Talking about your private life at work: a good and a bad idea
We spend a hell of a lot of our lives at work. Sometimes we see more of our colleagues than our own family 😅. So it’s natural to want to talk about your passions, your close ones, your problems - in short, you want to talk about your day-to-day life to genuinely share and create a bond, because after all, we’re all human.
Sharing your private life is all well and good, but you need to be careful not to do it in any way that could lead to an embarrassing situation. Yes, we should be able to be ourselves at work, because after all, we were hired for our experience, skills, and personality. Of course, but the thing is that you shouldn’t say too much.
Indeed, talking too much about our private lives at work can end up creating awkwardness 😶. Of course, we can have a best friend at work and in that case, there’s nothing to worry about. There’s the trust required to be able to discuss all aspects of our private lives. However, this is an exception and in the professional world, not everyone wants to be friends with you. Certain details of our lives need to be kept under wraps, even if they’re important to us 🤐.
Not to mention that beyond annoying your colleagues, you can put yourself in an awkward situation. Not everyone is kind, and there are people who won’t hesitate to use information against you. The result is a less-than-serious or even totally negative image of you!
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Distinguishing between private and intimate
When you’re having an informal moment, such as a break at the coffee machine, you need to choose topics of conversation that are private, but not intimate. Let me explain: instead of talking about your weekend woes, an argument with your boyfriend, or, on the contrary, a great family meal, opt instead for the latest exhibition you saw or react to a news item to give your opinion and show your activism.
👉 Talk about your private life, your tastes, and your hobbies without getting too intimate. The latter aspect includes your experiences, your wounds, and your emotions. So don’t expose your intimate life to people you don’t really know.
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Knowing the right time to give information
We should therefore avoid giving intimate details at work... Except when necessary 😅. This doesn’t contradict anything I’ve said, because sometimes situations arise that are beyond our control and have an impact on our professional lives.
I suffer from an anxiety disorder and depression. I’d never mentioned it before, but one day I just didn’t feel able to work anymore. Likewise, I was simply exhausted, which led to me stopping work. If I’d talked about my state of mind earlier, I know that my conditions could have changed and that I could have adjusted my working hours a bit, so that I wouldn’t be tired but still productive.
Another example is that of a woman suffering from endometriosis. Each time, the suffering of her cycle will have an impact on her performance, and someone who’s not aware of the disease won’t be able to take it into account. The same applies if you’re undergoing an ART procedure, suffering from a burn-out or caring for someone close to you, etc. In short, we need to talk about these aspects of our personal lives that can have an impact on our work. Obviously, we don’t tell everyone about this. Generally speaking, you need to talk about it to your direct superior, so that you can warn them in the event of a problem.
👉 And be careful, while it’s important to talk about these things, we mustn’t do it too much, at the risk of being labelled by someone: “ah well, here comes the depressive!” 😓. You never know what might be said in the company corridors, so you need to find the balance to talk about your private life, without going into too much intimate detail.
Editor’s note: Striking a balance
It’s OK to talk about your private life at work, but not in any way and especially not with just anyone. Ill-intentioned people could use this information against you, so don’t confide too easily and, as Lauren explains so well, privacy doesn’t mean intimacy. There’s a balance to be struck. If your relationships are complicated and the same patterns keep repeating themselves, then it might be worth consulting a psychologist to understand where these patterns come from and how to put new, happier habits in place. 🤗
Understanding yourself, accepting yourself, being happy... It’s here and now!
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