For most of us, when we run across a friend or acquaintance, it’s not unusual to ask, “How are you doing?” But what do we expect in response to that question?

Frankly, we anticipate hearing something like: “okay,” “good,” “fine,” “terrific” or at least “not bad.” Sometimes, though, we get a longer, more involved answer that includes our friend’s troubles with hellish in-laws, uncooperative spouses and children, lunkhead bosses, friends who don’t call (not you, of course)—not to mention an assortment of major and minor physical ailments. The point is that if our friend turns a polite greeting into an invitation to vent on every problem known to man, we feel like were getting too much information (TMI)—also known in Internet parlance as WTMI (way too much information).

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