Essays About

In Praise of Self-Centered Conversationalists

At parties, relocating from acquaintance to acquaintance, I exchange updates on work, family, or upcoming travel plans, repeating the same conversation five times an hour. To stave off boredom, I listen more than talk. I have a learner's nature, not a teacher's: I am more interested in what I do not know than in what I know. Thus I regard as a bore not the person who only speaks about himself but the person who only asks about me, a topic I already know. I seek out egotistical people who expand my knowledge of the world with detailed narratives of their fly-fishing excursions or their child's violin concerts, people who are as little interested in asking polite questions about me as I am in answering them. I want to hear the opinions of experts, and everyone is an expert about his own life.