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AIBU?

Find strangers sharing/oversharing? Does this happen to you too?

51 replies

speakout · 18/09/2022 09:33

Does this happen to you? OK I am on holiday so lots of time for thinking and social observation, but realise strangers have a habit of divulging personal information very quickly to me. It has happened this week several times, but happens a lot at home too.
I have chatted to several strangers in the past few days, and keep the chat to the weather/flight times/ good local restaurants etc, but then find people spilling private details of their lives very quickly- marital problems, worries about alcohol consumption, how their teenage son has been stealing jewelery/, how they are worrying about their daughter's divorce/upcoming surgery for fibroids.
I look at these conversations and wonder why this happens- I don't ask or probe, and happy to have a small chit chat about the day to day, but so often dives deep within a very short time, often within 2 or 3 minutes.
Do I look gullible? Do I have a therapists face? I am aware this doesn't happen to everyone- am I giving out weird vibes?
Curious as to whether this happens to others.

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Am I being unreasonable?

32 votes. Final results.

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You are NOT being unreasonable
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ShirleyJackson · 18/09/2022 11:18

Happens to me all the time. Shop assistants, my therapists, everyone.

DH stands there agog.

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Oysterbabe · 18/09/2022 11:20

I was once standing at the photocopier at work and a colleague, who I had known for a while but not well and only at work, came over and stood by me waiting for it to be free. Making small talk, I asked him how he was and he told me that his girlfriend had just told him she was pregnant and would not get an abortion and he didn't know what to do. Then he just looked at me like he hoped I might have the answer. I think I just said something like 'that's a tricky situation. Good luck'

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LynetteScavo · 18/09/2022 11:24

I give quite "fuck off" vibes so this rarely happens to me, and I'm not one for sharing my personal life. But once I got chatting to a lady while our DC we're having their haircut and I suddenly unloaded on to her al the problems I'd been having with DS. She just sat and listened. Properly listened. I don't know what came over me. I've cringed about it for years. My guess is she's one of those people that others tell their crap to. Poor woman.

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Boomboom22 · 18/09/2022 11:26

I get this but the problem is they are usually new people at work etc. I don't know why, people say I am approachable. I certainly do not listen more than I talk so can't be that. I find they then feel embarrassed and pull back, but I never wanted the knowledge of their childhood, marriage issues etc!

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Boomboom22 · 18/09/2022 11:27

Only people who overshare to me pull back by the way 🤣

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Angelinflipflops · 18/09/2022 11:28

I get this but love it! People's lives are interesting

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Wandawhochanged · 18/09/2022 11:32

@Angelinflipflops , Yes so right, so interesting.......Just once.

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bellac11 · 18/09/2022 11:33

I cant bear it, I view as quite selfish and self absorbed, just dumping all your shit on someone that you meet at a bus stop. Might be cathartic for you but its exhausting for the person who is listening and cant get away.

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CristinaNov182 · 18/09/2022 11:33

You are probably just a very good listener with a kind face. Try to change the subject once they start talking too much about themselves, before they bear their souls out to you, if you can.

it has happened to me a few times, and it was bc I was too tired to change subject and think of something else to talk about. I let the people talk about themselves, and some, with very little encouragement, if you give them time and space , they eventually tell you their life story.

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TiffyTaffy · 18/09/2022 11:39

bellac11 · 18/09/2022 11:33

I cant bear it, I view as quite selfish and self absorbed, just dumping all your shit on someone that you meet at a bus stop. Might be cathartic for you but its exhausting for the person who is listening and cant get away.

Yes. This. It really stresses me out!

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Hawkins001 · 18/09/2022 11:41

That's the thing I know I share a bit more on here, then I usually chat about but even then you never know who the person your talking to is, same on here, my words are for all to read.

I think I need to be more cautious when I'm chatting and writing too.

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LunaTheCat · 18/09/2022 11:42

O dear... happens to me too!
My professional life involves listening and I think I ooze it even whenI don’t want to!

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Catlitterqueen · 18/09/2022 11:45

I think I must have that kind of face too! DH on the other hand has a resting piss off and leave me alone face. People who know him know they can confide in him but a stranger wouldn’t dare.

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CurbsideProphet · 18/09/2022 11:46

Yes, same. Once a woman trying to get me to sign up to a credit card told me her boyfriend had left and she was devastated. I also tried a new hairdresser and never went back after she told me all about how unhappy she was in her relationship.

I listen to people's problems for a living and must unintentionally give off the vibe of being "on call".

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FluffyRabbitGal · 18/09/2022 11:53

Happens to me all the time & it drives my partner bonkers. I personally think it’s because as part of my role at work I coach colleagues. I think that coupled with the fact that I’m a cheerful, bubbly, none threatened woman of a certain age that people feel comfortable talking to me. It doesn’t bother me, it’s just one of those things.

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Chdjdn · 18/09/2022 11:56

I often have this; I work in a job that involves a lot of talking and people sharing sensitive information without judgement from me which I think is part of it. With strangers I try not to engage now even if it’s rude but I often feel I know far too much about people who I’d only consider acquaintances

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kingtamponthefurred · 18/09/2022 11:56

The crazy person on the bus always chooses to sit next to me. Even on an otherwise empty bus. It's because I look sweet and approachable. They soon learn differently. And when you are female other people (men and women) assume that you are there to listen to them. I bet it doesn't happen to six-foot men.

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MangyInseam · 18/09/2022 11:56

I get this a fair bit. I used to have a boss who had one time worked at a job that involved interrogation - he said some people just seem safe to people to talk to.

But I also think that there has been a cultural shift, probably coming from the US. I remember some years ago watching an interview with some Hollywood people, one was a writer from the Canadian prairies. He said one of the things he liked about going home was that people did not start right in with all their traumas and what they were talking about in therapy. Instead they slowly revealed things over periods of years.

That Hollywood mindset seems to be moving even into places like the prairies these days. I suppose part is probably that younger people are so accustomed to sharing on FB and even MN.

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BeyondMyWits · 18/09/2022 12:12

I'm mildly cheerful, late 50s, a bit chubby, average height, going grey... fade into the background type of person.

People tell me things. All. The. Time. It is like I'm invisible but they see me... and just unburden. Always.

I'm OK with it, I find it a bit odd that I know all the secrets of all the neighbours. But I'm not a big talker, I don't gossip, so maybe they sense that?

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sweetbambi · 18/09/2022 12:17

I get this a bit. when I did ask friends why it is me they come to or why even strangers do it etc I answer I got was that I seem to be so kind and sweet and listen to them etc so allow it to happen by not stopping the other person etc. I do try to be sympathetic and helpful but it can be a bit draining at times

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AnneElliott · 18/09/2022 14:01

This doesn't happen to me but it does to H. He met our new neighbours once and came back and said they second child was an accident! I asked him how on earth he'd come the that conclusion but apparently the woman had told him!!!

H talks a lot though - so maybe he draws similar people who over share!

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strawberryjem · 18/09/2022 14:06

This happens to me a lot. I probably encourage it to be honest as I enjoy having deep conversations rather than just the weather. It surprises me though as I am naturally quite shy and struggle to open up to to others myself.

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speakout · 18/09/2022 16:58

strawberryjem · 18/09/2022 14:06

This happens to me a lot. I probably encourage it to be honest as I enjoy having deep conversations rather than just the weather. It surprises me though as I am naturally quite shy and struggle to open up to to others myself.

Me too- lovely having a surprise conversation with a stranger about geology this morning- turns out we are both scientists, and discussing the views of people who view us as dull and want to reduce the wonders of the world to "just science". We had a deep connection and a laugh in only a 10 minutes.
Vastly different to people who want to use us as an emotional doggie poop bag to take an existential dump.

OP posts:
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WOPTF · 18/09/2022 17:09

Yep. I have a very people-focused job where I'm with someone for maybe 15 mins at a time. Just this week I've been told by one man how he wooed his fiancee by telling her she was hot and then somehow they had an affair and are now getting married. I've also met someone this week who is avoiding her ex as he tried to smash up her house with a hammer. I don't even participate in the talk just nod and say uh huh and mmmm. People share so much!

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LemonDrop22 · 18/09/2022 17:15

I only went in for a bit of salmon and fish scraps for the cat.

Lold

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