#tmi - Elisabeth Klein

I know someone who, when she attends women’s events, doesn’t care who she sits next to because she believes she’s “never met a stranger”.  And she will plunk herself down and verbally vomit over whoever the lucky one is who happens to be there at the time.  She walks away feeling like she just shared a deep connection with someone and feels lighter for getting her story out of her one more time, while the innocent bystander feels used and maybe even slightly creeped out from hearing all she just heard.

That person was me.  But it’s not anymore.

I think it’s safe to say that I write more openly on my blog than most people do, so a little post on how much to share may seem ironic coming from me.  But I have learned a few things as I transition from someone who – for the most part despite how I just described myself above – kept everything hidden {the most real, important things hidden} to someone who now shoots for being wide open with her life.

Not every person in your life needs to hear every detail of your life. Seriously. There can be levels of what you share.  Maybe even come up with a ten-second version, a one-minute version, and save the three-hour version for your closest friends.

Choose wisely who you share what with. Do you know why? Because some people can’t be trusted. Because some people will repeat your story, even though it’s not their story to tell.  Because some people will judge you for your story.

You are allowed to not tell any part of your story to anyone, if that’s where you’re at right now.  If someone asks you inappropriate questions, you have the absolute right to say, “I’d rather not talk about this.”  You do not need to give further explanation than that.

Only Jesus should hear the whole thing.  If you are telling everyone everything, then honey – and I say this with love – you need a counselor.

If you’ve just met someone, you should not be telling them e-ver-y-thing.  Again, this should be a red flag to you that you are still early on in your healing and need to find someone who can and will listen to you tell your entire story, front to back, and then analyze it.  Your barista is not the person.  Your hairdresser is not the person.  Anyone you’ve just met is not the person.

If you find yourself doing most of the talking in a conversation, most of the time, you might want to think about that for a bit.  Do you walk away from a conversation and realize you learned not one tiny thing about the person you were just talking to?  It’s one thing if you’re mid-crisis and you’re sharing with a friend, and most of your relationship is give-and-take, but if you are noticing that most of your interactions are centered on you, this is an issue that needs to be addressed.

Just because you are choosing to live your life more openly does not mean everyone else has to. Ask questions like, “Would you like to tell me your story?” not “Was your divorce as awful as mine?  Tell me all the deets…”

If you find yourself implying that you’re disappointed that someone isn’t going through a hard time – or in my specific situation, for instance, upset to hear when someone’s marriage is really good – you have not fully healed.  Because you should want people to be doing well.  You should want to hear of really good marriages.  You should not be wishing someone ill so that you have one more person to commiserate with.

Listen, I know I totally don’t get this right every time I write and in every conversation I have.  But I have learned that the best relationships are built on trust, and trust takes time to build.  And the best relationships are give-and-take, about both people equally sharing, equally listening, equally empathizing.  I want those kinds of relationships.  I want to be counted on, to be trusted, to be someone that my closest friends can share their hearts with.  And I want to be known as appropriately authentic in whatever setting I find myself in.  That’s wholeness.