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Dear Anna,

We are a friendly team and take an interest in each other’s lives outside of work. One team member doesn’t participate, and it’s being noticed
by others.

What can we do?

A sense of belonging, closeness and connection is important to many people, but not everyone. It’s a common assumption that everyone reacts positively to support from people at work. But one size doesn’t fit all. Educator and psychologist Geraldine Piorkowski called this the “threshold effect”, where a relationship becomes too close for comfort. Rather than friendly interest bringing the person closer, it pushes them away. 

A recent study by the Academy of Management has confirmed that people reach this threshold when they are asked to disclose too much about their own lives, or others around them share too much. It turns out that oversharing is just as damaging as being a closed book.  Here are three things to consider as you find the right amount of sharing for each team member.

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