Alert
Close

Top the Trizzle leaderboard by 5 p.m. Friday to win a $100 gift card! Learn more

Highlights

Open

FREE FUN!

AARP Games - Play Now!
AARP-iPad-ePub-app

FALL 2014 NATIONAL EVENT

Come to San Diego!

Sept. 4 - 6

Technology and Innovation

AARP TV

Watch episodes of AARP Live and other AARP broadcasts.

Most Popular

Viewed

Web Exclusive

Good Night, Chat

These days a good talk can be hard to find. We asked an expert how people can stay connected in ways that truly matter.

DM: Sure.

AF: —since in the book you say that interruptions can be refreshing in everyday exchanges. I was taken by your statement that men spend two out of every three of their conversational minutes talking about themselves, whereas women spend only about a third of their time doing so. Does that make women better conversationalists than men? Better listeners?

DM: Scottish philosopher David Hume rebelled against the coffeehouse, male-dominated culture of the 1750s. "You know," he said, "we need to have women be part of this—they're better at it than men are. Men are abstract and political and argumentative, and women are more social and binding," and so on.

But I think it's true that women have a greater sense of obligation to knitting a social fabric. I could be wrong, but that's my experience. (Hume called women the "sovereigns of the conversible world.") When it comes down to it, however—when you talk to someone in a confidential, personal, and honest way—the genders tend to melt away a little bit.

AF: I'd hate for our conversation to "diesel"—your term for the tendency of even a good talk to chug along, clunker fashion, once both parties know it is over. So can I coax "Doctor Dialogue" into prescribing a cure for the nation's conversation?

DM: I'll try—but I'll warn you that I sound like a marriage counselor when I say that you have to *make time*. You have to carve out some time where you can have a conversation as an end in itself, not as a tool to do something or get something.

Because of work pressures and time pressures, that's very tough to do right now. But I'd say it's the number one thing. If you don't lead your life so that you can allow that to happen, it won't happen.

AF: All well and good—can I get that in a nugget to go?

DM: Okay, how's this: Just shut up and talk!

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

AARP Bookstore

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Regal Cinemas movie theater

Members can save $3 on soda + popcorn combos at Regal Cinemas. Restrictions apply.

Tanger Outlets

Members can get a free Tanger Coupon Book with discount offers from top brand names.

Live Nation

Members save 25% or more when buying tickets in groups of four from Ticketmaster.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.