We all know someone who tells everything, about themselves and sometimes everyone else. It is hard for that person to maintain relationships because they give the impression that nothing is off limits … and often that is how they act. For most of us, who appreciate degrees of privacy, that type of person usually wants to receive that same type of overshare from others… and it’s not gonna happen. Everything is not for public consumption.
On a few separate occasions in the past few weeks, I have encountered people who believe that transparency is a healthy and necessary part of vulnerability and social engagement. I don’t know that it is transparency as much as authenticity that’s key. My open and honest dialogue, where I reveal parts of myself, should be based on my comfort, not the comfort of those around me. That is authentic. Sharing because other folks want to know, doesn’t feel either open or honest to me… it feels forced and uncomfortable. Being authentic is synonymous with personal comfort… because it stems from you being who you are without pretense. I’m authentic with people I have real relationships with. Everyone else is not entitled to my personal business, and I’m authentically private. Period.
Privacy is not negative. It is a protective tool for ensuring that others are not immersed in every part of your life, that you still have private moments whether with yourself, your kids, your spouse, family and friends. In those moments you don’t want a microphone attached to your blouse or everyone recording videos, you simply want to spend time with folks. Folks always trying to post and tell everyone what they were into can be very overwhelming and a source of sensory overload. The same way 12,000 selfies gets old after selfie #5. The need for attention is overwhelming for some. Some is me. I stop looking and listening after awhile. Mystery is sexy. Leaving a little something to the imagination is fun. Dumping your whole personality on the table is like a game of concentration… the buzzer goes off and you are both nervous but anticipatory of all the pieces shooting up in the air. Whew… that’s over. Enough already.
Social media has resulted in people talking about, taking pictures of, and sharing the location of what they are doing, thinking, eating, buying, want, need, and believe every second of the day. I know what they ate, wore, how they did their hair, and who they did it all with every day of the week. It’s a very interesting life of voyeurism. Similarly, others like to tell you everything about themselves. Whether they just love attention or are being open and honest about everything, so it leaves nothing for people to criticize (they’ll always find something), I think it’s typically rooted in some insecurity. Additionally, transparency doesn’t necessarily have honesty at its core. Authenticity does.
Share what is comfortable for you. You aren’t required to be psychologically nude at someone else’s request. Just be who you are, and that is enough. Other folks can go on telling all the ins and outs of their lives if they want, but their level of transparency does not dictate yours. Transparency, like misery, clearly likes company. Who all gon be there!!?!?