Help! My Friend Over Shares!
A few months ago, I found myself in an interesting place with a long time friend. Over the years we've known each other, she has experimented a lot with her sexuality. She's tried every toy under the sun, tested the waters of same sex and opposite sex relationships, attended bondage clubs, and more. As she began her experiments, I admired her. I thought to myself, who is this brave, brave woman who is so open to learning more about herself even if the ideas are taboo?
As it continued and increased my admiration turned to questioning. Why does she do that? Does that actually feel good for her? Would I enjoy something like that?
Then, to my dismay, my questioning turned to judgement. I thought she was a bad person. I was afraid to be seen with her in certain circumstances. I even viewed some of her activities as a form of prostitution.
Of course, none of this would be an issue if I didn't know all the issues of what she was doing. But no, I knew every hairy detail down to which positions she experimented with, which toy she used where and how hard she liked to be hit.
Eventually, after talking to her about it and trying to change the conversation every time she brought something up that made me uncomfortable, I ended the friendship. I just did not feel the relationship was mutually beneficial and we just had too many differences. It was not a decision I made lightly, but I just couldn't comfortably go out in public with a girl who was confidently wearing see-through pants and a g-string.
3 Steps to Managing the Friendship
I'm not proud of how I made my decision to end the friendship. She is an amazing woman and I'd love to still be friends with her minus all the uncomfortable bits. I've spent a lot of time thinking about how I could have handled the situation better.
Here are my 3 steps to managing the friendship of an over-sharer:
1. Confront the situation. If your friend is sharing more than you'd like to know, tell her up front and bluntly. Use "I" statements and examples to help her understand in a non threatening way. Make sure she understands that you are not judging her lifestyle, but just do not want to be part of it.
2. Distance yourself from the situation. Choose what you do with your friend wisely. Don't go to sex clubs, toy shops or parties with her if that's where her experimental side comes out. Keep it to safe activities like dinner, movies and other one on one activities.
3. Guide the conversation. When she changes the conversation to something that feels uncomfortable, carefully guide the conversation in another direction. Make sure you are respectful of her views and do not discredit her.
If All Else Fails
If you've tried everything and she just isn't willing to stop the over-sharing, it just might not work. Sometimes two people are just too different. In the case of my friend, she was just beginning the process of exploration and was not willing to be slowed down. As much as I tried the steps above, I just could not break the cycle of over sharing.
If this happens to you, try not to judge yourself and absolutely, DO NOT do anything that makes your feel uncomfortable. Try to look as things positively and do what's best and safest for you.
If you've had a similar experience, I'd love to know! Write to me in the comments below. Maybe we can come up with a better solution to this problem together.