TMI: The Fine Line Between Oversharing & Authenticity

Oversharing is Not Uncommon

Meeting new people can be very intimidating. Often dating anxiety leads men and women to overshare on a first date or at the beginning of a possible relationship. While it may seem like a great way to build a quick connection or get difficult topics out of the way, it isn't building a solid foundation for a stable relationship.

“Using vulnerability is not the same thing as being vulnerable; it’s the opposite—it’s armor.” -Brene Brown, Daring Greatly

Daters who share way too much information are often doing so out of anxiety. Everyone is worried about how they look, act, dress, etc. Oversharing can relieve that anxiety, but it can very quickly turn into a therapy session. 

Oversharing often happens despite the best of intentions. One may share something embarrassing to overshadow someone else’s shame, or try to fill an awkward silence to make their date more comfortable. Unfortunately, it can often backfire and actually make everyone that much more uncomfortable. 

Avoid discussing things like previous relationships, financials, estranged family members, and medical history. A good rule of thumb is to steer clear of any topics that bring up negative emotions.

Prepare for your date the same way you would prepare for an interview, review appropriate topics beforehand so you won’t panic anytime there is a slight pause in the flow of conversation. 

Do I Share Too Much?

Let’s do a quick self-assessment; ask yourself the following questions. 

  • Do I know as much about the lives of my friends, family, and acquaintances as they know about me?
  • Do I talk a lot when I get nervous?
  • How often do I look back on conversations with regrets?
  • How often do I catch myself saying things like, I shouldn’t be telling you this, but...?
  • Do I often share intimate details about my life with strangers or acquaintances?
  • Do I fill lulls in conversation by any means necessary?
  • Have I ever shared something about myself to:
    • Cultivate a connection with someone?
    • Make someone else feel comfortable?
    • Take the focus off of someone else?
    • Gain someone’s sympathy?
    • Get someone’s attention?

Conversations should be reciprocal;  be sure to practice active listening. Pay attention to your date’s body language. Are they sitting back, looking away, or playing on their phone? TMI means you run the risk of making your date uncomfortable and alienating them before they even get a chance to know you.

Building connections through vulnerability is one of the best parts about dating and new relationships. Getting to know a person on a deep, personal level is a beautiful, challenging experience. Do you find yourself sharing too much because you crave interpersonal connections? 

Unfortunately, when you share TMI early on, it doesn’t speed up the relationship process like you might hope. The early stages of a relationship where couples keep things light while they get to know one another is key to building a solid foundation. Sharing your personal story can be empowering—at the right time, in the right place, with the right people. 

Five Expert Tips for the First Few Dates

The most important thing to remember early on, especially in those first few dates, is to remain present. Stay in the moment and just enjoy one another’s company. This is the easiest way to combat any first date fears. 

First things first. Take a deep breath and relax. And remember, your specially-trained matchmaker is here to help coach you through every step of the process for the first few dates and beyond. 

1. It’s Not a Date

I promise you, everyone has fears surrounding the First Date. So much so, I often hesitate to even use the word date for a first meeting between matches. Meeting is really the better word.

Date has a romantic connotation, and while matchmaking is obviously a service for people seeking romance, it would be unrealistic to expect every single first date to end in a love connection. 

We can eliminate some of those first date fears simply by eliminating the word date. 

First meetings should be quick; I always encourage my clients to have a short, 30-minute drink before committing to a dinner date. Whether you get coffee, a craft beer, a green juice, or a pre-dinner cocktail, keeping things short and sweet will help keep everyone’s anxiety at a minimum. 

If that goes well, you should go for an activity next. Not only is sharing experiences a natural way to bond, but it will also help you both to loosen up and have a little fun while you get to know each other. 

When you sit across the dinner table from a complete stranger, people tend to notice and panic every time there is a slight lull in the conversation. When people get nervous, they talk too much. When you’re actively participating in an activity together, those lulls are less noticeable.

By the time you go on a dinner date, you’ll have plenty to talk about. 

2. Turn Down the Pressure

First date fears often occur because people put an enormous amount of pressure on themselves, their date, and the situation. Some go into every encounter with the opposite sex hoping it turns into marriage and a white picket fence. Others are so picky they will write their date off in the first 5 minutes for something trivial.

Both of these approaches are incorrect.

Let’s think about it from a business perspective. When you were a novice in your career, you didn’t go into every single job interview expecting to not only get the job, but to retire from that company. Alternatively, would you turn down your dream job because you didn’t like the break room? 

3. Get Your Mind Right

You should go into every first date looking for three things you like, appreciate, or enjoy about the person. That’s it. Just three. But by focusing your efforts on finding positive traits in the person sitting across from you, you can overcome the silly things that put you in a negative headspace.

So you hated his shoes? If you’re really looking for lasting love, overlook the shoes. Does his lifestyle align with yours? Do you have similar goals in life? Did he make you feel safe and special? Did he match your sense of humor? Was he charming? Kind? Handsome? Punctual? Try to focus on the things about him you would like in a partner, even if you know he’s not a fit. 

4. Pay Attention to Red Flags

In addition to making a concerted effort to find three things of value, it’s equally important to gather information about the things you don’t like. Especially if those things enter into deal-breaker territory.

If you learn she has a pet you’re highly allergic to, that’s probably not going to be a long-lasting relationship.

Take mental notes.

Everything that happens between the two of you is data and information that will be helpful to your matchmaker in facilitating your next match. Sharing three positives in addition to all the reasons you know he or she is not The One with your matchmaker will help in your search to find love.

Even bad dates are good dates because you learn what you don’t want, and so does your matchmaker. We use each and every interaction to fine-tune your profile so that we can find someone who ticks off your most important boxes.

5. Don’t Start Planning Your Wedding

Let’s say you’re matched with a wonderful woman. You meet up at a new smoothie spot and things go great. That weekend, the two of you play a round of golf together, and you take her to dinner later in the week.

It all goes better than you had hoped.

You’ve now had two very positive, promising interactions with a woman you’re attracted to and have common interests with. It’s impossible to keep the daydreams at bay.

This is where I urge you to pause and set realistic expectations. 

There is nothing wrong with being hopeful and dreaming of happily ever after. We all wish for that.

Dating can be and should be fun. It’s natural to have hope that this develops into a relationship filled with love and trust and acceptance, and all the things that Maslow told us humans need.

Feel the butterflies. Get excited while you get ready. But, trust in the process, and don’t get ahead of yourself. Just take it one date at a time.

Allow love the opportunity to grow and develop naturally without any unnecessary pressure or stress. Stay present throughout each date, give it your undivided attention, gather data, and don’t get in your own way. If you are able to do all of this, you can overcome anything the first few dates bring.