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Storytelling or Listening?

A Story a Story
Image via Wikipedia

I was struck today when I overheard a conversation.

There was a great story being told and my gut wanted so desperately for me to interject at some point about a personal story that compared and related to the story I heard.

People probably do this to you many times a day: you tell a personal story about something that happened to you recently or even from 20 years ago. Quickly, even if the person was enraptured by your tale, they quickly tell you one about how it happened to them. And even moreso, how their tale is worse, better or just generally MORE than yours.

Why did this strike me? Because I stopped myself for that second when I realized it was just my gut telling me to horn in. I might have missed more, made myself appear a certain way, or even ruined someone's impression of me because of that gut-instinct.

There probably isn't anything really wrong with it, but just as important as it is to tell stories well. It's probably just as important to listen to those stories.

Which skill do you think is more important?

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