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Talking Loud and Saying Way Too Much: Life in the TMI Age

Updated on November 29, 2011

When Did Talking Become so Hard?

This is a question I've been asking myself for over twenty years. And if you're wondering why, well, let me explain. It's not just hard for me, I've realized it's hard for a lot of people but complicating matters is the influx of technology that has besieged my generation and the generations following. But don't get me wrong, the generations before me have endured a lot of change but not to the extent where a simple conversation can make or break your career, social, personal, and spiritual lives in more ways than one.

This hub is about communication in the digital age as well as everyday conversations.

Ch-Ch-Changes in Technology

Some innovations in technology have reshaped how we communicate, for better and for worse. Here are some social applications that have altered our landscape in recent years.

Facebook: It used to be that you would go on dates or meet people face to face to get to know them, now all you have to do is Google them to find their Facebook profile. While in some cases it's good, in other instances- the mystery of getting to know someone has all but been completely removed.

On Facebook you can pretty much say what you like, don't like, read (or act like you read), watch, eat, and I'm sure there's a way to find out what your cousin wears to class. My point is, that Facebook has taken the excitement of getting to know someone over a period of time and reduced it to the digital equivalent of an index card on the first day of school.

Now this is not to knock Facebook, because it has helped people keep in touch with long lost relatives, solve crimes, request for help when they couldn't reach anyone else. But with great freedom comes great responsibility.

Twitter: Twitter has made it so that you can say what you think in 140 characters or less. Sometimes it's moving, sometimes it's funny, and sometimes it's completely ridiculous. Who would have thought we'd be talking about celebrities and everyday people getting into Twitter wars?

Twitter is helpful in maintaining and developing business and employment opportunities. It also has created the need for some people to share the most inane details of their life. Such as what they think about couch covers, what they ate, and other deliciously boring highlights of their life.

I'm all about personal expression but I think I can vouch for many of us, that Twitter has taken saying what's on your mind to another level.

Text Messaging: I think texting is a necessary evil. It helps get out quick communications for situations where a whole conversation isn't mandatory, but if you text the wrong person you can get into a philosophical discussion.

And what I deplore most about texting is the abomination of language it has aided in. Instead of people writing okay or even ok it's been reduced to k. As a writer, it makes me want to scream. Don't even get me started on these abbreviations for things I have to consult urban dictionary for... I digress but like I said it's necessary to a certain extent.

May I add that people don't even ask for a date anymore with their voice, it's a text message that usually says something like "wanna hook up." Now if you're my cable guy fine, but otherwise at least form a complete sentence.

Texting makes me long for the days of calling people.

Treading Lightly: Topics You Should Approach with Caution (Or Not at all)

You've met them. You know them. And you're probably looking at their profile page right now. Who am I talking about? It's the one person you dread talking to. Not because you hate them or anything, but you hate the fact that they talk about everything you want to know and then some.

Of course we all love people who can express themselves and their feelings openly, but it seems like this person has crossed the line. Now, of course there are exceptions to this like relatives, close friends, and your spouse/significant other but even with them you have to tread lightly about what you talk about. Here are a few topics you might want to steer clear of in polite company.

Politics: The election season is heating up and so are people's opinions on the candidates. While I understand people talking about issues that affect their lives, it's also important to remember not everyone is comfortable discussing such topics. Many workplaces have now barred people from discussing politics and religion. I believe if you want to talk about the issues, you should join a caucus, write a political blog, or talk to someone who shares/understand your point of view. But the last thing I want to hear during lunch is your diatribe on why so and so should be the next president.

Religion: Another obvious topic that to me is more controversial than beneficial. This usually applies to mixed company with whom you don't have a close relationship with or attend the same church/synagogue/temple, etc as. But I'd like to add, even if there is a person you are close to you might want to avoid talking about religion with. It's better to care for them at a distance than to risk permanent estrangement by espousing your religious views.

Social Issues: Now while this would somewhat qualify as political, but what I classify as social are things like generational differences, gender roles, and morals/values. I like talking to people about different issues, but I don't like being classified as the token "young person" in a discussion. What we all have to realize is that everyone is different and even though there are categories to classify our appearance or demographic but not our outlook or opinion.

Personal Health issues: I think this is a topic that merits discussion in particular situations. For instance, I have severe allergies and I don't mind talking to people who suffer themselves or have children with similar issues. But this isn't something I advertise about myself, I share only if the situation deems necessary. And that's what I would say to anyone with a certain condition or medical struggle not to dramatically insert this into an otherwise casual conversation.

Romantic/Sexual History: While there are many situations where it's okay to really talk about this, like say when you're in a relationship or when you have to have "the talk" with your preteens, there are many others where no one wants to hear about it. I've worked with people who unfortunately didn't grasp this concept and painted a detailed picture of their love life without me asking for a sketch. And I don't just say this applies to co-workers or acquaintances, it goes for family members too.

Family Issues: If your family resembles a Norman Rockwell painting, this doesn't apply to you. But for most of us, it does. That being said, no one should be privy to the fight you had with Cousin Ray ten years ago at Thanksgiving or the family secret your grandma let slip last year. Please keep family business as such, within your own family unless some situation dictates you to share.

While there are other topics that I could talk about, these are the most repeat offenders I've seen in my experiences. Like I said earlier, if you can share in a realistic way that doesn't offend the company you keep or other people in your life, then by all means go for it.

Don't Ask, Because I Won't Tell

This last capsule is dedicated to those individuals in society who unfortunately don't grasp the concept of a deeply personal question. Like many celebrities, I wish to say no comment and walk out because it's getting to the point of absurdity in some cases. Questions are meant to promote conversation in a real and honest way, not make you feel like you're being held captive.

Are you married?- Mary Tyler Moore had the most ingenious way of dodging this question in the pilot of her eponymous series, but most of our issues in life don't work themselves out in thirty minutes or less. That in mind, this question is not only rude and invasive but it's none of your business.

What are you?- We all know looks are deceiving, but that doesn't mean you should question the person you are conversing with's heritage. Race is still a sensitive issue that for many people present uncomfortable memories and associations. In our multicultural society, it is easy to want to inquire about someone's descent but for the sake of your safety and well-being, don't.

How old are you?- Everyone says it's rude to ask a lady her age, but it's rude to ask anyone over the age of five. Some people think it's cute to ask, but it's not. I am almost 24 and people still say, "Sweetie, how old are you?" And while I usually answer with my age, to keep things moving along, I really want to yell, "None of your business, but if you must know, old enough not to be called sweetie."

What religion are you?- I've only been asked this once and I obliged this person because I somewhat understood what they were aiming at. However, it was still rude. If people want to share their beliefs with you, they will. Don't push them into an awkward situation by doing something you will more than likely regret.

Are you gay, straight, etc?- If you remember that episode of Friends where poor Chandler was set up by a co-worker with a gay man when Chandler wasn't gay, you get my drift. It's nobody's business what someone does in their personal life but theirs and if they decide to share, that's fine but otherwise don't set yourself up for failure and a possible talk with HR.

Would you like to meet my daughter, cousin, friend, etc.?- While this has not happened to me, I do know someone who once had a deadly affinity for matchmaking. Unless you are Patti Stanger and get paid to set up people, don't ask. And if you just saw the question above, that should clue you in as well. People don't want you involved in their lives so intimately. This goes for anyone including relatives, co-workers, neighbors. If they are meant to meet, they will.

Now I hope this helps you or someone you know because nobody wants to be the one person everyone avoids because they overshare or want to promote oversharing.

I look forward to your thoughts and insights as always.Thanks for reading!


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    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thanks so much vellur for coming by and commenting!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      Talking way too much and revealing more than necessary is like inviting trouble with your arms open wide. Great hub. Voted up.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thanks for coming by and commenting Janine! Yeah texting talk has hurt some people in the ways that they write. For me it's quite easy since I don't text all that much but it's interesting point :).

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hey Sunshine! I definitely understand that, everyone has their moments but some people use everyday as a moment to share too much!

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Loved the Mary Tyler Moore reference here. I believe she was supposed to be divorced in that show when it started, but back then it was too controversial, plus they were afraid people would think Laura Petrie got divorced from Rob Petrie, so they had to nix that plan. You are right though about people usin text messaging language for everything nowadays. I remember when they had just starting occurring and my business teacher in college stressing to the class that it was not ok to write this way in a business letter. So I can totally relate to that. Am sharing and voting up too.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Hi Alecia! We could all learn a thing or two from this informative hub! Way to go! I've been there and done that a few too many times!:)

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thanks Express10!

    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 5 years ago from East Coast

      Spot on. This should be required reading for people of all ages.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Brett,

      Thanks for stopping by, commenting, and sharing. I think we all should interact more face to face! Thanks again :).

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 5 years ago from Thailand

      Up, awesome and funny ... I agree with almost all that you say! Especially Facebook and texting. I closed Facebook and changed my ways to text/call people to arrange an actual meet up (where possible).

      SOCIALLY SHARED ... a great hub.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Turtlewoman,

      I think people should be proud to share about their lives but there's a line that needs to be drawn. Nobody needs to know the moment you conceive let alone how your baby drops deuces! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    • Turtlewoman profile image

      Kim Lam 5 years ago from California

      Hi Alecia, you made some good comments about people expressing too much information on Facebook. There are people who post really personal and uneccesary status. My friend, who just had a baby a few months ago,constantly lets the world know about the condition of her baby's "pooping patterns." Just weird.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Laura,

      I agree that all of these things are useful but as with anything, you have to know what you are doing. Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Cyndi,

      I think some people get too caught up in the internet and what they have access to, that common sense seems to be severely lacking. Thank you for stopping by and sharing as well :).

    • laurathegentleman profile image

      laurathegentleman 5 years ago from Chapel Hill, NC

      This is an awesome subject for a hub! :) I wish I'd thought of it first ;)

      I think Facebook, Twitter, and texting can be useful tools for building relationships, but they can also be too much. What a great Hub! :)

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Now here's a great hub!! I think this should be required reading before you venture out to the "internet". :) Voted up and SHARING.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Yes, Jeannie you are totally right about that! But as reality television has shown itself to be more and more staged, you'd think people would take the hint. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      This is a great hub! I agree - people are so open now and overshare all the time now. I think the internet is a big part of that problem. I also think people watch too many reality shows, and they are starting to think ridiculous antics and drama is normal. I fear for the future!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thanks Cogerson! Yeah, I'm sure they'll be another TMI story for me to hub on sooner than later, especially with the circus of the election going on!

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 6 years ago from Virginia

      I love this hub...and it has two Mary Tyler Moore references. You make awesome points and all these changes in the TMI era are quick and constantly changing...voted up and awesome.