General Question

ninjacolin's avatar

In your opinion, what information should be kept private and what information can be made public?

Asked by ninjacolin (14224points) May 23rd, 2009

obviously you can keep private whatever you want and make public whatever you want but i just mean in general.. what kind of information is normal to share with strangers/acquaintances/strangers/friends/family/significant others and what isn’t?

have you ever heard someone divulge information about themselves that you would consider too private to share? what makes the difference to you between public and private information?

for example, i don’t think i would tell people if ever i was evicted. is that weird?
(i haven’t ever been evicted, by the way.. that’s just what started this question in my head)

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27 Answers

syz's avatar

Personally, there is a range of what I shared based on how close I am to a person, how many things we have in common, how much I trust them…..And there a few things that I share with no one.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Never share any information that could come back to haunt you later.
I’m always amazed at the personal details people will confess online. It’s as though they think this data will never affect them negatively: a sentiment which is completely wrong in just about every way.

People never share these intimate personal details for the benefit of others. They do it only for themselves without any thought of future repercussions.

ninjacolin's avatar

like what, guys? examples?
and i don’t mean credit card info! haha

jbfletcherfan's avatar

This is why I frown on some of the questions that have been asked & the answers that have been given on here. I want to say “I can’t believe you said that!” There’s one particular question that was asked & answered by scores of people several weeks ago that I’ll never forget. It was totally tasteless & invasive.

I’m very choosy at what I share on line. Now after I get to know someone better, I’ll say more, but it’s in an email or a PM. But never on an open board.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@ninjacolin Wait for it…
You’ll see plenty.

ninjacolin's avatar

i don’t think much ought to come back to haunt you. everyone’s opinion is a product of their experience. really, they are simply sharing what they have learned in life. it’s not their faults they learned it..

what was that question, @jbfletcherfan ?? i wanna read it!

Dog's avatar

I prefer to keep private and not engage in conversation.

What amazes me are the total strangers who think is is okay to ask personal questions. We have twins and you would not believe how many complete strangers ask my spouse and I if we had undergone fertility treatments. They actually think it is their business to know how our children were conceived!

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@Dog A good standard answer to that is “why do you want to know?” That usually stops them in their tracks.

syz's avatar

@Dog My younger sister was appalled when total strangers would ask personal questions during her pregnancy and actually touch her belly. She asked what I thought she should do about it and I told her to stare at them coldly and say “I’m not pregnant”. She tried it a few times and enjoyed watching people stumble over themselves trying to repair the damage.

Dog's avatar

@jbfletcherfan I can hardly wait to use that one- will tell the spouse.

@syz I would love to have seen the look on their faces when your sister said that. Brilliant!

I also have a friend who adopted her daughter. Because she does not look the same as her mother strangers ask in front of the child if she is adopted. To me this sends a constant message to the child that they are obviously out of place in the family.

ninjacolin's avatar

^^ that’s interesting. people don’t mean any harm when they “invade your privacy” in such ways.

syz's avatar

@ninjacolin Questions about your sex life? Touching a complete stranger on the stomach? You don’t think those are inappropriate?

ninjacolin's avatar

Obviously, many don’t.

ninjacolin's avatar

it’s interesting.. just because you think it is inappropriate.. that doesn’t mean that it is.
conversely, just because you think it is appropriate.. that doesn’t mean that it is.

Zaku's avatar

Actually, a lot of information is made involuntarily public via both gossip and businesses and governments posting or selling information about people.

Normal, though, is a highly overrated and very vague, almost meaningless word. Everyone can define their own standards. The impression of oddness appears when people assume and then get surprised.

Too private to share? I’ve had that impression, such as people telling me about their crimes, intimate relations with others, and especially gossiping about other people. Or just imposing their personal issues without asking first if they can talk to me about such things. Certainly I’ve also been asked for information that was surprising, like people I barely am acquainted with asking me about my personal relationships. Or one person who asked me how I manage to masturbate while traveling with others, and why didn’t I hurry up the life and death process by reproducing and killing people? One of those “fearless (pseudo)intellectual” types, I gathered. Sometimes it even seems to be a tactic to violate other people’s comfort zones, in order to put them on the defensive or make them feel obliged or more intimate than they might otherwise choose to be, which also sometimes goes along with the topic of trying to make the other person feel unfriendly or cold or weird for not wanting to have an intimate conversation.

I don’t think there is any actual subject that by definition is off limits without social agreements, which are rarer than they used to be, particularly in modern and cross-cultural societies. However that just means people are left to define their own boundaries, and to uphold them, which unfortunately isn’t generally taught very effectively.

chyna's avatar

@Dog A woman at work had twins, a boy and girl. People ask her all the time if they are identical twins.

Dog's avatar

@chyna Funny huh? It does not occur to them that identical also applies to gender.

chyna's avatar

@Dog And when she states this back to them, “they are a boy and a girl,” (thinking they will get it then), they still look at her expecting an answer.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@Dog Please feel free to quite me.

@chyna God help us!!!

augustlan's avatar

I am one of those people… I’ll tell you pretty much anything you want to know about me, maybe much more than you’d like to hear! My life is an open book, especially online. I share as much as I can in this particular format because I’d like to help people avoid the pitfalls I’ve jumped right into, find the peace I’ve got now, and to know that they are not mutually exclusive. Maybe most importantly, I also do it to challenge common assumptions.

Too personal to share? Address, Social Security/Credit Card numbers, whole name. That’s about it.

Jack_Haas's avatar

Any specific information that allows someone to identify you and hurt you kept private.

casheroo's avatar

I’m like @augustlan I tend to overshare. Sometimes I regret it, and just which I would have shut my mouth ten minutes ago…but the damage is usually done.
I need to work on my filter.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@Dog That should have been quote me…

Dog's avatar

@jbfletcherfan “I aint goin’ to quite you!” ;)

@casheroo I sometimes have filter failure too.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@Dog LOLLL, good. I’d have to get to know you better for that.

wundayatta's avatar

I say a lot here I would never say to someone who knew my real world identity. I don’t talk about health concerns except with immediate family. I talk about finances only with my wife. I talk about relationships only with the person I have the relationship with, and possibly a friend or two. I talk about being crazy only with other people who are crazy. I talk about my dreams with friends, but not at work. I talk about my loves and hobbies with friends and family, but not at work, unless the coworker is a friend.

As for the rest…. I’m an open book!

ganjoa's avatar

Far too many folks are just too free-flowing with personal information. Obviously, your personal financials and identification should be kept confidential. Just remember in conversation or on the internet it’s not the people you intend to communicate with that are going to be a security risk – it’s everyone else.

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