The two types of conversation almost everyone experiences

Much like mature, aged-in-a-bourbon-barrel pale ale and over-paying for Sunday brunch, I’ve always considered good conversation to be a privilege.

I truly believe in myself as a conversationalist, mostly because I am considerate. Sure, I may sometimes be exaggerating when recounting memories of being attacked by someone’s puppy, but I’m doing so because I know it’s much more entertaining than, for example, elaborating on the 20 minutes I spent on the elliptical today (jk that never happens). I believe that good conversation is an issue of accountability, and I generally specify my anecdotes and conversation topics about how relevant and interesting they actually are.

And because I’m strange enough to specify, quantify, and categorize anecdotes and conversation topics, I may as well do the same for the kinds of conversations you’re likely to encounter. Yes, we’re sub-numbering here.

1. Conversations with people you don’t know very well.

1a) Conversations with people you know you’re never going to get along with. They’re talking about their past hook-ups and/or using the words “retarded” and “gay” as synonyms for the word “stupid.” Just general, overall losers. Next?

1b) Conversations with people that you’re only going to speak with on that one occasion. Pleasant conversation, but nothing special, especially since they said that MSNBC was “just too liberal for their taste.”

1c) Conversations with people that you are mostly certain will be your best friends forever and you’re already planning a mani/pedi date for the next afternoon.* This one kind of explains itself.

*Excludes the middle-aged gay guys you meet whilst downing a fishbowl of magnificent blue juice and after bumming a cigarette off of them. Heads up, you will not meet them and their boyfriends for brunch the next day. Sorry.

2. Conversations with people you do know very well.

2a) It’s been a while and catching up feels so, so natural. No topic is off-topic or TMI.

2b) You know this person so well that when you try and subtly quote the sadly short-lived sitcom “Best Friends Forever,” they also call you out on it and all you can do is smile-cry.

2c) You know this person so well that you run out of things to talk about. That’s really it until one of you moves to Manhattan and then you’ll text each other once every month and in the future only refer to them as “one of my best friends from college.”

Listicles aside, people are just people. They may be your new best friends; they may stay strangers; they may not stay strangers even though you wish to whatever higher power that they would just leave you alone.

My advice regardless of if you find yourself in a 1C or 2B: Listen as much as you can and learn as much as you can. Gab is a gift.


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