Why I Think Talking About Personal Stuff is Ok. Mostly.

Fake Willie and Kata Engagement rings. I almost want to buy one.

I’ve thought a lot about this post I wrote, about the ex saying I shouldn’t put personal stuff on the blog. It’s a somewhat prickly issue about what’s considered acceptable public discussion as per your relationship.

I’ve stayed at a friend’s place for the last few days (the ex has some family visiting) and I think I might have accidentally put my foot in it last night and got my friend in trouble with her partner.

I didn’t even notice because firstly, I’m quite thick and secondly it really wouldn’t have occurred to me that what I flippantly mentioned fell under some unmentionable category, but I had this mild nagging feeling all evening that I must have done something wrong.

The partner doesn’t want my friend to talk about personal things and I had mentioned in a conversation:
a. G-chat
b. Gossip teasing (opening a conversation by baiting with some alleged juicy gossip, which later turns out to be a blatant exaggeration. None the less, highly entertaining.)
c. Something about some landlord issue the friend had told me about.

Note: Landlord issues do not strike me as personal. I don’t know. I think the partner of my friend didn’t or doesn’t want her speaking to me about anything vaguely to do with home life. I don’t know what she thinks I’m going to do with that information.

Perhaps she thinks that I’m going to judge her based on it, even so I’m not clear how landlords would come into the mix.

Maybe I’m reading into it too much.

I asked someone if I could use their scanner the other day, they responded in the affirmative but ended the email with a “…”. Naturally, I read REAMS into that “…”

For instance, this is what I imagined those dot-dot-dots to mean:

… – I don’t even know you, why are you emailing me?
… – Are you seriously asking me for a favour when I’ve only met you once?
… – How dare you! This request is a MASSIVE imposition!
… – I hate you.

So with all that in my mind I’ve thought up some arguments against this ‘Information Exchange Ban Act’:

1.

Everybody has personal stuff, I don’t see the shame in talking about it. Hiding = Shame.

2.

If you can’t talk to your friends who can you talk to?

A relationship can’t be an island anyway. If you spend nearly all your time with this one person surely it would be impossible to exclude any references of them from all conversation?

Unless you’re a double agent.

Or a robot.

(Caveat: I understand that some things should stay private.)

3.

If talking about a relationship is forbidden then all art based on/influenced by personal stuff should be banned – You shouldn’t be able to write about it, sing about it or draw things based on it.

That seems harsh, but I think fair.

Why should only talking be forbidden? Art lasts longer than a conversation.

4.

This “You can’t talk about stuff to your friends” smacks a little of control issues.

You will only speak about things that I allow you to speak of.

You will only speak about things when I say you can speak about them.

5.

Lastly how fucking boring would it be if no one ever talked about anything personal?

Simulated G-chat conversation

Hey
Hi
so..
yeah
what’s up?
nothing much. whats up with you?
oh nothing,
its cold today
yeah fucking cold
yeah…
so…what else?
just working…on stuff…
yeah?
Yeah.
oh cool
so…
ok bye …

Like, hello! Dullsville.

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4 thoughts on “Why I Think Talking About Personal Stuff is Ok. Mostly.

  1. I’m curious. A couple I know announced on Twitter that they were separating. Is that, in your opinion, taking the whole “talking about personal stuff is ok” angle too far?

  2. hmm no, I would think the couple have to define what’s they feel comfortable talking about. Besides I imagine it convenient to get something so awkward to talk about one-on-one, out there en masse. Thats how I’ve always/I would tackled it.

    And I also have no snobbery about the medium being twitter.

    That lady who tweeted about having a miscarriage while in a meeting got a lot of flak 1. for being happy about a miscarriage (how dare she? blah the usual conservative repressive crap) and 2. more surprisingly for using twitter because of some media snobbery. Like a blog post would have been ok, but a tweet is somehow more callous.

  3. You know, when I first read their tweet, I have to admit I was a bit taken aback. Not because of any snobbery about Twitter but just because it was suddenly so personal. These guys generally have funny, impersonal tweets and then wham! It seemed to come out of the blue. I don’t think I’d do what they did but like you said, it does get the message out to a wide audience with one burst of awkwardness.

    Who is this miscarriage woman? This scandal hasn’t reached me across the ponds.

  4. I guess if it suddenly turns from impersonal to personal that may be a jolt, but I like reading personal things, It’s like being let into a secret.

    The miscarriage women is an American called Penelope Trunk. (Google “penelope trunk miscarriage” for the whole thing.)

    Her blog can be extremely personal (she talks about her divorce, mental illness, abuse etc), so I’m not sure why people were so shocked.

    I think it was also this idea that a woman must have only one emotion in response to a miscarriage, you know – renting of hair and wailing, she can’t express relief.

    And here’s something she wrote for the guardian about it.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/nov/06/penelope-trunk-tweet-miscarriage

    She wrote one for the daily mail too but on principle I try not to read the Daily mail.

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