I was on a communications course at work, and learned plenty of interesting things, even about the art of conversation.
I was told that the best way to start and maintain conversations with people is to ask questions. Ask about themselves, and when they answer, let it initiate more questions. Apparently, people like talking about themselves and love when someone takes an interest in them.
Here’s the thing I don’t understand. I used to have a Bulgarian friend who, quite predictably, came from Bulgaria. She would talk, incessantly, about herself. Her boyfriends (yes, that’s plural), her family, her ambitions, her work, her friends, her plans for the weekend.
I was quite happy to listen, and I would often throw in questions, like I had been taught.
But she would never ask me anything about myself. I can guarantee that if you asked her to say something about me now, she would just about get my first name right. She didn’t know where I worked, where I lived, who my partner is, anything like that.
I didn’t offer this information, either, because I wanted to see how long the relationship could continue with her not knowing anything about me. The answer is: A whole year. That’s right. I was pretty impressed with that.