1. You wish simple, one-liner answers would occur to you.
A lot of the time, having an overexplaining problem sucks. People might think you’re showy or pretentious because they think your long-winded explanations are a refusal to engage in small talk or some other intellectually lofty ideal. Not true. If it occurred to you — if you could remember that it was sufficient to simply answer “It’s fine” — you’d give up your overexplanation in a second. It’s not fun.
2. There are a crippling number of sides to every story.
Overexplainers are pushovers when it comes to giving every side of the story a chance, so when they have to explain why something might have happened, it’s almost impossible to know where to start. Sometimes the easiest thing to do is just to start at a random point and try and detect if the person is following what you’re saying. I try to discern the angle I feel most strongly about and start from there.
3. You have never finished explaining anything to your satisfaction.
You actually don’t have much of an idea of how to wrap up an explanation at all. Most of your explanations trail off and end in something like “do you know what I mean?”
4. You never know how you feel about something.
You could literally answer the question “What are you thinking?!” with “I have no idea” truthfully. Overexplainers have a problem filtering information, and as I’ve written above, we have issues not seeing a limitless number of sides to the story. So when someone wants to know how you feel about something — a political issue, celebrity gossip, a shady move your mutual friend recently pulled — there is just no way for you to respond. You feel all the ways about it.
5. Your worst fear is when someone replies with “I don’t understand.”
6. You are awesome at deep (drunk) discussions.
You could win a gold medal in exploratory tangential riffing that’s designed not to get to the point. Unfortunately deep, drunk discussions tend to be 90% bullshit and 100% forgotten the morning after.
7. Distilling your opinion into a single idea or set of ideas is impossible.
The most anxiety-inducing thing you could do to an overexplainer is ask them: “Describe yourself in three words or less.” Do you get how unrealistic this is?
8. You are extremely sensitive to people getting bored with what you’re saying.
Since you have PTSD from the moments deep into explanations when you’ve realized that the person is simply waiting for you to finish talking, you are on high alert for any signs of a person’s attention drifting away.
9. Some of the most triumphant moments of your adult life have been when you responded to a tough question succinctly, accurately, and to your satisfaction.
You can distinctly recall the few times you’ve crushed it with an explanation — one that included all the information you wanted to convey and answered the question satisfactorily — as if they were on par with real major life accomplishments, like passing the bar exam or hitting a homerun in the final at bat of your kickball league’s championship game.
10. Hell is other people who can not understand what you are trying to convey to them.
Hell is real and for overexplainers it is when you are trying to get an idea across to someone who is not connecting to anything you’re saying.
11. Questions that require a complex, comprehensive answer are nightmare territory.
A funny thing about overexplainers is that their explanations are literally endless. In other words it is impossible for them to get to the point. When simple questions like “How was Italy?” are headache-inducing, think of what happens to an overexplainer when a big, open-ended question is thrown at them. Something like — Why do you think she acts that way? Do you know how many possibilities — how many reasons — there could be for someone’s personality traits? The prospect of having to cover all of them is panic-inducing.
12. The world is full of glaring contradictions.
One benefit of being an overexplainer is that you see into the matrix of the typical (inaccurate) ways people frame situations and events — in a black/ white, right/wrong/ yes/no manner. In other words, when your friend decides, for example, that a particular person in both your lives was wrong for doing something, you’re unable to get on board with your friend, because you know your friend has probably done similar things in the past. You know YOU’VE acted similarly in the past. There is no cut and dry, there are no straight lines, it is never a clear picture. It’s always murky, tangled, and obscure.
13. Finding someone who understands what you mean is everything you could ever ask for.
When you find someone on your wavelength — someone who can interpret your overexplanations — and picks up on exactly what you mean, you’re in heaven. Never let go of these people.