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You’ve probably worked with people who just can’t stop talking about themselves. They rattle on and on about topics in which you have absolutely no interest. When you see them coming, your first thought is “how can I escape?”. These annoying chatterboxes inspired someone to coin the term “TMI”, short for “too much information”.
But before you judge these talkative colleagues too harshly, be sure that your own slate is clean. You may be bored to tears with the details of their vicious divorce, but do you ever return the favor by endlessly bragging on your brilliant children or recounting every shot in your last round of golf? To check your own TMI tendencies, review the list below.
|What do you talk about at work?||How frequently?|
|Your spouse’s annoying habits and peculiarities||Often||Sometimes||Never|
|Arguments with your family members||Often||Sometimes||Never|
|Twists and turns in your nasty divorce||Often||Sometimes||Never|
|The activities of your brilliant and adorable children||Often||Sometimes||Never|
|The aggravating behavior of your in-laws||Often||Sometimes||Never|
|Intimate details of romantic encounters||Often||Sometimes||Never|
|Your dog, cat, hamster, iguana, or any other pet||Often||Sometimes||Never|
|Crazy drunken escapades||Often||Sometimes||Never|
|Trips and vacations (with or without pictures)||Often||Sometimes||Never|
|Your swinging single social life||Often||Sometimes||Never|
|Your lack of a social life||Often||Sometimes||Never|
|Buying, building, selling, or decorating your house||Often||Sometimes||Never|
|Problems with your boyfriend(s) or girlfriend(s)||Often||Sometimes||Never|
|Details of surgical procedures||Often||Sometimes||Never|
|Illnesses and medications||Often||Sometimes||Never|
|Disturbances with bodily functions (we’ll omit the specifics)||Often||Sometimes||Never|
|Pregnancy problems and delivery dramas||Often||Sometimes||Never|
|Your astounding athletic prowess||Often||Sometimes||Never|
|Views on political candidates and issues||Often||Sometimes||Never|
|Your anxieties, addictions, phobias, or emotional problems||Often||Sometimes||Never|
|Your brilliant investment strategies||Often||Sometimes||Never|
|Religious beliefs, convictions, and opinions||Often||Sometimes||Never|
It’s fine to share information about your life with coworkers. After all, that’s how we get to know people and build relationships. But the more times you checked “often”, the greater the risk of people falling asleep in your cubicle or ducking into the restroom when they see you coming.
Even if you have a conversational partner who’s equally interested in your favorite topic, you are probably wasting huge chunks of work time swapping stories. So save the TMI binges for your friends and family – or at least confine them to breaks and lunch.