UPDATED JULY 13, 2017: Original article published December 4, 2014.
Blame it on the rise of texting and social media, but oversharing has taken over the workplace. In fact, more than 3 out of 5 workers say they have a co-worker that overshares at least once a week if not more.
This has become a huge problem for the workplace, and it's an even bigger problem for your career if you are oversharing and can't stop.
What Does Oversharing Look Like?
- Talking about your medical history
- Sharing confidential work information, including salary
- Commenting on looking for a new job
- Discussing your (lack of a) love life
- Expressing your views on politics and religion
- Bragging about your privileged life
- Gossiping or sharing others' secrets
Oversharing has negative effects on workplace dynamics. Often employees get poor reputations for being lazy, a gossip, and untrustworthy because they can't keep thoughts to themselves. It damages productivity and morale and can become a legal liability.
Yes, lawsuits can be initiated for defamation, invasion of privacy, harassment, and interference with employ-ability due to gossip.
1. Develop a filter
Simply quit sharing everything under the sun. You are setting the tone for being perceived as narcissistic, and most people don't want to hear half of what you think or know about others.
Start screening your contributions to conversations, and get back to work.
2. Be open to criticism
When someone has the courage to point out that you are talking too much, don't shoot the messenger. Consider what he or she is advising because he or she is probably not the first person who has wanted to say something.
Constructive criticism will help you grow as a person and in your career.
3. Stop talking and start asking
Rather than talking about yourself or others all the time, start asking questions. Observe other people, ask them questions, and listen carefully. Gossip can start from inaccurate perceptions and can ruin more than just one person's career.
Become an active listener rather than being an active gossiper.
4. Put the phone away
You do not need to be accessible to everyone at every moment of every day. When you're at work, put the cell phone away and focus on work. If there is an emergency, your workplace has a phone that most intelligent people can figure out how to call.
Texting and social media expose you to more gossip-inducing content than any other source of communication. Learn restraint and limit your screen time.
5. Be a problem solver, not a problem starter
Often oversharing and gossip revolves around problems or negativity such as drama, ailments, frustrations, etc. Rather than focusing on the negative, start solving problems. You'll find you'll have less to talk about when you start solving the issues at hand.