introvert · wisdom

Stop sharing your story with people who haven’t earned the right to hear it.

Introverts, this one is for you. If you are like me and surrounded by a world of pushy extroverts who don’t understand your need for quiet and privacy, read on.

Have you ever over-shared? I catch myself doing it more often than I would like.

I commonly have people ask me about things going on in my life because I do lead a pretty interesting and different life, but I am private and shy. But I end up spilling the beans on the regular, and then as the person asks me more and more questions, I can become agitated, feeling more and more uncomfortable sharing things I never intended to.

I can begin to feel cornered or trapped, like I can’t get away or like the conversation will never end.

Or, worse, my opinion often differs greatly from the majority, so when I do share, I feel uncomfortable as the interrogator lets me know quickly they don’t agree with me.

Even worse, when someone you know to be a gossip or who doesn’t have your best interest at heart, comes along and grills you. Um no. My heart starts racing and I get the feeling that I need to beat it out of there.

Recently, someone asked me about something going on in my life, and I didn’t want to share. But I felt obligated to, because I couldn’t think of how to say that I didn’t want to without coming across as rude.

If this has ever been your experience, since then I’ve come up with ten polite replies for those moments when you are asked to share but don’t want to.

1. “I wish I could chat, but I have to be (insert where you need to be) right now. Maybe we can talk later.”

2. “I’d rather not say if that’s ok.”

3. “You’re so sweet to ask, but that’s not something I can share right now.”

4. “That is still under way. I appreciate you asking.”

5. Repeat back their question to them: “I understand you want to know (insert question here). I get why you might be curious. I would be too.”  I like this response because it forces them to hear their own words and sometimes they will even retract, realizing that it is prying.

6. Just say, “isn’t that interesting?”

7. Do you have one of those “friends” who seems to enjoy your difficulties because it makes them feel better about themselves? Once you catch onto this,  just tell them “all is well now” about whatever drama they hope for you to elaborate on.

8. Do you have one of those “friends” who will take what you share and spread it to anyone who will listen in a heartbeat? Just distance yourself when you see them coming your way. Your mom was right when she gave you the advice, just walk away.

9. Do you have one of those “friends” who will use what you share to tear you down in order to build themselves up? You need Distance. You have no obligation to share anything with anyone. When someone has proven disloyalty time and again, this is toxic to you and ties need to be severed. You have to set boundaries to protect yourself.

10. Tell them you can’t. If you want to keep your peace, and do what feels best, you’re telling them the truth when you say you can’t share. You can’t afford to share something that feels off to you. Never let someone push you into something you don’t feel comfortable doing, including conversation.