I was having dinner with a colleague last night and found myself fascinated by the stories he was telling. Not fascinated in the way that you pretend to be when someone is in town visiting and you’re trying to get dinner to go by faster, but really genuinely interested in hearing more about his family and past career adventures. And as I was enjoying his tales, I got to thinking about my own stories and how he was definitely getting the raw end of this deal. I’ve got far less international intrigue, and while I’ve chosen not to have children, they definitely provide some great material. To be fair, he’s got a few years on me, so maybe I just haven’t caught up yet. And I also feel like it’s important to say that nothing he said or did made me feel like my stories weren’t just as interesting (there was no excessive yawning or picking up imaginary phone calls that suddenly came in). He was a great active listener to my tales, which was another part of what made the conversation so great.
I suppose the other part of this is that I’ve also told most of my stories before. Sure, we covered some new ground, and I shared some things with him about my work that were unique to the conversation we were having. But many of my stories are oldies but goodies to me. And all of his stories were new and shiny to me. In that shininess, I so enjoyed hearing his perspective on life and learning more about what makes him who he is. That connection to people is what drives me to do what I do, both in my personal and professional lives. And in the middle of our dinner, I decided anytime I’ve picked a dinner companion whose stories were more interesting than my own, I’ve done something right. So I told him such and will I very much look forward to the next time we’re able to share a drink and a story.