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The Problem with “Share”

February 7, 2014
I might lend my copy to somebody else, or I might give it away, but I'll never share it.

I might lend my copy to somebody else, or I might give it away, but I’ll never share it.

People can have different tastes in a lot of things, including books, music, movies, and even taste (as in food).  I guess we can even have different tastes in words.  A couple days ago I admitted that I couldn’t read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone because of the name “Dumbledore.”  “Dumbledore” annoyed me so much (and I was even reading silently) that I had to put the book down and never continue.  I also admitted that I didn’t like the word share.

Dumbledore might have been a decent character.  Dumbledore might have had redeeming qualities.  I have no problem with Dumbledore, except for the sound of it.

But the word shareShare has no redeeming qualities.  Everything about share sucks.

Over the years, I’ve come to hate the word share.  In school it meant giving up something I owned for somebody else who probably didn’t deserve it.  In my professional life, it means giving my coworkers the chance to get credit for my ideas.

I once had a boss who used to say share by extending the sound over two syllables (shay-air) in a nasally tone at brainstorming sessions.  I cringed whenever she said “Shay-air,” and it didn’t help that I was usually the first person she called upon.  I think she enjoyed watching me say “Uh….  Errr….,” with my face turning red whenever she asked me to “shay-air” what I was thinking.

I felt bad when this boss got demoted (or laterally moved), but I didn’t “shay-air” my sentiment with anybody else because she was unpopular and had added a bunch of unnecessary and counterproductive procedures to our jobs.

Now whenever I hear the word share, I hear shay-air, no matter how the word is uttered.  It’s like the fingernails on the chalkboard (which might be a bad example because that has never bugged me).

Now that I think about it, I don’t even like the concept of sharing.  I’d rather just tell somebody my idea than share it.  I’d rather just let somebody borrow my stuff than share it.  In some cases, I’d even give my stuff away before I share it.  At the very least, I’d buy somebody the same thing that I have instead of sharing mine.

One of the very worst expressions ever is “Sharing is caring.”  In my mind, all I hear is “Shay-air-ing is cay-air-ing.”  Not only is this annoying, but the message is misleading, at least it is from my point of view.  When I’ve shared stuff in the past, it wasn’t because I cared; it was because I wanted other people to quit bothering me.  Now when I give my stuff away or I lend it out to others, that’s when I care.

Very few words have both an annoying concept AND an annoying sound.  Because of this, the word share is in an annoying league of its own.  Maybe it’s just me.

The only time share doesn’t bug me is if it’s somebody’s name.  I have no problem with Cher.  For some reason, I don’t hear it the same way when it’s used as a name.  Even growing up in the 1970s listening to (or watching) Sonny and Cher, the name doesn’t bother me.  Sonny doesn’t bother me either, and Sonny bothered a lot of people.


If some of the previous few paragraphs look familiar, it’s because I plagiarized them…  from myself.  I just wanted to admit where I got my ideas so that I don’t get accused of plagiarism and get fired from my own blog and have all my posts yanked from Dysfunctional Literacy.  I almost got myself fired from my own blog once (that stupid idea called “Dysfunctional Grammar”) and I don’t want it to happen again.  It’s kind of embarrassing to almost get fired from your own blog, even when nobody else knows about it.  So if you’re going to plagiarize on your blog, plagiarize from yourself and just admit it.

  1. Dumbledore is one of my favorite names of all time. You kind of bounce across the syllables and they fit together so well. It’s one of those weird names that feel like they’re a description of the person they belong to.

    I will, however, unintentionally pronounce share in your messed up way for at least a month.

    • If you do that (I’m not so sure it’s a good idea), watch how people react. A couple people told me they could see me cringe a little every time my boss said it.

  2. Shay-air.


  3. “Sharing is caring,” is right up there with “Hugs not Drugs.” Both equally cringe-worthy… Unless it’s School House Rocks, rhyming lessons are never a good idea.

  4. I also think the sharing word has morphed into meaning you need to feel guilty and give away everything you have.

  5. mahawati permalink

    it’s funny to know good character with silly name, dumb-ble-dor-re

  6. I have this irrepressible urge to share my feelings about this post…

  7. You must have a lot of cringe-worthy moments online, with Share buttons strewn around indiscriminately.

    • I only notice the “share” button when others point it out to me. Maybe I should look into taking advantage of it. Or maybe I should find a way to rename it.

  8. It seems that sharing has become a prerequisite for our daily life. And if – god forbid – you dare want to keep a thought, feeling, thing or experience to yourself, you are utterly regarded as a criminal. What happened to privacy?…

  9. I had never thought about the word share in the sense of “sharing our ideas” at work, which is a plague. I had thought you were opposed to me giving part of my dessert to my kids, which seemed rather heartless.

  10. I have such problems too. Haha xD
    And about Harry potter – I don’t like it – simple. It’s not conveying a strong and clear message just as you wrote about it before.

  11. Lindsay Bandy permalink

    I am averse to the word spurn, among others. I can’t handle it. Even typing it makes me shudder. Glad I’m not the only one out there….haha!

  12. “Dysfunctional Grammar” – I had nearly forgotten. I have to admit, the last paragraph of the whole post was my favorite. I was tempted to click the ‘share’ button just to spite you and share, I mean, recommend that paragraph to some friends. But then I remembered how annoying you find sharing. While I will stauchnly defend the Potter books, I do agree that somewords are ridiculous. In Spanish, the word for lettuce – lechuga – makes me want to yack when I hear it. (And I don’t mind consuming the occasional head of lettuce once in a while.) Another word some people dislike is the word “moist”. I have no problem with “moist”, though I usually extend it to “moisty”, which people really don’t cay-air for.

    Go figure.


  13. I understand your dislike of the word “share”, but Is that also a problem when someone else shares something of theirs with you? 🙂
    And, would you also hate it if someone offered you, say, 100 shares of Apple Corporation?

    • As long as it wasn’t 100 “shay-airs” of Apple Corporations, I’d probably be okay with it. I think “share” as a noun (like “Cher” as a proper noun) doesn’t bug me as much.

  14. usually if there’s a character name that’s too long or that might sound weird, i just make up a similar sounding name for them in my head.

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