Why You Should Stop Talking About Yourself During Conversation

And focus on the other person instead.

Matt Lillywhite
Sep 28 · 5 min read

When you let other people speak during a conversation, the quality of your relationships will massively improve. It took me an extremely long time to understand that concept.

Why do so many of us struggle to listen during a conversation? Research published in Psychology Today shows that we enjoy talking about ourselves more than other people:

Fortunately, there’s an incredible strategy that will enable you to create meaningful relationships that’ll last a lifetime. You just need to stop talking about yourself during a conversation and focus on the other person.

Here’s why.

You’ll Find It Much Easier To Make New Friends

I’m going to let you in on a secret that most people take a lifetime to realize.

It’s extremely easy to make new friends. You just need to listen to other people during a conversation. Because when you genuinely care about what people say, they’ll probably want to reciprocate.

Why is this? More often than not, most people never listen during a conversation. Instead, they’re just trying to come up with a reply. Quoting an article published by Harvard Business Review:

I used to be a terrible listener. Looking back, it’s not a surprise that I struggled to make new friends. I was always focused on myself, so I didn’t even consider allowing other people to give their thoughts or opinions about what I said during a conversation.

Honestly, I’m not proud of the person I used to be. I wish I could go back and change who I was. But I can’t. So instead, I try to learn from the past to improve my future. That’s all I can do.

Since I started listening intently during conversations, I’ve found it much easier to meet new people and make new friends. After all, I genuinely care about what people have to say during a conversation.

Consider doing the same. Ask questions about the other person. Take a genuine interest in their life and what they have to say. If you can do that during every single interaction, the quality of your social life and relationships will exponentially improve.

People Will Like You A Lot More

Remember what I said earlier about most people not listening during a conversation? Great. This is your opportunity to stand out from the crowd and be someone that people love to talk to. In the words of Ernest Hemingway:

“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.”

My friends regularly say that I’m extremely enjoyable to talk to. After all, my mind isn’t distracted, as I’m not trying to come up with a response whenever they speak. Instead, I genuinely care about everything they have to say. My attention is focused solely on the other person. Nothing else.

Doing this during every conversation will massively improve your relationships. Because when you visibly take an interest in other people, they’re much more likely to do the same with you. Quoting an article published by Psychology Today:

Think about it. You like people that care about what you have to say. You love talking about yourself. So when someone gives you the opportunity to do so, you embrace it with open arms.

You just need to do the same for other people.

You’ll Become A Lot More Empathetic To People’s Feelings

This one came to me as a massive surprise. It hit me faster than a sugar rush after eating a giant bar of chocolate. If there’s one skill that will change your life, it’s empathy.

Let me explain. Empathy is, by definition, the ability to understand and share the feelings of other people. So if you want to improve the quality of a relationship, listening during a conversation is certainly a great place to start.

Listening allows you to understand what’s going through someone’s mind. It will enable you to acknowledge their feelings, problems, and anything else they might want to discuss.

So as you start listening to other people during conversations, you’ll build up your ability to empathize with people. And over time, it’ll become extremely easy to build trust, intimacy, and many other things that are vital to a healthy relationship.

If you aren’t empathetic in your relationships, they’ll be mediocre at best. So if you want to fulfill your potential, take a moment to empathize with how people feel & why they think a certain way.

Although it might seem like a simple strategy, the effect it’ll have on your social life and relationships is profound.

Final Thoughts

Like you, I want to have incredible conversations and improve every aspect of my social life. So when I began implementing these strategies, my relationships exponentially improved.

You can do the same. Because once you stop talking during a conversation, you’ll find it much easier to meet new people and make more friends. The quality of your conversations will massively improve, and any feelings of awkwardness will quickly fade away.

I’m going to leave you with a final quote from Dale Carnegie, who perfectly sums up what I’m trying to say: “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

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