Keeping your personal life private isn’t such an easy task. It’s flattering that people genuinely care what we’re doing with our days – where we’re living, what we’re doing for work, who we’re sharing our lives with, when we’re going to make our next career or relationship moves, why we’re doing what we’re doing, and how we’re going to achieve all of our life’s goals. It’s also frustrating when we’re not quite where we want to be yet, know we’re not, and then have to talk to people about why we’re not where we want to be and then listen to their suggestions, as if we haven’t already thought of those ideas ourselves. We add fuel to these fires ourselves by the information we share on social media platforms and then have to face the repercussions. If you’re looking for some ways to get off the grid (even if it’s just for a little), this should help.
1. Be Boring.
If you don’t want people to know what’s going on in your life, bore them to death. At least that worked for former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter when he spoke with reporters. By saying “I don’t know,” or “No comment,” to follow-up questions, the interviews would end without anyone gaining any information about Jeter or his teammates.
While most of us aren’t celebrities, the basic tenets still hold true with your friends and family: if you don’t answer or your friends and family don’t care for your answers, they’ll either stop asking questions or tune you out. That doesn’t mean you have to live a boring life. Jeter had more than enough fun as a bachelor in New York, as some leaked information about his practice of giving one-night stands autographed memorabilia on the way out of his place, revealed. The kicker is that Jeter now runs a sports site, The Players’ Tribune, where professional athletes control the information released to fans and the media via first-person stories. Apparently Jeter didn’t want to divulge any information about his personal life, but is fine with others giving up their secrets on his site.
2. Don’t Overshare.
Just because you had a funny thought it doesn’t mean that you have to instantly figure out how to express it in under 140 characters so you can Tweet it to your followers. You don’t have to post every pretty picture you take on Instagram the same way you don’t have to litter your political views all over your own (and other people’s) Facebook walls. Whether you realize it or not, what you put out there can be seen by anyone. You have a private Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter account? Big deal. What’s stopping one of your friends (who you may not even know in real life) from sharing your posts all over their public pages? Nothing. Even if you think things you say or do will only stay in a small circle, when it comes to social media, expect it to move around quickly. Except if you actually want the information to spread. Then no one will probably be interested in the house you’re trying to sell, your upcoming play, or the Kickstarter campaign for your latest invention.
Not only does this mean refraining every now and again from using your cell phone, which has become an extension of your right hand at this point (and any other technology you use daily), it means being able to say “No” and focus on what you need to do for yourself. That friend, the one who always wants to get lunch or a drink, but asks prying questions the entire time and then criticizes your decisions, only to tell your friends about your lunch a few days later, even though you asked to keep everything you said between the two of you. You know the one, right? Yeah, don’t hang out with that friend anymore or at least make sure it’s only in small doses, in a large group with your other friends, or when you know you have an escape plan. Rid yourself of the things in your life that you can. Sure, you need to use technology at work, but what about when you’re officially off the clock? Let go. You’ll be fine, and possible even much better than fine. You may be great.
4. Know Your Limits.
Determine the things about your life that you’re willing to share with others and the things that you don’t feel comfortable with. As long as you set the foundation, you won’t feel tricked into accidentally giving up more information about yourself than you originally planned to a friend, family member, colleague, or anyone else you come into contact with. You decide the topics you’re comfortable speaking about and can carefully choose the words that come out of your mouth. Don’t let anyone else take your power away from you. You control the message or information about yourself that you want to let the rest of the world (as tiny as yours may be) know.
5. Save Some Secrets For Yourself.
That’s right. You don’t need to tell everyone every little thing that you do. As long as the information you’re holding in won’t do harm to yourself by keeping it in or to others by not revealing it, why not have something that’s your own? It feels nice to know things that other people don’t, right? Yeah, yeah it does.