The confessions of an over-sharer…
This bears far too much resemblance to my childhood diary for my liking. Yes, I was a 90s baby. (Image: Justice)
Confessional: I have very rarely been a dedicated diary-writer.
Whenever I did write in my Secret Diary as a kid (which was covered in blue sequin material, thank you very much) I was sure to make my entries original. “Ohmygosh, I like this boy!”, “Ohmygosh, it’s SO unfair!” and “Ohmygosh, she is so mean!” were the ideal complement to my ritual “padlocking” of the said diary so as to ward off the Sibling…who wouldn’t have been interested in reading its contents anyway, now that I come to think of it…
Now, it would be fairly safe to assume that this blog is the adult version of my sequin-spangled, flimsily-padlocked childhood diary, open for the interweb to read, right?
Believe it or not, but this is not “Alex’s Secret Diary: the Twenty-Something Edition”.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but I only share a small slither of my life with you, my darling echidnas.
“Huh? What? Why? Then what the hell makes up the other 98 percent of your life?” you ask. (And quite rightly, I might add.)
Well, there are plenty of normal things (like muesli and running to the bus) and then there is everything that I keep to share with people (“my friends”) in real life, if at all.
“If at all??”
Yeah. See, once upon a time a few years ago I realised that I had become an over-sharer…
We used to joke about it. It was always “Alex’s Man Drama” and there was always – ALWAYS – more to share.
There was the Steve saga and then there was the Mark saga and then there was the Neil saga and then there was a whole new chapter to the Steve saga and then there was the Tim saga and then there was the Justin saga and then more of the Justin saga and then there was the Mike saga and then there was the John saga and then there was the-
Please, for the love of peanuts, shut up already!
My love life was, quite literally, my only real topic of conversation for quite some time. Nearly all of my conversations with my close friends centred on one gent or another.
Ugh. How dreadfully boring for them. (You wonderful bunnies know who you are. Thank you so much for putting up with me.) Yet, I found it immensely fun to be able to share every detail of my latest drama with my girlfriends. And, to be fair, they shared plenty of their man drama with me, too.
The beauty of divulging my love life was that it had a way of forging instant bonds with someone I barely knew. It was a very reliable way of solidifying a new or potential friendship very quickly. Share something personal and BOOM! we were officially Friends, if not BFFs.
This was lovely for a while. It was fun and sexy and crazy and hilarious for a while. But then one evening it became uncomfortably clear to me that I had reduced both my close friendships and my own identity down to one big recount of my love life.
Where was the substance? What else did we actually talk about? Did we really share any pursuits that weren’t related to men? And how much longer were they going to put up with my (somewhat repetitive) drivel? Is this really all I had to offer?
These issues became even more apparent when I realised that I had, in fact, established some of my friendships entirely upon the mutual sharing of our love lives. Yes, they were and are lovely people, but the sharing of one’s romantic exploits does not guarantee the development of a quality relationship.
Except I realised this a little too late in the case of some friendships…
Yes, we shared many brilliant times. We laughed and cried (about things other than men). They were wonderful friendships in many regards, but there was nothing solid upon which they were anchored.
Sharing my love life had helped forge instant bonds between us, but they were not necessarily that strong…
I had already begun to notice some changes when I started blogging. If we went a few weeks without seeing each other it was fine, because they could just catch up on my life by reading what I had posted to know what was going on in my life.
Was this all that our friendships were?
My friend and I were sitting by the harbour, watching the indigo warmth inhaling the dusk. We were sitting there when, for the first time, someone turned to me and had the courage to tell me that I was making a very unwise decision. Frankly, I knew she was right, but I didn’t want to hear her opinion. I just wanted to live my life and to have fun doing something very stupid. And I knew this guy was a particularly bad idea.
It was that evening that I realised that I had allowed my love life to take over my friendships. My man drama had inundated them to the point that there was no space left for anything else.
I came away shaken, because I had finally been confronted by the fact that something needed to change.
Driven by an odd variety of forces, I began to un-learn my habits. I had to stop over-sharing. I had to stop sharing unnecessarily. I had to stop sharing, full stop. (Which was only quite counter-intuitive… and difficult.)
I suddenly had to redevelop my friendships without using my love life as our hobby and preferred excuse for discussing more intellectually engaging topics. I had to stop using this constant form of “entertainment” as an excuse to not work through the underlying issues which punctuated my oft-discussed love life.
Good lord. There was a lot to do.
Looking at it now, with the benefit of hindsight, I think it’s one of the most helpful things I’ve done in a while. It’s up there with reigniting my love for the Spice Girls. Obvs.
Talking about my love life less has meant that it’s on my mind less, which has meant that I have been less focused on my love life, which has meant that when something does happen in my love life that I am a lot less of a psycho (which was my previous default).
Translation: good shit.
What’s more, it has allowed me to understand both what I want and need in my friendships as well as what (things of substance) I can bring to them.
My mind is no longer consumed by my man drama; it’s a small facet of my life at best.
And, oddly enough, I like it being this way. It’s surprisingly… liberating.
(Who’d have thought.)
Fun post-script! All names have been changes because I only have the capacity to be a twat so many times within the one day. That, and the fact that I’m not really planning on sharing them with anyone at all.