I've still been doing a lot of thinking about sharing. Thinking about what I share, and about what others are willing to share with me. I've come up with an idea.
Sharing personal thoughts and problems has a lot to do with trust. If you don't trust the person you are sharing with, then you will not share personal things with them. You may not even speak to them at all. Or, if you do, you will only tell them about things that might be considered "small talk", or just share things that are obvious "here's what's happening with my day" type things. You might only give them information on what music you are listening to, what you're having for dinner, or how your kid or spouse is being annoying and a royal pain in the butt. But you won't share anything with any "meaning" to it. The things that are really on your mind. Big things. You know, problems you are having, personal feelings about something, or even a major issue going on in your life.
What I've noticed is that the reason people will not share things with someone they supposedly call a friend is that they feel they will not like the reaction they will receive. In other words, if they share a particular problem, and they know the person they are talking to will respond with a long, drawn out, emotionally charged response, they are not likely to share anything at all. Or it may be that the reaction they expect they will receive will be a negative one, one of those "get over it, stop whining, put on your grown up underwear and get on with your life" type responses. But, on the same token, they will still remain friends with that person because that person may be the type to share their most personal, deepest, darkest secrets all the time. Who doesn't like to know someone's deepest secrets, and to feel they are the ONLY one that knows them?
This is why I am convinced that I share way too much information. I have friends that would rather go tell a complete stranger about a problem they're having than come to me with it. I do all the sharing, I tell them everything, but most of the time, I get nothing shared with me. Nothing important anyway. I am beginning to get the feeling that most of my friends are only friends with me because they like to hear about my "dirt". I think others are worried that I am so "fragile" or depressed that they only feel sorry for me, and fear that if they don't remain my friend, that I will go off the deep end and kill myself or something. That could not be further from the truth, but that DOES seem to be the way some of them feel. And all because I share WAY too much.
Another indication of trust and true friendship is communication. If you truly want to talk to someone, what do you do? You email them, you are available to chat, you may even text them or call them on the phone. When you care about someone, and what they are doing, you communicate with them, often. I find this is not the case in my own life. No one emails, no one texts, or calls, and very few are available to chat on the internet. I have come to the conclusion then that there is a fundamental problem, and the problem is ME. No one WANTS to email me, and they could not care less about texting me or calling, they don't WANT to talk to me. They don't WANT to share things with me, because they don't truly trust me.
I could even take this a step further, and say that here, on my blog, no one wants to speak to me either. I write, people read, but no one says a word. I even ASK for comments, and get nothing. I'm not saying I'm the only one with this problem though, lots of bloggers have the same issue, and it's for the same reason. People want to hear and read about the "dirt", they want to know about all the really "secret" stuff. But it seems you can't expect them to share THEIR "dirt" with you the same way you share YOURS.
When you share, you are judged, plain and simple. People get an idea in their minds as to the kind of person they think you are, and for those like me who share a lot, that idea is not always a good one. In other words, if you are a "sharer", then the idea people get in their heads is that you will ALWAYS share what's in your head, and share it with anyone you come in contact with. What this means is that in their minds, regardless of whether or not it's true, you cannot keep a secret. So, they will therefore not tell you anything that they consider to be private, for fear that other people will find out. They won't tell you that to your face, but that's the reality of it. They simply don't trust you. The really sad part about that however, at least in MY case, is that while I share my personal feelings and problems with many people, I NEVER share anyone else's problems and feelings that are shared with me. When someone shares information with me of a personal nature, that information stays with ME, and is not shared with anyone else. Anyone surprised?
Don't judge a person by how much they share. Just because they are willing to air their own dirty laundry does not mean they will air YOURS. Be a true friend, communicate, tell the "sharers" what is really going on in your life. Don't let the communication be a one way street. Those of us that share a lot would like nothing more than to feel like we can be shared with too. We are not untrustworthy. Don't just be a "friend" to me or another sharer just because you like to hear about the "dirt".