Sharing is a permission relationship: when I share something with you, do I have permission to do that? And after I’ve shared it with you, what kind of permission have I given you as to what to do with it next?

We’re more familiar with the problem of oversharing in the form of that person who doesn’t know when to stop. This often happens when people don’t navigate context effectively: what you share with your friends, your partner, or your therapist is not completely appropriate to the workplace. That’s not to deny the reality of your experience, or its importance for how you show up in the workplace — but it is to say that you need to take responsibility for how you teach people what they need to know about you.

The other problem of oversharing is what happens afterward. When you share that much, do you mean to give everyone who listens permission to re-share what you’ve said? Do you want us to have this window into your life? And, for those of us on the receiving end, how are we supposed to make sense of this new information?

Openness, honesty, and trust are precious commodities. Be sure to earn and keep them in what you choose to share and how.