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This is unrelated to politics, pop culture and technology, but it’s something I run into occasionally and it bugs the crap out of me. It’s called an overshare, and it’s happening way too frequently. There was a time when it was an exception, but it’s increasingly becoming the rule.

As an example, a while back, a buddy of mine (we’ll call him Bob to protect the innocent) and I are stocking up on beer and snack foods for a party we’re going to have. As we’re going through the checkout line at the grocery store, the following conversation takes place:

Clerk: How are you guys doing?

Bob: I’m doing good. How are you doing?

Clerk: Well, let me tell you. My roommate moved out and owes me a bunch of money and she stole my cat and…”

It happened again this morning when I asked a colleague how her day was going. Instead of “good, and you?” I got, “I’ve had better days. I’ve had a lot better days.”

For those who see nothing wrong with this, let me offer some guidance. There are a number of platitudes in common usage that should always draw the same response – whether that response is accurate or not. For example:

Q: How are you doing?

A: I’m fine.

See? It’s simple. It’s tidy. It wraps up the need for any further discussion. Most of all, it avoids awkward moments like those above.

Let’s work on it, ok folks?.

Written by Michael Turk