It is common to hear “you are overthinking, let it flow” in an accusatory and demanding tone of voice, but also there are other ways that people use to say the same phrase, like for example “You are thinking too much” being the most common. However, is this such a huge problem?
Accusing someone of thinking too much is just mean and disrespectful. Because it underlines being judgmental by criticizing the other person’s personality. Actually, what it means is “you are making me feel dumb” and having to listen to you is getting tired. So basically what this attitude is saying, in many cases is “I cannot understand what you are telling, therefore, I don’t find it interesting so I am going to just change the subject”
In the case that some are telling you about a complex subject that they seem to care about but you cannot seem to find any interesting about it, please don’t go and label them with the phrase “you think too much.” Don’t just make them feel like they are just wasting their time by overthinking because it is disrespectful and it put you in a place where you denigrate their personality just because they are expressing their interest in something you don’t care about. Do not let your ego get the best of you and if the conversation is really that bad, you can always walk out of it. However, don’t forget to be respectful and excuse yourself before leaving.
There is a well-intentioned way of using the phrase but it is still wrong. For example when a good friend sees another friend using excuses, thinking anxiously or being paranoid. In this case, when the phrase “you are thinking too much” is said with compassion for the pain of a friend, what it means is “you are thinking the wrong way”. So the friend can understand that the train of thought that is using is just unhelpful for the situation. Instead of being objective, your friend is letting his or her insecurities get the best of them making them feel anxious or depressed.
So if you have someone who you care about experiencing this problem don’t just tell them “you are thinking too much” or “stop thinking about it” because again, it is disrespectful. Instead, I invite you to change your argument to “you are thinking the wrong way about it.” They are just in a place where their fears are overwhelming their thoughts. So a good friend will encourage them to think about the problem, even more, but in a different way. Suggest other perspectives on the same subject to think deeply about it.
Being a bit philosophical, it is possible to overthink?
We all know that person that is way too smart so smart and analytical so they tend to miss actual details around them just because they are trapped into their introspection, into their own imagination. So a point can be made, these people might be more interested in their thoughts than in what is going on in reality. But can we judge them, why their thought cannot be more interesting than the reality?
For instance, if someone gets lost in the idea of getting hit by a car, having an airplane crash or that they are going to be attacked by a vicious dog if they adventure outside their homes. You can tell with any remorse that they are thinking too much. But paranoid people and those situations are scarce.
As a matter of a fact, in most social scenarios you can benefit from thinking more but only if you are thinking correctly, asking the right questions to yourself. That way “thinking more” does not mean making judgmental emphasis on other people’s motivation or being anxious or just second-guessing too much.
Thinking more is about put some serious effort in the possibilities that are not that obvious to realize, thinking about the value of the different opinions of others and how their point of view can come across or differ from yours. And the most important, thinking more allows you to filter, to think in the undesirable effect of your words and actions on others.
I can tell by experience that people that tend to think too little are more harmful than those than think too much. You can insult people in a conversation without even realizing it just because you did not were thinking enough. When you didn’t understand a subject your friends were hinting during the conversation, porously directed to you without calling your attention; it is because you are thinking too little. When you blame an argument on someone else before contemplating their point of view and the fact that you might have contributed a great deal; it is because you are thinking shortly.
So I hope my article make you consider not to label someone with the phrase “you are overthinking,” “you think too much” or “you are giving it to much thought.” Because that attitude says more about yourself that what it says about others.