Don't Tell Me.

March 5, 2015

To say that we are in an era of oversharing is an enormous understatement.  Precious, endless hours are wasted each day announcing, reporting on and informing anyone and everyone who will listen anything and everything that can be described with the written word.  What someone has done, thought, worn, eaten, heard or seen is instantly conveyed to hundreds of others before the sender has even had time to notice or enjoy what they have done, thought, worn, eaten, heard or seen.  "CAD", or "center of attention disorder" (not to be confused with "ADD" or "AADD") is running rampant.  It really needs to stop.  Here are some easy steps to help you get started. 


Please don’t tell me:


* How busy you are – I can’t remember anyone ever saying to me, “You know, I just don’t have anything to do.”  There are single parents working multiple jobs, going to school and trying to raise kids who don’t end up in prison – thirty and forty somethings trying to fit caring for sick and aging parents into their already hectic days and families whose schedules are completely shaped around a circumstance that they didn’t create, cause or ask for.  Life throws the uncontrollable at you – you add the rest all by yourself. So stop bitching about it. 


* How tired you are – Think about people staying up all night, night after night with a seriously ill child and those with no place to sleep at all.  And how about nurses, firefighters and military personnel on duty around the clock keeping us healthy and safe.  That’s tired. And again, you've likely created the scenario that is making you so tired so just pipe down about it. 


* How sick you are – unless you really are.  Allergies, sinus infections or a head cold are inconvenient and unpleasant.  I'll give you that.  But let’s save our compassion and thoughts for those with scary, long term, chronic or incurable ailments.  You know, the sick.


* How important your job is – unless you’re working on a cure for Alzheimer’s, feeding the hungry or defending human rights, you’re most likely just a blip on the screen. Get over yourself.


* How cute and smart your kids are – Most every child is the light in someone’s eye, even if they aren’t perfect by society’s standards.  Fancy dance outfits and spelling bee certificates don’t make them who they are.  It’s their innocence that makes them beautiful – their honesty and lack of prejudice that makes them smart.  Share the photos and posts.  Nix the commentary.


* What you can’t eat – PLEASE.  I don’t care if you are gluten free or don’t eat red meat, dairy, sugar or high fructose corn syrup.  I don’t care if you’re a vegan, lacto-vegetarian or a macrobiotic eater.  I don’t need to know that you don’t drink, stopped drinking or are 6 months sober when all I did was offer you a glass of wine.  There’s a lot to be said for what my parents taught me (and I then passed on to my own kids) –  a simple, “no, thank you” when offered something that you don’t care for or don’t happen to want at that particular time is polite, direct and sufficient.  No explanations needed.  


* Where you are  – Enough with the constant posts that try to “subtly” say, “look at where I am and what great things me being here says about me.”    Simply by stating your location, you are able to announce to the world how cool, successful, smart, rich, important, physically fit, charitable or just basically good you are. “Just got done volunteering at the orphanage,” “Running mile 26,” “Going to church,” “Meeting with the Pope,” “At the Porsche dealership” etc.   Unless it’s relevant to your message, and it’s probably not, just don't. 


DO tell me….if you need to vent, want to confide or share a funny story.  Tell me how I can help you with something or if I’ve been an ass, so I can learn from my mistake and not do it again. Tell me something that I don't know and would enjoy learning.  Explain your differing opinion on something and try to change my mind.  Tell me if there’s food in my teeth or toilet paper on my shoe.  Tell me I’m having a good hair day or that you’d like to buy me a drink.  Tell me that you need to borrow $5 or that you'd like to buy me a drink.  Tell me that you’ll always be there for me or that you love me, regardless of how messed up I am.

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