Wellington is small enough so we joke about the two degrees of separation - you can guarantee that if you don't know someone, somebody you know will. This is something I quite like, being somewhat of a social critter and enjoying knowing people and getting to know new people. But the downside is the whole 'everyone knows everyone' thing - if you have a private life and you want it to be actually private, you have to work at it. The Bush Telegraph here is an amazing thing, and can do as much harm as good.
Something good happens - lots of "Yay!" from lots of people. Something bad happens - instant support network. Something embarrassing happens, that you'd rather people didn't know about - too bad, they all do, suck it up. And, of course, the gossip network is alive and well here too. Mostly not malicious, but it's human nature to talk about people you mutually know, and sometimes information is shared that the subject may not appreciate having been shared. I'm always really careful with confidences and I hope people are with mine. I don't think I'm the kind of person who could just not share information about myself. Yet, there are things I don't tell anyone, simply because of the way things have of becoming public knowledge. Why do I care? I have no idea.
Which reminds me, sort of.. what's the difference between openness and honesty? This has come up a couple of times lately, and I asked Charlotte the Wise about it last night. The conclusion we came to was this:
Honesty is telling the truth in every situation. For example:
Girl: Do you like my new dress?
Openness is broader, and includes something along the lines of giving people more information about yourself (be it thoughts, feelings or motivations) than may be absolutely necessary. We figured openness would allow the person you were open with, to make more educated decisions about their own behaviour, based on the information they were given. For example:
Girl: Do you like my new dress?
Guy: No, because it's made of cashmere and I'm allergic. But the cut suits you. Could you get a silk one in the same style? Mmm, silk.. *evil wink*
Girl: *goes and gets new silk dress, or only wears cashmere one not around guy. either way, no crying involved*
OK, stupid examples maybe, but it's not even 9am yet, give me a break. The idea is that in the open example, the guy gives the same information (doesn't like dress) but adds details about his feelings and motivations, therefore the girl is able to make decisions from a more educated standpoint instead of just reacting to the honesty.
So, where is the line between open and too open? Charlotte says there isn't one. She simply tells everyone about her stuff, and it keeps it simple for her - no remembering what she's told who - everyone knows everything and she's fine with that. Nothing to hide. I tend to think there is a line, at least if you're a more private person. People at my work know very little of my personal life. I like it that way. However, if someone were to ask me a direct question about it, I'd answer them honestly. But I'm not hugely forthcoming on the personal details.
I do think being open -and- honest is a good policy, I'm just not sure how to describe where the line is between good, healthy openness and TMI. I know in my gut where it is, but how to tell someone else?
This long and convoluted cut has been brought to you by the letters O,M,G,W,T,F,T,A,T and S.
And from Harper's Weekly - making the Bible more interesting for teens? Or, someone's brilliant pisstake?
"In Manchester, England, the BBC was planning an Easter tribute in which Jesus Christ will sing "Love Will Tear Us Apart" by Joy Division before joining Judas in a duet of "Blue Monday" by New Order. Later, as Roman soldiers flay him, Jesus will sing "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" by The Smiths."