Monday, June 02, 2008

A little project...

"There is no such thing as conversation. It is an illusion. There are interesting monologues, that is all." Rebecca West


I've lived and worked in Paris and New York. I've had some crazy adventures. I like history and classic cars and can mix a martini that would make Ian Fleming weep with pleasure.

Which, as far as I'm concerned, makes me a FASCINATING guy.

But the fact is, I'm not half as fascinating as I think I am. Just about everybody I meet is going to be distracted by somebody they find far more fascinating - themselves.

We're all totally self obsessed.

Which is entirely natural - just ask any psychologist. The whole psychology business is founded on people paying their therapist to listen to how interesting they are.

But sadly, we're not nearly as fascinating as we believe we are. That explains why we have to pay psychologists to listen to us. If they weren't getting paid, they'd be far more interested in talking about themselves.

In today's fast-paced society, the emphasis of everybody's existence seems to be themselves. It's Me! Me! Me! The world is as we see it. Politics, economics... even the weather. Our opinion on anything is shaped purely by how it affects us.

And if there's one thing we all like more than thinking about ourselves, it's talking about ourselves. We're our favorite topic of conversation! It's a pity more people don't realise how fascinating we are, because we could talk about ourselves all day! In fact, we're dying to!

So here's a project for you. Find five people you see every day, but don't know that well. (For me, it's easy. Pick five engineers in the office who I'm on 'nodding' terms with.)

Find out their names (hooray for name badges on the door!) and then ask them something... Nicely, pleasantly... Conversationally. Ask anything that gets them to reveal something about themselves you didn't know before.

Why, you ask?

Well, because people love taking about themselves - and if you engage five virtual strangers in brief conversation and find out something new about them, they'll end up walking off with a rosy feeling - happy that you took an interest in them. What's more, you'll have something to talk to them about the next time you see them.

It's a simple and (virtually) effortless way to become five times more popular in just one day.

If you can't be bothered to play the 'five person' game, at least mull over this suggestion - that you can often appear more 'interesting' simply by shutting up and listening to what somebody says to you, instead of trying to impress them by telling them all about yourself.


Anonymous said...

The term fascinating is of course subjective, so you can only describe yourself as fascinating if you fascinate yourself. I'm with myself everyday, so I find myself quite boring. The oddest people fascinate me, while people I find positively dull may fascinate others. Like how dull they are might be fascinating, which would make them fascinating, which wouldn't make them dull, but the dullness made them fascinating...

Little rambling Angel. said...

Brilliant post!

I always think people are more fascinating than me, so I also find myself quite boring.

Anonymous said...

Your post and the comments seem to show that (young) men think themselves fascinating, while (young) women are insecure and think themselves boring.

Anonymous said...

oh, enough about ME already, roland! what do YOU think of ME!!!? hehehe.

Great post, my dear!! and i love the picture of you surrounded by all those ladies.

and okay, could you get my weiner to read this post? he is the most self-absorbed Sausage i have ever met!

You have a great nite, Roland!

Meghan said...

Excellent post content and I'm definately going to try the exercise at the....

Sorry what were we talking bout? Just saw my reflection in something shiny.

Mo said...

Channeling Elaine Benes.. Is it possible I'm not as fascinating as I think I am?

Dale Carnegie recommends your technique as a sure fire way to make other people find you fascinating. They will think you're the best conversationalist ever if you talk about the other person and their interests.