Talk to someone about themselves and they will listen for hours (Dale Carnegie).  It’s true we all love to talk about ourselves.  Asking someone about themselves and encouraging them to talk more about themselves  is a sure way to keep a conversation going.  It does, however, end up being a one-sided conversation.  Is it really a good idea to encourage self-focus to the exclusion of the other party?  If the goal is to develop a connection with someone it may help to encourage them to talk about themselves.  On the other hand, if the goal is to have a mutually beneficial relationship in the long-term then a good conversation goes both ways.  We can listen to people talk about themselves and even encourage it.  That’s great for them but it is a drain on us. If the point of a conversation is a relationship then at some point the other person would have an interest in us as well–wouldn’t they?  A good relationship is about both people although it may be more about one or the other on any given day.  Over time, however, the relationship would be 50/50–both parties would be equally important.  If there is an agenda on one end–such as a work related business deal–then maybe encouraging the other person to talk incessantly about themselves may serve a purpose.  However, in a personal relationship it would get very tiring to always center around the other person in all exchanges.  What do you think?


Leave a Reply