Hallelujah, I have TMI girlfriends! These ladies and I can, and do, discuss pretty much any topic…nothing is Too Much Information (TMI) with them. A question about our lady parts? We discuss it. Adventures in bed/intimacy? We discuss it. The workings of our gastrointestinal tract? Discussed. And while we could each talk to our spouse about some of these topics, there is also something powerful about receiving input from someone besides your partner, especially on a female-specific topic. (Obviously that last part doesn’t apply to those of you with female partners-a bonus for you!) Having such an open relationship with these friends seriously lightened my stress load, so I wanted to share what is probably too much information on how to build a great TMI friendship:
TMI girlfriends keep everything confidential
Trust is essential. After all, you all know a lot of top secret info about each other. When you establish a TMI relationship, talk up front about whether or not any of the information can be shared with a spouse. If you decide yes, then also clarify if at any point there is a topic discussed that you would like your friends NOT to share with their spouse.
Side by side
As a beginner, sharing TMI is easiest when standing/running next to someone. It is a little harder face-to-face, especially the first few times (and especially if the TMI is of the biological variety). I admit that I find it easier to bring up an intimate topic when I am not looking straight at someone…not because I don’t trust my TMI girlfriends, but because sometimes a topic is still a little embarrassing. We go running together and share a LOT during that time, which I credit to how running requires us to keep looking ahead to prevent tripping and falling.
Always be aware of your surroundings
A TMI conversation came to an abrupt halt during a run one morning when another runner got close enough to possibly hear what we were talking about. “Did that guy just hear me talk about my vaginal discharge?” are not words for the faint of heart at 6:30 a.m.
Fess up when you mess up
Some of our funniest conversations started with someone sharing a personal gaffe. Take, for instance, if someone admits to forgetting undergarments to change into after working out and hence is going commando, that might turn into a conversation of times others have ended up without undergarments. And then it might morph into the pros and cons of wearing undergarments with workout wear. And then someone might share a recommendation for the best undergarments for avoiding panty lines. Not only do we laugh a lot when we are together, we learn a lot too.
While we joke about TMI, too much information also applies to when the world is coming at one of us with too much of anything: the illness of loved ones, parenting struggles, marital discourse. We help each other handle the too much times, if in no other way than to give our friend an outlet for anger, frustration, or fear. With others to help carry the load, too much begins to feel surmountable. The friendship intimacy we have established in our TMI talks makes us the perfect team when one of us needs support.
We all have many types of friendships in our lives: the long-time best friends, the parallel parenting friends, the work colleagues who can best understand our day-to-day lives. Definitely consider adding a TMI friend into your friendship mix, even if it’s a long-distance TMI relationship. The best part of a TMI friendship is how well you get to know your friends. We also know we can rely on each other; we are surrogate sisters. Whether it is the delivery of throat lozenges to a friend who has strep, or a repeated inside joke just when one of us needs to smile, TMI friends are the total package of sincerity and humor. And thank goodness, because laughter is one thing you can never have too much of.