If you want someone to walk away from a conversation feeling great about you, then consider following an oft-suggested but rarely followed prescription: shutting up.
Let the other person talk.
It will make them feel awesome.
“Activation of this system when discussing the self suggests that self-disclosure, like other more traditionally recognised stimuli, may be inherently pleasurable,” Scientific American reports.
That’s why, so the argument goes, we’re so disposed to talking about ourselves nonstop. Studies indicate that we talk about ourselves 60% of the time in real-life interactions, a number that shoots up to 80% in online conversations.
This doesn’t mean that we’re all narcissists. Instead, talking about ourselves is basically the foundation of friendship.
In their studies of how people form social bonds, psychologists have found that the vulnerability that comes with sharing details from your life with other people is the gateway to forming relationships.
So by letting the other person talk about their experiences, you’re not just giving them the high of self-disclosure, you’re also encouraging a bond to grow.
Of course, there’s some art to the process.
Research (and life experience) indicates that people don’t want to just be heard, they want to be understood. That requires following what they’re saying — and asking them to unpack it further.
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