I am a natural storyteller. I can spend hours chattering away to both friends and strangers alike without needing a lot of input from them. I have no idea what started it. Maybe it’s because I always have a dozen thoughts rushing through my head and, when I latch onto one, I find that I’m holding the end of a string that branches out into endless stories about my life. I can almost always relate one of my stories to something a friend might say. In fact, they’re often annoyed when I interrupt them too many times to share my own ideas on what they’re trying to say.
Most of the time, I just can’t stand to have silence in a room full of people. I love having time to myself to mull things over, but when I’m with a group of people, I seem to switch into my social mode. The first time that I really noticed this was when I went on a pioneer Trek reenactment when I was fifteen. There was one guy in my group or ‘family’ named Brandon. Now, Brandon was a great guy and all, but he was definitely too quiet. At first, I tried to leave him be and spent my time talking with the other chatty people in my group, but that didn’t last.
One evening while preparing dinner, three of us were given the task of chopping vegetables; Brandon, Christian, and me. Although Christian was glad to talk with me, I wasn’t satisfied. Brandon was just too quiet. So, I went off talking about who knows what for the next half hour or so. I let Christian talk too, but, to be honest, I dominated the conversation. After a while I started to get Brandon to talk. He never shared more than a sentence at a time (two if we were lucky) but I knew that I’d made a breakthrough. I found that I was a natural storyteller and that this was a good thing.
Since then, I’ve paid more attention to the fruits of my storytelling. My stories aren’t the kind that you read in books of fairytales, but rather tales of my personal experiences and the experiences I remember that others have shared with me. By constantly adding these stories to my conversations, I have found that I build friendships with others much quicker and easier than before. They see how open I am and get to know me right away, and I find that they feel more comfortable being themselves and opening up as well.
I encourage everyone who wants to be more open with people to try telling stories. Your relationships with those around you will be better and you’ll find interesting insights into yourself and others through the stories you share. It’s a quick way to get to know people and it has fostered many lasting friendships for me without a lot of the awkwardness of trying to understand them better.
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