Oversharing in the chaotic intimacy and delicate ecosystem of an afters is a common pitfall for even seasoned ravers. It’s when you talk too much about things you probably wouldn’t talk about sober, with people you might not even know. It could be a trauma dump-cum-existential crisis or a frankly pointless story. Whatever it is, it will often have you asking: Why did I do that?
Maybe it’s the drinks. Alcohol affects dopamine, which makes people feel less inhibited and more confident, and serotonin, which induces a feeling of warmth and openness. Drugs like MDMA and cocaine do that too. Or perhaps it’s the lack of sleep impairing our judgment. It might also be a simple desire to connect with the people we’ve been with through the night. In any case, the embarrassment and anxiety that come from oversharing often linger even longer than the hangovers and crashes.
Luckily, like surviving a festival and partying until the sun rises, not oversharing at the afters is a skill you can learn. I know this because I, too, have drank and shared too much at multiple afters. I likely did not have to profess a platonic love to a person I had known for a grand total of four hours. I definitely did not have to detail my work week to someone who until then did not even know what I did. A few times, I caught myself in the act and luckily stopped before it got too bad. Other times, my friends had to snap me out of it by ever so subtly asking if I wanted to drink some water or head back to the dance floor. I’ve also been around people who somehow consistently manage to say less. I like to think I’ve learned from their rights and my wrongs.
None of this is to say that you shouldn't be honest, vulnerable, or engage in conversation at parties. Plenty of great relationships are formed that way. It’s just a matter of doing it right—saying just enough at just the right time. Below are some ways to keep the party going while keeping your mouth shut.
Let your body do the talking, as the saying goes.
Oversharing often happens away from the dance floor, over cigarettes on the patio, or during hookup preludes in the bedroom. Getting lost in the music and dancing, then, is a good way to keep you from running your mouth. It’s hard to talk, or even think of talking, when you truly let the music take control.
Stick to people you already know
You’ll likely be at the afters with at least a few good friends—people you already know and keep regularly updated on your life. Stick to them when you think you might start oversharing. That way, you’ll have less to talk about, because they probably already know what you would say.
But if you do end up oversharing anyway, these close friends may find it easier to forgive you for it, or have the guts to shut you up.
Talk any issues out before the party
This is probably a good idea in general, even if you don’t fear oversharing at parties.
In my experience, many of the things people overshare when they’re drunk or high are things they would do well to talk about sober. If there’s something going on in your life that you think you need to talk about, and if you know you’re going to be in a situation where you run the risk of sharing too much when you’re not in the right mind to be sharing at all, make time to talk about that thing beforehand.
Journal, talk to a friend, see a professional. Resolving your issues sober will likely give you less material to overshare when you’re not.
Cool it on the drinks and drugs
The privacy of an afters and the impending end of a bender can tempt some people to really push it on the substances. Go hard then go home, or whatever. This might sound like a good idea, a last-ditch effort to make the party even better somehow. But it’s when Icarus got too excited that he began to fall.
If you know you run the risk of oversharing, have even more discretion for every shot, bottle, can, bump, line, or pill you take throughout the night. One too many can lead to a few stories too much.
Remember that it’s never too early or too late to stop
The Sunk Cost Fallacy is the tendency of people to see an action through because they’ve already invested the time and effort into starting it, whether or not the costs of seeing it through outweigh the benefits.
When you catch yourself oversharing, don’t fall into a Sunk Cost Fallacy. The costs of finishing that story (e.g. talking someone’s ear off, the morning-after embarrassment, etc.) will likely not outweigh the benefits (if any).
Maybe the best way to stop yourself from oversharing is to get someone else to overshare instead. Kidding aside, asking questions will at least invite conversation and prevent you from delivering an untimely monologue.
If all else fails, tell yourself it’s OK. People probably won’t remember what you said.
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