a reaction to comments recently expressed to me a friend
Last night a friend interjected a while into a conversation with me, that "Shannon you will be a lonely man if you don't learn to listen and stop being an expert all the time on everything..." There was more, and his observation was shared with me in the spirit of a real friend, and it was indeed meant to trouble me.
I tend to think of myself as a good listener, at least my close friends have always seemed to feel that I was - over many years I have had many close friends with whom I have held many long and deep conversations - sometimes with long stretches of quiet, sometimes with lengthy talks.
However, I also know that I am different in various situations - and that my conversational style changes, and that I certainly have bad habits aquired after years of hanging out with "the geeks" (and with being one). At various science fiction conferences (where the geek ratio is well, very high) I have observed that often conversations are held between people all claiming some degree of expertise about nearly everything.
Further, as a consultant (at least at times) this tendancy is definitely an occupational hazard - I'm supposed to be claiming to if not already be an expert in a subject, be able to become one very rapidly.
My tendancy in a conversation is to look for something that I have recently read, something I have recently learned, someone I know etc to relate to the topic at hand. Often this is appreciated, but not always - learning when my contributions are not positive is a skill I need to continually refine.