB (blab your business) too freely.

How does social media play into over-sharing?

* People can feel a false safety on sites like facebook, being able to put up somewhat of a barrier between the reader and the sender.
* People feel a false safety thinking that only "those they care about" will see what they write.
* People feel a false sense of sharing too much because it is similar to "reality TV' where every single piece of mundane life is acceptable to share.

What's a common thread with over-sharing?

* Researchers believe over-sharing has many causes, but one might be poor boundary delineation. This is when someone doesn't understand proper social limits and boundaries.
* Researchers also believe that some people over-share to subconsciously mask their anxiety.
* Over-sharing sometimes is a facet of trying to do "impression management" of what others might think of you. We may try to say the right thing, look wise, clever, or witty and end up just saying too much that exposes us.
* Researchers also say that many people try to establish and re-establish connections by sharing intimate details to connect which of course may lead to more over-sharing to try to fix all that was said.

What are some keys to manage your potential for over-sharing?

* Know yourself: be aware of situations in which you might over share or say too much.
* Be aware: Will sharing make you feel better or will you possibly be face with consequences?
* Is this person safe: Are you opening up to someone you can trust? Will this person support and honor your secrets? If not, then keep it to yourself.
* If you over share: Don't go back to it. - perhaps the person will forget the discussion - but if you need to apologize don't make it into a big deal. Keep it short and move on.

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