Thanks to my good pal Andrew B for sending along the following email:
I wonder if this means that everyone hates you all the time, since this is kind of what you do for a living:
The NY Times story is actually worth a read, in my opinion. It suggests that people enjoy talking about experiences they have in common — no matter how boring — while they don’t enjoy hearing about experiences they can’t relate to:
Your friends don’t want to hear about your excellent adventures.
While you may have gotten great pleasure from an epic event — sipping a rare wine in Burgundy, watching a Himalayan sunrise — that pleasure is all your own.
A recent study in Psychological Science says that despite the thrills people receive from an extraordinary experience, few anticipate its potential social cost: exclusion by friends who would really rather not hear about it.
Harvard researchers found that when people socialize, those who had the same experience, no matter how mundane, enjoyed chatting about it together. Those same people might well exclude the person who thought others couldn’t wait to hear all about his or her most unusual one.
But the pleasure of a social encounter is built on commonality. People are more likely to enjoy talking about an ordinary experience they have all had rather than hearing about the fabulous one they didn’t. So sharing the details of your singular experience in a social setting can indeed backfire, leading to feelings of being excluded.
In all honesty, I’m not sure I agree. I certainly prefer hearing from friends about experiences they enjoyed, even if I can’t relate to them. I tend to think passion is contagious, no matter what the topic is. Then again, I am always up for discussing the latest season of Real Housewives…
You think there’s any truth to the study, or more specifically, do you think it actually relates to sharing travel experiences?
On the plus side, Andrew B really doesn’t have to worry about isolating his social circles this weekend, as he takes a cross country Amtrak trip…
Snapshots from Andrew B‘s trip: “A picture is worth a thousand words…unless it’s a picture of Indiana.“