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As I caught myself referencing my children, by name, to a co-worker, rambling on about their ages, what they’re like, how they get along with each other, how they’ve fundamentally altered my work & life balance as a parent — it hit me.
I have this conversation with everyone. Everyone knows my kids. It’s all I talk about.
It comes and goes in cycles, where I open the shell and share what my life is about, its shimmering joys, vicissitudes of pain and progress, the random beats to my offbeat tastes:
Then I feel like closing it.
I think of the phrases. Oversharing. Too open. Personal. Talkative. Unguarded.
I remember how little I glean from others directly and how much it comes from hyperobsverational acuity. And I do shudder at that.
How I’ve laid myself and everything so open now.
How open is too open?
In The Life Autistic, I could assure you all on our behalf that we’re not always the most socially keen on limits.
Oh, of course we know not to stand too close. Refrain from certain questions. Pry too much. Monologue on niche topics.
But is this a byproduct of socially misreading and overshooting what’s acceptable?
I’ve worked hard to strip the machinery from my humanity. To feel OKAY about sharing more about my life, laying open the book without coming across as some distant riddle to be decoded.
You hear the stories of folks where, you ask how their day is going, and by the end of the conversation you know their life story.
Those tales aren’t told in the best lights.
And I worry whether that is the tale others tell of me.
“I know H2’s life story, and I only just met him five minutes ago.”
“I’ve seen more pics of Mo and Zo than I have my own kids; I don’t even know whether those are their real names.”
“If you happened to forget where Hunter grew up and what he majored in, don’t worry, he’ll bring it up every other conversation.”
It is hard for us to navigate what’s socially acceptable if it isn’t socially harmful.
I wish I had a better answer, a guide in which I know “ok this is too much” or “this is probably fine, but it’s a little more than a regular person should be sharing.”
The shades of sharing feel nigh-impossible.
Too little, and you’re distant and cold. Too much, and you’re inconsiderate – or worse, “lacking boundaries.”
Where is “just right?”
3 thoughts on “How Open is Too Open? — Autism & Oversharing”
But I get too excited when someone’s willing to listen. I try to stop, but sometimes it’s too much. I share about my mental disorders and anime. That kind of stuff scares people away. I can’t stop and I see no point in stopping, because it would be painful. I can’t even keep my thoughts in my head. I am always walking across the house to tell my little sister about a thought I had. It was so small but I had to tell someone. It’s annoying even to myself and I don’t know how to stop. And I can’t stand talking about something I’m not interested in. Small talk is hell. I’d much rather tell stories or talk about the things I’m passionate about, and I’m happy to listen to them talk about what they’re passionate about. But I interrupt because my mouth won’t shut. I’m just a cup that’s full with thoughts and emotions and I’m overflowing.
I sometimes overshare at the start of a relationship just so it doesn’t get awkward down the line when they ask about certain things. Some friends I still haven’t told several integral parts of my life story just because it seems weird to this far in.
My biggest worry isn’t about what others will think, but about what my kids will think if I overshare about them. What if I’m saying something they’d rather I kept private?