On Conversation

This is just a really great post about conversation  by Eric Nehrlich:

When I’m talking to friends, I’m not just reciting the events of my life. I’m struggling to put them into context, figuring out the narrative that ties them together, making sense of the chain of events so that I can understand what happened. In other words, I’m constructing my self-story. By telling it to somebody else, I’m explaining it to myself, but at the same time, the feedback that I get may encourage me to modify my understanding. For instance, if I’m talking about an interaction I had with a coworker, and I explain what they did and why I thought they did it, my friends will offer alternative explanations that may better explain the events. And I modify and retcon my story to incorporate that new interpretation...

...I should also mention that such conversations aren’t entirely selfish on my part. By using my friends to help me make sense of the world, I’m promoting our ability to make sense of each other. Because they’re helping me interpret the events of my life, they gain a better understanding of how I think about the world. And their interpretations help me better understand how they make sense of the world. Plus, i can contribute my viewpoint to help them make sense of events in their world. It’s a two-way process that builds community and trust, and also increases our ability to function in a world that doesn’t always behave in an expected fashion.

I've met someone interesting recently and gotten to know them through a ton of e-mail conversation... so much so that it has us both interested in the nature of how people get to know each other and how information and story exchange works in the process of building up friendships and relationships.   I really like how the second paragraph puts that function in perspective.