This one’s a classic: You go out of your way to not share too much about your personal life at work so your colleagues feel comfortable working with you, but sometimes, someone hasn’t gotten the memo.
Here’s how to work with someone who overshares.
Say this when a coworker shares unwanted gossip with you
“When people share personal information with you, it’s a sign that they trust you. While that’s not a bad thing, there is a line you don’t want to cross,” Hogan said. “You’ll know you’re about to cross that line when the conversation turns to gossip. Put an immediate stop to it by telling co-workers you’re not comfortable with the discussion and suggesting they speak to their leader or boss instead.”
He continues, saying how sharing too much doesn’t always fall into the oversharing category, but also says what to do if you feel “uncomfortable.”
Turn the tables on your boss in a productive way
Sometimes, you just have to keep it moving — even with your supervisor.
Writer and 10Pearls Director of Marketing Rikki Rogers writes in The Muse that when the person oversharing is your boss, one method to use is to “change the subject (bonus points if the new topic is work-related)” after mentioning what she refers to as “Workplace TMI.”
“Sometimes an abrupt segue is all the TMI-perpetrator needs to realize that he has crossed into dangerous territory. Offering an unexpected change in topic (‘Oh, speaking of an unnatural relationship with house cats, I just remembered we need to meet about the new inventory process’) brings your boss back into the reality of the social situation. This method won’t offend or embarrass, but will convey your discomfort effectively,” she writes.
Do this if you share too much
She writes about how when she asked her friends if they’ve dealt with an oversharing coworker, they all had. But in explaining her tip to “block other oversharers,” she mentions that some friends also claimed to have “probably” or “for sure” played that role themselves at work.
Clough writes that “according to Dorsey, ‘The best thing to do is to start to set up informal boundaries such as when you can talk, message, or hang out at work. If you don’t put yourself first, no one else will. It’s OK to let someone know that when you’re at work, you have to focus on work.’ “