My neighbor stopped me on the stairs to ask how I’m doing.

Two weeks ago my husband got news of a long awaited transfer, and she knows we have been busily preparing for the transition.

“It’s hard,” I said.

“I know,” she answered. “I told my husband that when we moved here, it was one of the most stressful times I can remember, and it was just the two of us then. I can’t imagine what it’s like with all your kids. I think I read that moving is on the top of the most stressful life events list.”

So this morning, I took at look at a life events stress test. Even when you add up all the associated changes with this move: change in residence, new mortgage, major change in living conditions, change in social activities, change in frequency of family gatherings — the relative amount of stress still doesn’t come close to the stress caused by the major three (death of spouse, divorce, marital separation.)

A simplistic test, of course, can’t reflect the nuances of a situation. To get a true read on my stress level, you would need to ask the right questions and listen carefully to my response. If I were transparent in sharing my answers, you would get a much more accurate reading than the one the online test gave.

But do you really want to know?

In the workplace, or out, how much transparency do we want? Yesterday, I read a blog post from a woman sharing about her hysterectomy, thanking her uterus for its faithful service. Penelope Trunk made national news recently when she tweeted about a miscarriage, while it was happening, during a business meeting. These type of posts can be really helpful to read, especially if you are experiencing a similar situation.

But what about day to day, with people you know or talk to regularly? Do you want them to be transparent, sharing about their health crisis, family, or marital problems? Or would you prefer that they carefully put on their game face and carry on as usual?

This was originally posted at Mountain State University LeaderTalk and is re-posted with permission.