Source | www.nytimes.com |
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Not long ago, I had dinner with an unusually charming friend. He entertained us with stories of arctic adventures, and he captivated us with commentary on how the Lannister-Stark conflict in “Game of Thrones” could explain foreign affairs in real life.
But I left with a nagging feeling that something was off. One of the other guests pinpointed the issue: In more than two hours, he didn’t ask a single question. A few weeks later, at dinner with another friend, I had déjà vu: In three hours, she posed a grand total of zero questions.
I might’ve expected that from a pair of self-absorbed narcissists, but neither friend fit the bill. He goes out of his way to recognize others and give credit where it’s due, and she goes far above and beyond as a mentor — she takes complete strangers under her wing. What the two friends have in common is that they’re both dynamic speakers. On a stage, they’re at their best when they’re interesting. But in a small dinner, that same quality made them come across as uninterested. It wasn’t because their social skills were weak. It was because they were misusing their greatest strength.