Shy Employee Wonders Why It's Important to Share Personal Lives at Work

Shy Employee Wonders Why It's Important to Share Personal Lives at Work


Some people love to indulge in it, while others avoid it like a plague. While it's a guilty pleasure for the former, everyone else knows gossip is destructive.

According to Syntrio, here are the harmful effects of gossip in the workplace:

  • Erodes trust. When a group of employees engages in gossip, those who get to observe them will naturally question their ethics and integrity. What has been a positive and harmonious work environment becomes divided and less productive. On the part of the gossipers, they don't trust one another as well, since some of their so-called friends may be talking behind their back. Moreover, should the target of the gossip learn about what's going on, it can lead into a serious conflict.
  • Negative morale. If there's constant betrayal among employees, the atmosphere in the workplace becomes toxic. Employees lose their motivation, and many walk away from the organization for peace of mind.
  • Ruins team spirit. Instead of collaborating with one another to produce high-quality work, employees find themselves at odds with one another due to distrust and ill feelings.
  • Litigation. If a company fails to resolve a conflict due to malicious gossip, the aggrieved party may file a lawsuit. This worsens the situation in the workplace and damages the company's reputation.
  • Disciplinary action. Some people talk about everything, even divulging confidential matters at times. This can lead to disciplinary action or termination depending on the gravity of the offense.

In this popular post on Mumsnet, a female employee would like to avoid being talked about as much as possible. She's not an outgoing personality, and she's been wishing that her boss would just let her be, especially since the latter knows she has been experiencing mental health issues.

Writing about her story under the username privstelifeprivate, she offered the following details: "I'm in my mid 20s working in quite a young/creative company where most people are middle-class 20-30 year olds. It's a very casual and sociable company, e.g. there's happy hour in the office, pool tables, and we're told to bring 'our authentic selves' to work."

OP admitted that although she's been trying to be friendly with her colleagues, she has her reservations. But since their manager wanted her to be more well-known in their company, OP started to feel pressured to reveal more about herself, such as how she spends her weekend and the things that deeply interest her.

OP confessed on Mumsnet, "The truth is my life is very different to most of my colleagues. I try and blend in so they would have no idea that I'm not a middle-class Oxbridge graduate like they are. I live in a council flat, have had mental health difficulties (that my manager is aware of), and spend most of my free time helping to care for a disabled relative. I don't go hiking or do much traveling or run marathons or play sports or any of the other things my colleagues do. AIBU to want to keep these things about my life private at work?"

Yes, you can understand where this young woman is coming from. And she does have the right to keep matters of her private life to herself. For as long as she delivers quality work and is not in any conflict with other employees, she should be given peace. Besides, people's personalities differ, which makes the world a fascinating, colorful place.

Here are some of the best comments on Mumsnet:

From usethedata: "The phrase about 'bring your authentic self to work' is used in many diversity and inclusion efforts, but it is really meant to mean you are free to be whoever you are. And for you, that is not someone who shares personal details. He is misusing the term in a way that is unacceptable. I would suggest talking to him about his own unconscious bias for people who are natural sharers and against people who may have more challenging lives outside of work. Say you are sure it is not his intention to make you feel uncomfortable about your carer responsibilities but that sadly this is what he has done. And stage plainly - my authentic self is not a sharer. Asking me to share is therefore asking me to be someone I am not. Some people genuinely need it said that plainly."

From bowlingalleyblues: "Can you share some things you’re interested in that are not about where you live, etc. - something you’ve watched on TV or read in the paper and found interesting? The truth is no one cares, but to build relationships, they need to feel they know you, and it’ll help your career."

From EyeSpyPlumPie: "YANBU OP. I cannot abide the ‘bring your whole self’ to work tosh. I don’t need to know the ins and outs of all my work colleagues' personal lives. In fact, I’d be minded to tell them it’s inappropriate and intrusive."

Doris de Luna

For more than 20 years now, I’ve been devoting my heart, energy, and time to fulfilling my dream, which – many people may agree – is not among the easiest aspirations in life. Part of my happiness is having been able to lend a hand to many individuals, companies, and even governments as an investigative journalist, creative writer, TV director, and radio broadcaster.

At home, I spend my free time learning how to cook various cuisines. Tiramisu, chocolate mousse, and banoffee pie are my favorite desserts. Playing with our dogs, Mushu and Jerusalem, is also a special part of my day. And, of course, I read a lot – almost anything under the sun. But what really makes me feel alive is meeting people from various walks of life and writing about their stories, which echo with the tears and triumph of an unyielding spirit, humanity, and wisdom.

Back to blog