I bring this up because in reading “When likes aren’t enough” by Tim Bono, I learned about an interesting study by the University of Colorado. They were studying how strangers make the best impression with each other when they first meet.
One group of students were instructed to discuss a new purchase of material goods, a new cell phone or outfit, with the stranger while the second group was instructed to discuss life experiences like a vacation or a road trip with their strangers.
The results of the study found that the students had a more enjoyable conversation and made a more favorable impression on their partner when they discussed life experiences than when they discussed things such as cell phones.
The scientists concluded that: 1. Sharing life experiences strengthen social connections,
2. They invite others in by sharing memories after the fact, and
3. Since stories of experiences are more resisted to making social comparisons (my cell phone is better than yours), sharing life experiences are don’t have the potential downside of talking about things.
So, if a person’s goal is to extend the range of their positive relationships with other people, then taking an interest in that person’s experience seems to be the way to go.