The difference between being authentic and oversharing stems from your intentions. In her book Daring Greatly, Brene Brown summed up the difference by saying, “Using vulnerability is the not the same thing as being vulnerable; it’s the opposite—it’s armor.”
Here are some reasons people cross the line (sometimes unintentionally) from being authentic into being an over-sharer:
• A misguided attempt to gain sympathy. If you share your mistakes in an effort to help others learn, you are being authentic. If, however, you share your hardships to gain pity, you’re oversharing.
• An attempt to fast-track the relationship. Authentic people build relationships first. Over-sharers blurt out personal information in an attempt to gain a sense of intimacy, without building trust.
• Your story still owns you. When pain is raw, it can feel like the whole world sees there’s something ‘wrong’ with you. For many people, that’s anxiety provoking. Over-shares relieve their anxiety by revealing their pain. Authentic people, however, tolerate that anxiety and carefully consider whether it’s good idea to share.