An Open Letter To The Perpetual Over-Sharers

Dear Facebook Friends Who Won’t Stop Airing Your Incredibly Personal Dirty Laundry Via Status,

What are you doing?

Seriously, though, what are you doing?

Take a second and imagine, if you will, standing in a crowded public space – in your case, we’ll just say Wal-Mart – and yelling to 400 of your closest acquaintances about the extremely tense fight you had with your live-in significant other this morning. Imagine looking them in the eye as you convey wave upon wave of information that they neither needed nor wanted to know. Imagine having to pass by them afterwards on the way to the fishing/gun section and accept the looks of knowing disdain they toss your way, all too aware of the 10-day-long menstruation you just had to endure.

Is this image sufficiently unpleasant? Good, because it is for us, as well.

I know it may not seem that way, because you are tapping letters on an electronic typewriter into a buzzing screen that has so many words on it, but you are actually communicating with people. Just like all of those people you no doubt keep in touch with on your WWE and Paula Deen forums, your Facebook friends can actually read what you write, as well. So every time you talk to them about the prolific crap you just took or the deep financial troubles you’re facing, they are now aware of it and will integrate this new information into future assessments of you as a person.

It’s understandable that one would be inclined to use Facebook as a forum for one’s innermost unpleasantness, as it deceptively asks you “What’s on your mind?” at the top of its homepage, almost baiting you into revealing the most unfortunate aspects of your daily life. What’s on my mind? How about the bleeding herpetic lesions dotting the right side of my mouth? Seems a fair conclusion to draw. But, tempted as you may be to tell us all about your recent bout of hemorrhoids or fistfight with your mother-in-law, you must learn to keep in check the thoughts you allow to escape your fingertips.

For your benefit, I’ve compiled a short list of questions to ask yourself when posting a status update to find out whether or not the information you’re about to divulge is suitable for the general public:

  • Is it contagious?
  • Did someone orgasm?
  • Are social workers involved?
  • Are you contemplating divorce?
  • Are you bleeding from any southern orifice?
  • Did someone call someone a cunt?
  • Are you facing prison time?

If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, please save everyone the mutual embarrassment and keep it to yourself. Relationship problems are always better resolved between the two involved, and medical problems should be seen to by a professional. Indirectly informing your entire 8th-grade class about your seething hatred for your roommate is doing nothing for the situation, and is only serving to make people cringe when they see your name and think, vaguely, “Yeesh, what the hell happened to that guy?”

Don’t be that guy.

Best Regards,
People With Common Sense Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.

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