Too much information

We have been talking to handymen and women about doing some repair on our front porch stairs. It’s been an interesting process to say the least.

The differences in customer service and personalities has been huge. Some of them never return your calls or they take days to get back to you. We’ve had one who scheduled a meeting with us and then never showed up. Some are chatty and want to share every detail about their life, others barely say two words. This post is focused on a chatty one who I refer to as Mr. Super-Friendly-But-Shares-Too-Much-Information Handyman.

I called Mr. TMI Handyman and within the first few minutes of our conversation he shared he had been sick for several years and was just now getting back to working again. He also said the grand-kids were coming to visit and he was going to go out to help a neighbor with some things and then had to stop at the store to pick up some items and then he could come by my house to see what I needed.

Another time when I called about the estimate, he shared he had just gotten out of the shower and would towel off and then send it to me. Yikes! I really did not need to hear that. Really!

Yesterday I gave a training on networking to a group of college students. One of the topics I covered was conversation skills. I asked the students what some inappropriate topics of conversation were. They answered politics and religion. Most of us know those are taboo topics. But, after my encounter with Mr. TMI handyman, I added not to share personal things with strangers, such as your health or lack of it, and things that are simply too intimate, like the fact you just got out of the shower.

There is a fine line between being friendly and open and sharing too much information. Mr. TMI Handyman crossed it. Ugh!

If you’re ever wondering if you might be sharing to much information look for these reactions – blushing, nervous laughter, silence or a quick change of topics. If you observe any of these behaviors, start talking about the weather.

Do you know anyone who tends to share too much information? Have you ever been guilty of this?

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Arden Clise is founder and president of Clise Etiquette. Her love for business etiquette began in previous jobs when she was frequently asked for etiquette, public speaking and business attire advice by executives and board members. The passion for etiquette took hold and compelled Arden to start a consulting business to help others. Read more >>


  1. LauraC on February 22, 2012 at 1:57 am

    I think I must have the same handy man! He never picks up on the uncomfortable silences, the lack of conversation from me (just fillers) and just keeps rattling on. My husband normally just wanders off to leave me ‘chatting’.

  2. ArdenClise on February 24, 2012 at 1:19 pm

     Ha! It sounds like it. Hopefully yours does good work.
    It can be difficult when someone doesn’t pick up on the clues that we are finished with the conversation. Sometimes we have to be a little more deliberate ending the conversation by turning our body away and saying something like, “Well, it’s been nice chatting, I know you are busy, I don’t want to keep you. Have a great day!”

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