Friday, 17 January 2014

Bring it on

There's no such thing as Too Much Information. To my mind, the more information the better. I can never get too much of it. Information is always preferable to ignorance.

The more information I have, the more I know about the world, about other people's lives, about my own mind and emotions, about everything. The less I'm floundering about in a fog of confusion, speculation and misunderstandings.

I don't care if the information is outrageous, or obscene, or repulsive, or peculiar. I don't care if it upsets me, or embarrasses me, or alarms me. I can deal with my emotional reactions and I'm not going to push something away just because it temporarily unsettles me.

I'm an intensely curious person. I want to know. I need to know. I don't like being fobbed off with vague explanations and coy silences. What is so devastating, so shocking, that I mustn't know about it, I mustn't be exposed to such horror? There's not much in this world that's truly shocking, especially at the ripe old age of 66. Whatever you think would shake me to the core, probably would just leave me a bit puzzled.

Of course some people conceal things as being "Too Much Information" when what they really mean is that they're nervous of other people's reactions. They're afraid of being laughed at, or criticised, or simply facing a stunned silence. Which is understandable. I withhold certain facts about myself for just that reason.

But dismissing awkward topics as Too Much Information is absurdly squeamish. It's precisely those awkward or controversial remarks that give me precious insights into human nature and other people's complexities. Without them, my understanding of the world would be much more limited.

So tell me everything, I say. I don't care if it knocks me for six. I don't care how awful it is. To my mind, Too Much is always better than Too Little.

23 comments:

Bijoux said...

At the risk of repeating myself, I really don't want to hear about other people's bodily functions. Nor do I want to know what goes on in the bedrooms of people I know.

I think those who give out TMI are doing it for shock value, not because they are trying to be open and honest.

Nick said...

Bijoux: Ooh, that's a bit cynical! I think most people are simply saying what's on their mind, rather than setting out to shock. And I love to know what goes on in people's bedrooms!

susie said...

Okay, here's some TMI. My son keeps me informed EVERY TIME he has to take a dump. I wonder if he could even perform the task if I weren't around. TMI!

Nick said...

Susie: I don't think that's Too Much Information so much as boring, trivial non-information!

Wisewebwoman said...

I've mentioned before Nick and even blogged about, I have the kind of face that people pour out their very souls to, kinks, deviations, etc.

So I'm always almost over-informed.

And mostly I give of my inner if I feel you won't laugh or belittle.

XO
WWW

Z said...

I was brought up not to ask personal questions and it was quite a long time before I realised that this could be taken as a lack of interest. But I don't think I could persist if someone was evasive and didn't want to tell me something. How do you go about it?

Jay at The Depp Effect said...

"But dismissing awkward topics as Too Much Information is absurdly squeamish."

I do so agree, Nick! How coy can you get? I've heard it so often, and it puzzles me. Either you are discussing a subject, or you are not. To suddenly say 'OK, that's TMI' is bizarre - the person you are speaking to has their own line and probably can't guess at yours!

Nick said...

www: So even though people pour out their souls to you, presumably you don't feel overwhelmed? You don't feel the need to stop them in their tracks?

Z: Oh, if someone's evasive, I don't think there's much you can do. If you try to push them, they'll probably be even more evasive. People will only divulge things if they're good and ready. And if they feel comfortable with you.

Nick said...

Jay: It is coy, isn't it? If they know for sure that what they're about to say might upset or embarrass you, fair enough. But mostly they have no idea how the other person will react.

Grannymar said...

So you want every crumb....?

Sorry, I licked my finger and dipped it in the crumbs, then eat them. Working like that right round the plate until it was clean enough to put in the cupboard. Not a crumb left. Sorry! ;)

Nick said...

Grannymar: So now it's all coming out. Your slovenly domestic habits. Your obsessive-compulsive crumb removal. My goodness, I don't think I can ever speak to you again....

Suburbia said...

Nothing like a good load of communication!

Nick said...

Suburbia: I agree. The more the merrier. I don't care how awful it is. Or how eccentric. Or how perverse. It's all part of the rich tapestry of human life.

Helen Devries said...

I assume that if someone starts to tell you about something they intend to inform you fully...not coyly close down somewhere along the line.
If that's the case, what was the point of starting in the first place except as one of the many
'Oh, aren't I an interesting and mysterious person' gambits.

Wisewebwoman said...

Nick:

I absolutely love it. I want to scream "More, tell me more!"

There is never enough!

XO
WWW

Cheerful Monk said...

Hey, I'm a nerd/geek/whatever. Some of the things we get excited about people would put in the "boring, trivial non-information" category. So mostly I don't go into detail unless I think the other person's eyes won't glaze over.

Nick said...

Helen: Exactly, why launch into something and then suddenly pull the shutters down? As you say, that just seems like pointless attention-seeking.

www: Me too!

Jean: But maybe you're a bit too nervous about their eyes glazing over? Maybe they'd be more interested than you imagine?

Secret Agent Woman said...

At the risk of second Bijoux on this topic again, I don't want to hear about others' bodily functions either. Not even from my patients - jeez, rein it in. Other than that, of course, there is no TMI in my work. And not with good friends. either. But strangers when I'm out and about - I don't always want or need to know what's going on with them.

Nick said...

Agent: Well, a smattering of body functions (as it were) goes a long way. I can't say I'm very interested in the wider details.

I'd love to know everything about the lives of strangers, but of course being strangers they're not going to reveal much other than how they lost their umbrella.

Ursula said...

"So tell ME everything", you say. What are you actually telling about yourself?

U

Nick said...

Well, there's the 757 blog posts I've written, which have revealed an awful lot about my neuroses, weaknesses, obsessions etc etc. What else would you like to know?

Rummuser said...

Okay. How much time have you got?

Nick said...

Ramana: Plenty! Where do you want to start?