How Personal is Too Personal at Work? 🤔

By Mel Sim

Are you oversharing?

If you have cool and fun colleagues, it’s easy to feel oh-so-comfortable with them. Especially when you are working long hours at your job, spending more time with your colleagues than your friends and families!

Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to lines to blur between professional and personal. It can be easy to slip into the habit of sharing too much information with our workmates and worse, our bosses! Sure, we want to bond with our colleagues to make work less rigid and more fun but how much is too much? You might think it’s no big deal to tell your colleague all about the problems you’ve been having with your significant other but your colleague might feel uncomfortable listening to your way-too-personal issues. Or maybe what you’re sharing is sensitive stuff and could end up being harmful to your career (not everyone’s on your side!) Also, considering that workplaces are competitive, whatever you’re sharing could backfire, especially when you share it with someone who may not have your back. Let’s not even talk about how you’re sharing with others how you feel completely bored at work, information that could make it back to your boss!

Are you an oversharer who can’t stay out of the TMI (too much info) zone? Here are some good tips on what you shouldn’t be talking about and how to reel it back.

You don’t go around asking colleagues how much money they are making. Your salary is for you to know only, unless your colleague is sharing this information freely – but that doesn’t mean you should! Telling others how much you make, especially if it is a lot, can make the other person feel bad and under appreciated if he or she is making less than you. This will cause friction between the two of you and for that colleague to hold a grudge against HR for paying her less than what her peers are getting! Other money things not to talk about – the price of your car, how rich your parents are, what your shoes cost – essentially, you’re better off just not talking about money with anyone at work.

Health Issues
No one wants to know about your recent Pap smear or full body checkup. We definitely don’t want to know about that time you had a really bad tuna sandwich and stayed up all night in the toilet. On a more serious note, it can be uncomfortable too for your colleagues to hear about your more complicated health issues not knowing what they are supposed to say. If possible, keep these to yourself only.

Your Dating Life
Talking about your love life with a close friend from work after office hours is still acceptable (but within reason!) but constantly confiding in that same colleague about your love problems during working hours? No, no, no! For one, they are too busy with their own lives and work (!) to get caught up in your relationship dramas. Plus, not everyone wants to hear about that petty argument you have with your boyfriend about you being jealous over an ex.

How Much You Hate Work
We get it, you want to offload your working blues on someone who has context over it – like a colleague. But nobody wants to constantly hear about how work sucks or why the boss favours A over you – it’s time consuming and it can harm the overall moral of the workplace! You also never know if your complaints might make it back to management, harming your career in unexpected ways.

Your Social Life Outside of Work
Sure, you can share what you did over the weekend or the upcoming holiday you’re looking forward to. But all that partying you’re doing or who knows, the inappropriate activities you engage in – you should really make this your own business.

Share this article: