"I used to live near the Gowanus Expressway, do you know where that is?"
"It's pronounced GO-WAH-NUS."
"I was going through a really tough time back then. I was poor."
"I'm sorry. I..."
"Now I'm successful. REALLY successful."
"Yeah? Hey listen, I've got to go check on that - "
"I mean BIG. But my kids aren't talking to me."
"Oh. Oh no. Well I guess I can sit down for a minute more."
"Yeah. And my husband walked RIGHT OUT. I was working too much he said."
"He took the kids with him. That's why they hate me."
"Um, I'm sorry I just have to - "
"Yeah, they really do."
"Hey - I see you shifting around over there. I didn't mean to keep you. You go ahead and take your bio break, yeah. You need that."
"Thank you, I mean thank you. Thanks."
"You take care now. Give me a call."
As I am thinking, that would be never.
It took me a while to put myself in the other person's shoes. But I used to be a blabbermouth myself, and once I cottoned onto that, catching others in the act became a little easier for me.
So now I'm telling you.
When you're talking to a stranger, and you feel really comfortable, enough to chat away and tell them all about yourself...consider this: Do they seem to want to hear it?
If they're squirming, or looking away as if for an exit sign, consider it a warning. You're probably sharing a bit too much.
Dannielle Blumenthal is a seasoned communications professional with nearly two decades of progressive, varied experience in the public sector, private sector, and academia. Currently she is a public servant, as well as an independent freelance writer. This blog, like all of her public content, is written in her personal capacity unless otherwise noted. It does not reflect the views of the U.S. government, in whole or in part. Photo credit: sari_dennise / Flickr