I love the idea of love. I even love folks that are in love, but sometimes, too much is too much. Here’s the deal: I have a 45-year-old girlfriend who, after quite some time, is back in a relationship. Of course, I am super happy for her and love hearing about the relationship’s progression, but she overshares — like, a lot. It’s gotten to the point where I cringe when I see her name pop up on my phone because I already know it’s about to be some out-of-order mess.
Once, she sent me a shadowy pic of herself cuddled in bed with her boo. Another time, she sent a pic of him sleeping (the blankets fully covered him) with a caption that read, “Ain’t my baby cute when he sleeps?” And finally, she’s shared and keeps sharing screenshots of some of their very explicit “sext” conversations. The nail in the coffin was the most recent message from her: She got a “certificate” from a “BJ” workshop and she showed me his reaction to her being such an ummm, “star student.” Do you see what I’m dealing with? Either I never reply to her messages or I reply with a very dry “Nice.” Again, I’m happy things are going well for her but how do I let her know that some things need to be kept between just you and your man?
-Tired of the T.M.I.
Dear Tired of the T.M.I.,
There’s a thin line between oversharing and being authentic, and I personally blame the emergence of social media. Decades ago, personal information was, well, personal. Now it has become a potential cry for attention and validation. It’s also now more socially acceptable to share on social media sites, and I’m not sure if your friend is doing that, but if she is sharing all her personal business with the folks in her phone, her old-enough-to-know-better ass is probably sharing it online. It’s fine to be honest and share your happiness with those closest to you, but a simple, “I love this man because he returns texts and cuddles well,” will suffice. But oversharing stems from a person’s intentions. Let me keep it 100 and get into why this heffa could be crossing the obvious line.
At some point, your friend probably watched Sex and the City marathon and noticed how oversharing about sex brought the girls closer together. That being said, she obviously trusts you, so she may not realize she is crossing any lines at all. She may be thinking she is being vulnerable and deepening your friendship, or perhaps she’s testing the waters to see if you want to join them in the BJ certification sessions. She could also just be genuinely trying to share the fact that she is happy after being out of a relationship for so long. There’s also the slim chance she could just be wanting to brag about the notch in her bedpost.
You have to nip this in the bud or the next thing you know, you will be getting nekkid pics and videos that you didn’t bargain for. Call her up, plan a brunch, lunch or meet up for drinks. You already know she’s going to bring up her bae and probably their latest humping session, so what you have to do is interrupt her gently and say, “Sis, I don’t need the details.” Explain to her that you are happy she is happy, but be firm and tell her to think about her man. Ask her why she feels the need to overshare with you and whomever else and explain it’s not okay.
Another way to approach this is every time you get a message from her with a photo or text, just remind her that you are uncomfortable and that you don’t need the details. Explain to her that you are always there as a friend if she needs support with other things. If none of that works, well, it’s time to work out that block button!
At this point, if she feels she just has to share her joy with someone, tell her to do like everybody else and use her social media as a diary. Someone will delight in learning all about her business. But as for you. T.M.I., just continue being happy for your friend and as her relationship continues to progress, hopefully the need for oversharing will cease.
If you have a dilemma you need help solving, drop me a line: firstname.lastname@example.org