Too much information

Here’s what the science says about coming on too strong…

How often has the following happening to you:

Your great date has suddenly disappeared.

  • You always initiate contact with the person you’re trying to see.
  • You’ve heard “I’m just not ready” or “I think we’re moving too fast” within the first few dates.

If this sounds familiar, you’re probably coming on too strong. This type of oversharing can be attributed to the misalignment between how someone sees themselves versus how others perceive them. At University of Texas, researchers applied the self-verification theory to explain why people continually overshare. In an effort to get people to view them the way they view themselves, some people reveal too much too soon–overly personal details, traumas, and strong feelings.

To feel happier, people want to be viewed the same way they view themselves. The person who comes on too strong believes he or she is putting your anxiety at ease by confessing their own feelings. That person believes he or she is providing important information you need to have right away, because he sees himself as a romantic or someone in love. If the feelings are unrequited, or incongruence happens, the self-verification theory notes that the oversharer will experience a negative outcome.

People who come on too strong tend to keep doing so, because they believe–on a fundamental level–that they are doing the right thing and when incongruence strikes, it’s especially debilitating because it jeopardizes the way the person sees himself.

So, how do I know if I’m coming on too strong?

Take a minute to evaluate your date’s responses. Did your date ask you lots of questions? Did (s)he initiate kissing, touching, or contact of any kind? Did (s)he propose a time or place to get together again? If not, slow down the pace until you see reciprocal positive signs that invite attention.

But, what’s the problem with telling someone how I feel?

There’s nothing wrong with sharing feelings, but it’s in your best interest to apply some objective, non-emotional thinking to ground you. For example, it’s been two dates, and you’re feeling very interested. Understand that the other person involved only knows you as much as he or she has experienced with you to that point. That person won’t know that you’ve turned down countless dates or are hard to get; they only know that it’s been a short period of time, and that’s all it took to win you over.

Without having had to “earn” your affection with positive behavior or sufficient time to show you who he or she really is, the other person won’t be able to figure out a legitimate reason for you to have such strong feelings.

When someone says too much too soon, it suggests an immediate need to fill a void versus a well-considered, intentional selection based on someone’s unique character. Just as you wouldn’t want to feel like your partner could be with anyone, and that you were just the first to come along, you shouldn’t give any reason for the person you’re dating to feel this way.

So, when should I express my feelings?

There is no “right” time to voice strong feelings. The only “right” thing to do is to try to understand what your true motivation is for doing so. Are these strong initial feelings stemming from a place of neediness? Has it been a while since you’ve met someone halfway decent? If you feel a sense of urgency to share the love, spend time figuring out the why.