When to Say What

That title sounds like a knockoff of Who’s on First?

It’s a question I’ve been kind of running into lately, though. As I meet new people, it’s always a little difficult to figure out how much to tell about things, and how soon. The new friend at the bar who’s commenting on my memorial tattoo, do I just thank him, or do I tell him it’s memorial? If I tell him it’s a memorial, how much information does he really want, and how much is just too much for the situation?

The new co-worker who asks me if I’m seeing someone, and why not… Do I just tell her I’m gun shy? Or do I go into a little more detail? I’m mourning someone… or even more?

Because there’s a point at which their perception changes. There’s a point at which you reach that breaking point of, “Oh… that’s… oh.” and it’s too much. I think I err on the side of not giving information. I don’t want to avoid talking about suicide, but I do want to avoid talking about myself. To an extent.

I’m deceptively open, I think. I will tell anyone almost anything about me, but I will also hold back key information. Everyone does this to some extent. And maybe I’m no different than anyone else. I just feel like I do it in a way that isn’t really discernible. I’m probably wrong about that.

Everyone thinks they’re a weirdo¬†and no one else can really understand what they’re going through, in my experience. In a way, everyone’s right. We hold each other at a slight distance. Some people are better at that than others. Ian was a master. I think we connected about that. We did it in similar ways, and understood each other.

I missed him a lot last night. Wished he was around to punch and hug and sing with. I’m getting good at distracting myself though, whether for better or worse, I’m getting better at it.

What do you notice about telling people the difficult things about yourself? When is too soon? When is too late? Is there a general rule you’ve learned?

Written 3/26/2015

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