Why Should You Talk to Your Friends?

Most people would agree that (i) one of the reasons people have conversations is to exchange information, (ii) there are other reasons. An interesting question in this respect is to what extent voluntary, private conversations serve the purpose of exchanging information. It seems to me that even portions of conversation that appear to be about the exchange of information are not, actually. I am saying this because of experience. Sometimes I have been asked stuff that I couldn't answer right away, or couldn't answer in a way I would have deemed appropriate, and offered to follow up on this later on. Once I was asked my opinion about a topic (I don't remember what it was) and answered that my view was quite complex and I probably wouldn't be able to appropriately express it spontaneoulsy, but, fortunately, I had written a blog post about it in which everything was laid down in a well-structured manner and would be happy to send a link. That didn't go down well. If you would like to adjust your estimate of what percentage of private conversation is for exchanging information downwards, you should try something similar sometimes.

So, what is the purpose of having private conversations? Reasons given sometimes include stuff such as affirming group identity, exchanging jokes (laughing is fun, as is having one's jokes laughed at), getting into the other person's knickers, and so forth. All of these are real, but it seems that the main reason for having conversations with people you like is having conversations with people you like, which is pleasurable in itself. It's like listening to music. The purpose of which is not gaining information about sounds.

A related thought: You could do the following. Write down the five or ten points that you think best define the way you view the world. Then have someone you consider a good friend guess what you wrote. I am not saying you should do this. I haven't and I won't. Happy new year.

No comments: