Pet Peeve #41: TMI

I really enjoy open and vulnerable conversation. To me, there are no limits on conversation topics unless they start to make someone uncomfortable.

I’m very aware of the latter–I truly don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable or offend anyone. Every once in a while I encounter a conversationalist who will seem to intentionally push people’s buttons, not for the sake of deeper or more fun conversation, but just for the sake of getting a reaction out of people. That’s not cool.

Then there’s the opposite end of the spectrum–people who cut a conversation short by saying “TMI” (Too Much Information). I most often see this in online conversations, but it happens in real life too.

I get the feeling that 9 out of 10 times when someone says TMI, it’s not that they’re uncomfortable, it’s that they want to be the one to take the “higher ground” in the conversation. It’s a power play–not a big one, but a subtle one. Because really, especially in Facebook or blog comments, if you truly feel like people are oversharing, you’d just walk away from the conversation. You wouldn’t say anything.

If you’re a person who says “TMI,” think about why you say it. Are you trying to make the conversation better? If not, don’t say it.

I wish people said “TLI” more often (or ever). Too Little Information. It says, “Yes, I know this is a little weird that we’re talking about belly button lint, but since we’re here, let’s do this topic justice. Anything goes. Tell me more.”

Are a TMI or a TLI person?