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In celebration of oversharing



Oversharing is one of life's fundamental shortcuts: why spend weeks, months and years getting to know someone when you can find out most everything in the first half an hour? You don't have half an hour? Well, you'd be surprised (and pleased!) to discover how much can fit into a few minutes.

It's not confined to Aspergers but oversharing is definitely an aspie super-skill. It's the beautiful love-child of brutal honesty and naïve chit-chat. Springing up when there is a need or desire to be social, it exists most in aspies who have worked hard to be able to hold conversations with others.

You see, if you have to force yourself to talk to people then the difference between normal social chatter and deeper, more revealing words becomes very blurred. It's not that you want to share everything - and you had no plans to share anything when you opened your mouth - but once the words start it can be hard to stop.

If the conversation is about the weather then you talk about the weather, global warming, natural disasters (and eventually Space); if it is about puppies,  it becomes kittens or mongoose or snakes - the narrative flow is like a hillside stream, it stays connected but goes where it likes.

So it is that an innocent conversation about the other person's house becomes a slow-reveal about your own house, and by slow I really mean you take a few sentences to describe your living situation instead of just one. Startled by oversharing the other person, depending on what they are like, will either tidy up the conversation and leave, try to change the subject (ha!) or be interested/confused enough to ask more.

Then you can overshare as much as you like. They asked the question! They want to know and you know the answer too, which is all the temptation needed to reply in full detail. There is sometimes a part of you looking on which wonders if this is the right thing to do, but mostly this part doesn't stir until well after the event.

At the time you are glad to share, with varying success at holding back anything personal. Someone who shows a vague interest in your life had better be ready for knowing rather more than they expected. And, of course, this is where you can leave yourself open to unscrupulous people who would rather use what they know than make a friend of you.

The times I have left somewhere and realised even as I walked away that I overshared again. Mostly I shrug it off, there are too many agains to worry about all of them. Sometimes I wince all the way home. A lot depends on the nature of the person who found themselves in the flow of that hillside stream, hopping about in it as it followed their every move.

So why am I celebrating oversharing? Categorically, it is worth celebrating. Trust me! For every wince, every moment where you know you have done it again and shown yourself up and might as well have held up a sign saying Different - for every one of those there are many times when the other person gets over their surprise and ends the conversation with a smile.

Blurt it out, readers. If it has to be out there, let it. Conversations are often going to be winceworthy and with a tendency to replay. But the other times, when oversharing works, they are what makes it all worthwhile. The people who respond to this are the ones worth keeping.

They may know far more than expected about me but often I come away knowing more about them too. There are quite a lot of people out there in this cynical world of ours who react well to oversharing. By being too open and overly honest with them you often find they repay the compliment. A fresh breeze springs up, the air is clear, the sun is bright and the honesty is there between you.

Truth, like oversharing, can be catching.

And the next time you meet, you don't have to talk about the weather.

Amanda



 A Guide to Your Aspie

 How to talk to your Aspie



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