in conversation, ive found that no matter what “demographic” or “subculture” im dealing with, i can talk about myself just the right amount to get other people talking about themselves. for those that didnt get that memo– here you go, this is that memo.
its not 100% reliable (if it were, then there would be no reason for this post.) but it works surprisingly well. a few people think im only self-interested. i do occasionally and explicitly throw out “and how about you?” especially when im first getting to know someone, to let them know i care at all what they think.
but the rest get it from my face, or the way i say a certain thing. and anyone that doesnt get faces as well, seems to just take me talking as an invitation to reply– good! thats how it was intended.
truth is, i cant stand the phrase “how are you?” its a nicety, its manners, though i would prefer if it were an honest question and (apart from the fact that everyone does it) its usually not. most people dont really want to know. and if i wanted to talk about it, i probably would.
so i say this in the nicest way and with the nicest intentions– i do (most days) care how your day is going. i wont usually bother you about it, but you can generally tell me if you want. likewise, i will probably tell you if i want to– only if ive flagged you as a person i can talk to without you complaining about me being open with you. if youre one of those “i only like to hear good things” types– i avoid most (not all) of those people. nothing personal.
if we are already friends, ive probably already noted that you listen when it matters. no need to get all self-conscious. in fact if youre even slightly self-conscious about that, it probably goes without saying that youre a good listener.
and if youre not– hey, no ones paying you to listen. no worries man. (if youre still reading this, chances are this paragraph is for someone else. also, hi!)
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