Some years back, the late columnist Jim Bishop wrote a piece about how tired he’d grown of people asking “What’s up?” or “How are things going?” without really listening to his answers. One acquaintance in particular made a habit of calling him, asking how he was, and then instantly steamrolling past any response Bishop made.
One morning, Bishop decided to find out just how bad his contact’s listening skills really were. After the fellow launched another call with his usual “Hey, Jim, how are you?” opening, Bishop said, “I’ve got lung cancer.”
“That’s great” was the immediate response. “Say, Jim … ”
Sometimes, we ignore other people’s stories at our peril. By the same token, eliciting stories ...