Truth or TMI?

Let’s say you run into an acquaintance who — naturally — asks you how you are. When is it okay to say how you’re really feeling — even if the answer is “I’m feeling sort of blah” or even “I’m ecstatic because I got a raise?”  When is it better to just say something polite and move on — vs. expressing what’s actually on your mind?

For most of us our conversational baseline is “How ya doin’?” followed by “Fine” or — if we are really jumping outside the conversational box — perhaps a more expansive “Fine. Busy. Real busy.” Exchange over.

When is there value in telling more of what we are feeling or thinking than “fine” would communicate? Obviously it depends on the audience and the context. And obviously there are times when the truth is TMI (or “too much information”). But I tend to think it’s valuable to say what we’re really experiencing — as it opens communication and feels better than swallowing things or pretending make us feel.

I’m wondering what you think: should people err on the side of “Fine. Busy. Real busy” or do you want to know that “the vasectomy went well, thank you?” Or is there a middle ground where we can grow closer to people by giving them a window into our lives or entering into their lives through the information given?

What do you think? What’s your style?

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