There’s a time and a place for sharing intimate details of your personal life or hot gossip.
Work is almost always never that place, even if you work remotely.
Here’s where to draw the line at oversharing versus just being comfortable chatting at work.
If you’re doing the following then you’re oversharing at work.
1) Your finances
Your finances are never a good thing to discuss at work, even with a friend.
For one thing, work is where you get paid, so there’s no upside here:
If you’re doing well financially your boss might overhear and think about reducing your salary.
If you’re struggling financially you create the impression that you’re desperate and can be pushed around as long as there’s a monetary reward.
2) Your love life
Your love life is best kept outside of work.
When you start discussing it at work all sorts of complications and drama can arise.
We’ve all had work friends who we like to gossip with and it’s inevitable that this sometimes turns to romance and sex.
But if at all possible, avoid going into too much detail here.
Despite the temporary fun of talking about this stuff the potential downsides are big, starting with the fact that you’ll waste a lot of time that you should be using to work.
3) Your coworkers’ love lives
On a related note, your coworkers’ love lives should also be mainly off-limits.
Obviously if your coworker just went through a divorce the rest of you are probably going to know about it or find out.
But it’s best to limit discussion of what other people at your workplace are going through in their personal lives.
This falls more into the category of gossip, but the reason it’s also a form of oversharing is that your thoughts and input on the love lives of coworkers can become a form of oversharing.
4) Your secret work crush
If you do have a secret work crush, try to keep them secret.
Unless you want to open up to them or try to get to know them better, it’s best not to share this with colleagues.
One of your coworkers may also like this person, and obviously another danger is that word of your crush reaches its way back to them.
Be careful about this because it’s one of those things that seems easy to avoid but which many of us often fall into regardless.
5) Your political views
Politics is inevitably going to come up at work.
Certain people can’t refrain from talking about it or launching into intense explanations and promotions of their views.
That is what it is, but you don’t need to get sucked in.
If possible avoid going into detail about your political views at work.
At best it’s likely to lead to a lot of wasted time talking when you should be working; at worst it’s likely to lead to conflict, misunderstanding and feelings of frustration.
Caveat: if you work in politics or political analysis then obviously do talk about politics at work.
6) Your religious views
Your religious or spiritual views may be highly important to you, or you may be somewhat apathetic about them.
Either way, do your best not to get too intense in religious discussions at work.
This includes on spiritual topics, where even things like New Age spirituality can actually be kind of controversial.
I know that I’ve been annoyed when very “spiritual” coworkers tried to sell me on the idea of Law of Attraction and wouldn’t stop talking about it.
This ties into the next point…
7) Your belief in conspiracies
There are few things I enjoy discussing more than conspiracies.
This includes discussing why some conspiracies are too far-fetched or ridiculous, not just belief in conspiracies.
Indeed, believing in every conspiracy is, in my books, boring.
But work really isn’t the place to be talking conspiracies.
Just because you gave the YouTube algorithm an intense workout last night is no reason to subject your coworkers to it.
8) Your biggest hates
We all have things we hate, starting with traffic and extending to child abusers.
There’s a lot in between, too.
But work isn’t the place to get into rants about what pisses you off.
That’s best saved for open mic night at the local comedy club or a get together with friends over a game of whist.
There’s a lot to hate out there, but work isn’t the place to get into it.
At best you relieve some stress and experience moments of solidarity with coworkers.
At worst you end up disagreeing with somebody else’s hates and wasting time and energy in a downward cycle of negativity.
9) Your medical concerns
If you have medical concerns you’re going through, do your best not to bring them up at work.
For one thing, any advice you get at work (even if you work in a medical clinic or hospital) is unsanctioned medical advice and could mislead you as to diagnosis or treatment.
For another thing, you’re going to be bringing a lot of personal baggage into a space that should be focused on productivity and getting things done.
Your medical concerns may come up at surface level, as may colleagues, especially if you’ve been off sick or aren’t feeling well.
But do your best not to get into detail about what’s going on.
The input you get is unlikely to help, it’s not appropriate for a work setting and you’re likely to just worry and stress coworkers further if you do so.
If a colleague insists on discussing this or providing advice about medical issues you’ve been having, suggest talking after work or one-on-one, rather than in the context of work or during work hours (even if you work online).
10) Your psychological issues
That said, never mistake work as a place of therapy or mental health advice.
Even if you work in mental health, your workplace is not the place to go for this and you need to arrange consultations and care apart from your career.
If you’re feeling too depressed or anxiety-ridden to work, make sure to seek out resources and see about paid time off.
Caring for yourself is very important and should never just be an afterthought or a last resort.
11) Your drug use
If you enjoy ripping bongs on the weekend or enjoying the snow far from any mountain slope, do your best not to get into this at work.
Even if the atmosphere at work is fairly open about these things, it’s eventually going to potentially cost you respect and credibility.
If other people at your work tease you about this or brag about their own substance savviness, let it slide.
I’ve been in plenty of jobs, especially in manual labor, where drug use was the subject of constant jokes and braggadocio that honestly kind of weirded me out.
But I learned not to engage, and neither should you.
You don’t need to participate in a chemical d*ck measuring contest and it’s ultimately pretty juvenile stuff anyway.
12) Your dislike of your boss or coworkers
If you hate your boss or some of those you work with, keep it under wraps.
At least keep it under wraps until you can find a new job.
Also try to practice high self-awareness in order to ensure that you aren’t in a codependent cycle with your boss or colleagues.
Are you doing your best to communicate, be clear, be empathetic?
It’s best not to share too much about what you dislike about colleagues or your boss, especially because this is very likely to make its way back to their ears.
Understanding the root cause of oversharing at work
There are those of us who just love some good gossip and can’t resist a juicy rumor.
But for the most part oversharing at work has one root cause:
When you don’t have a very satisfying social life it’s easy to start thinking of your work and your social life as the same thing.
But that’s not how everyone sees it.
And when you begin treating colleagues as pals to share everything with, this can lead to misunderstandings and even conflict in some cases.
Don’t worry too much about this, we all cross lines socially and commit a faux pas now and then…
But if you do notice you’ve been oversharing at work do your best to scale it back and pick better venues for sharing.