Anyone who knows me knows that I love to talk. I can talk for hours about anything, to anyone. During recruitment, my sorority sisters would always volunteer me to do all the talking because “I could talk to a tree all day if I had to.” While browsing in the bookstore a few days ago, I ended up talking to a random police officer that I met for an hour and a half. This type of thing happens to me almost every time I go anywhere by myself. I simply have a lot to say. In fact, sometimes I have so much to say that my mouth can’t keep up with my brain and my words come out in a language that I’ve never heard before. Recently, people have been telling me that I’ve begun to talk faster. I didn’t know this was possible, to be honest. I chalk it up to being at work all day and not being able to say everything I would normally want to talk about. The second I get home I feel the need to FaceTime everyone in my contacts and before I know it, it’s midnight and I’m exhausted.
I’m one of those people that feels the need to tell you everything that’s on my mind. And then I’ll probably feel the need to explain my thought process, outlining every minute detail of how I reached whichever topic, realization, or story I’ve just spent half an hour telling you about. That’s who I am – and I am perfectly okay with it (side note: check out this post to read more about that). What I’ve come to learn, however, is that other people can’t handle this part of me; the part that wants to talk about every hour of my day, every thought I’ve had since I woke up, every what if I’m currently exploring, and so on.
A few years ago, I read something that really stuck with me. I can’t remember for the life of me what this was from or where I found it, but I’ve never forgotten the message it conveyed: telling someone that they’re “too much” or “not enough” is mentally damaging.
I have definitely had people tell me that I’m “too much” for them, or that I’m “a lot,” or that they can’t handle me. And like I said before, that’s okay, but of course that isn’t something I would like to hear. No one wants to hear that part of their personality they can’t change is unfavorable. Thankfully, I’m someone who understands that I shouldn’t have to diminish who I am for the sole purpose of making someone else happy – but what about the people who don’t feel that way? What if you telling them that they’re “too much” or “not enough” is the one statement that pushes them over the edge? What if you’re ruining their self-esteem, or preventing them from growing more confident? This is something I always think about before I make a comment about the way someone is acting. You never know what someone else is going through, and you are in no place to judge them.
I’m sure that this isn’t a subject many of you have thought of before. Sometimes, when people say things like this to me, I’ll react pretty strongly – maybe even overreact – because I want people to know that even something as small as a comment like this in passing could really do some damage on another person’s confidence. If someone is excited about something, let them tell you about it. And similarly, if someone doesn’t want to talk about something, respect that. If you’re busy, politely tell them that, instead of being rude.
I suppose what I’m saying is, think about things from the perspective of others before you say something that might be offensive. How would you feel if someone told you that by being yourself, you were “too much to handle”? Or how would you feel if someone told you that you “weren’t ‘enough’ for them” when you were trying your absolute hardest to be true to who you are? I hope by reading this you’ll start to explore these thoughts, and simply think twice.