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Monday, February 26

Gapers Block

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sb / August 6, 2008 9:33 AM


Allan / August 6, 2008 9:52 AM

Well when I get some acquantances. I suspect it would be way to personal to explain why I keep my past fingernail clippings frozen an ice cube trays in my freezer and politics.

jennifer / August 6, 2008 10:15 AM

I think that there are a lot of topics that people discuss with acquaintances (either in person or online) that need to be a bit more censured. There are a lot of people who have become something of 'oversharers.'

that being said, a short list: bodily functions, details of sex life, family secrets, financial difficulties...

with friends, different rules apply. but have some tact people.

whit / August 6, 2008 10:18 AM


Brian / August 6, 2008 10:32 AM

Almost anything is too personal to discuss with acquaintances. Topics are best kept to the business at hand.

Krissy Claes / August 6, 2008 10:42 AM

Money. I don't want to know what you spent on that purse, thanks.

Irisheyes1212 / August 6, 2008 11:13 AM

OK to discuss: Hey I just saw Dark Knight and thought it was awesome, what did you think?

Not OK: Last night I tried page 23 of the Kama Sutra. Have you tried it?

As an above poster said...tact.

Gaigen / August 6, 2008 11:20 AM

My years as a covert agent working in Thailand. If I told them I'd have to blah blah blah...

But seriously, I think anything is OK to discuss with an aquaintance ... IN GENERAL TERMS. I've had conversations about sex, money, politics, family situations with aquaintences in general terms and it was fine. It was when you get personal that it gets weird. Get specific about money and sex, money, famiyl and I'm TMIing myself right out of that conversation. I've even had strangers tell me some of the most personal things. I should have been a bartender.

annie / August 6, 2008 12:53 PM

I personally don't share too much, but for some reason (think it's my innocent look) people tell me tons of ridiculous stuff and I never stop them! I love it when people open up and share stuff, I feel like I have something on a lot of people, from acquaintances to total strangers. Anyone else have the "stranger danger" in line to a bathroom that tells you the most random and crazy stuff..I find bathroom lines to be a place where lots of ladies share..maybe that's why I go to the bathroom so much when I'm out?

zoenotcool / August 6, 2008 1:55 PM

Salary, price of our house/car, family secrets, who I voted for, religious beliefs, mental health,
financial problems, any health problems located between the belly button and the knees.

David / August 6, 2008 2:42 PM


Your sex life, especially if you're "trying for a baby."

And MONEY (as in, I'm on a budget and am trying to save it, while all my friends seem determined to spend theirs).

When I tell people I live debt-free and on a budget, they react like I'd just told them I like to molest birds. Which I do; I just don't talk about it.

Alison / August 6, 2008 3:30 PM

David, I'm cracking up at your comment. Trying to laugh quietly.

There is a lady at my work who recently had some sort of colon issue and she tells anyone who will listen--in person or on the phone--about it. I've had to hear about it in great detail at least 10 times. Having to repeately be an unwitting listener in this overshare has been a great refresher in why exactly TMIs are TMI.

Michelle / August 6, 2008 3:32 PM

My lunatic family.
Give me a salary or political question any day, but when someone innocently asks "So how was Christmas/Thanksgiving/Mother's Day?" I inwardly cringe, but brightly say "Fine! Just fine!"

Graumach / August 6, 2008 5:10 PM

Sex, money, religion, politics, relationships, specifs of recent medical history -- checks down the board on the usual suspects. General water-cooler gab, effectively. That's for acquaintances, at least. For friends, it depends...after the proper waters have been thoroughly tested, and you know where each other's coming from, etc.

And David...if only my friends & acquaintances who were "trying for a baby" would've spared me the details. But it seems everyone's who's doing it always thinks the topic's "OK for air", you know? Guhhh.

olive / August 6, 2008 8:08 PM

I think it depends...One of my most memorable conversations was with a Tunisian taxi driver in his early 20's, but of course nothing was really personal. He was talking about his country. I agree with Gaigen - almost anything is okay to talk about, but in general terms.

And when do you cross that line from acquaintance to friend? I am referring to the people you just meet and start hanging out with, as opposed to strangers you stand next to in a bathroom or supermarket line. Sometimes you click with people right away and start chatting about your life.

Steven / August 6, 2008 8:41 PM

I'm Dutch. NOTHING is off limits.

Lolo / August 7, 2008 10:40 AM

Lolo's money, Lolo's lovelife, Lolo's pito. These are always a topic of conversation. And Lolo never even has to bring them up!

corinna / August 7, 2008 11:34 AM

I have to know you really well before I'll tell you how I feel about Leonard Cohen.

corinna / August 7, 2008 11:34 AM

I have to know you really well before I'll tell you how I feel about Leonard Cohen.

Mike Doyle / August 7, 2008 12:13 PM

This is a great question. I think it depends on the acquaintance and the relationship you have with them. I know some people who play their lives very close to the vest and prefer their friends to do the same. I know others who (like me) don't feel any topic is potential TMI territory.

It's a question of respect, in a way, for the other person and your relationship with them. I figure, share what you want, guage the response, and then use that response to guide you with your future sharing with that person in the future.

Unless you're a blogging. I think a lot of blogs out there (including mine) would be a lot less interesting if we censored ourselves the way we might in a face-to-face conversation.

Not that I do that much either. Maybe I'm not the best person to answer this question!

Gaigen / August 7, 2008 1:04 PM

A perfect example: Guy on my floor in my building came up to me and asked if I had $3 he could borrow for the bus. A little strange but no problem. Lines were cross when he explained why he needed it: He had just gotten stiches on his butt and they had broken and he was bleeding there and needed to see his friend to...

I tuned out, gave him a couple of bucks and quickly slipped inside my apartment.

Mike Doyle / August 7, 2008 3:38 PM

Gaigen, I guess he didn't have good pitchman skills. To wit: once you make the ask, shut up. Rambling only gives the other party a reason to say no. Lucky for him, you, er, saved his butt anyway.

Leah / August 7, 2008 4:37 PM

I've almost never had anyone I don't know REALLY well volunteer that they're trying to have a baby. In my experience, people are much more likely to ask you about your plans for future kids. Whether or not someone already has kids, it's incredibly rude to ask them if they're trying for a baby, if they're trying for more, how many they're going to have, etc. It's also potentially really hurtful if the person is suffering from infertility (and yes, even if they already have kids they can have secondary infertility) issues. But I get questions like that from probably 75% of the people I have conversations with. Store cashiers, people on the bus - everyone wants to know.

Speedy / August 8, 2008 6:45 AM

Your wedding plans.

Three jobs ago, I had to listen to one of the office shrews talk on and on about her wedding plans. This went on for months. How Aunt Greta couldn't sit next to Aunt Hortense, how her sister helped her find out a gown, how her fiancee wasn't doing his part.....sheesh. Finally, the big day arrived. Then we had to hear about the honeymoon. I quit (for a different reason) shortly thereafter.

Next job, same thing...only this one was a 20-something urban hipster. Didn't have as much money to blow as the shrew, but babbled about it just as much. I know what she wore on her wedding night.

Current job, I've been lucky. Mostly dudes around here. One guy mentioned he was taking a Friday off in September to get married, but I haven't heard about it since.

graumach / August 8, 2008 10:45 AM

Ditto, Speedy. Good one.

I once had a connecting flight from Prague to some other location (somewhere in Germany, perhaps), and a woman in the row behind me spent the entire hour-plus subjecting her newfound traveling companion to a shrill, propulsive diatribe of gripes about all the material details of her upcoming wedding, from take-off to touch-down. Apparently the dude had blundered onto the topic by way of the most casual of chit-chat. Every bit of minutiae was of earth-rattling urgency -- right down to the cocktail napkins. I wasn't the direct recipient of this one-sided harangue; but seeing how I was sitting directly in front of her, I had to hear it for the whole flight.

flange / August 10, 2008 12:50 AM

Most of the cell-phone conversations i overhear.

as for topics too personal to discuss with acquaintances: well, you people aren't even that in my life. so you'll have to forgive my not telling you until we know each other better.

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