In Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg’s classic collection of meditations on finding the writer within, she has an essay on talking and listening with friends as a means of bringing stories to life. She says,
Because of the intensity of her listening, the story, which I had told many times, took on a great brilliance. I remember the light off the wineglasses, the taste of my chocolate mousse.
We often think that our friends are interesting because of them: because of their personality or because of their stories. But there’s more to it than that. We are part of the dance. Our engagement is part of the equation. How interesting we find our friends also depends on how intensely we listen to them. When we engage others deeply and listen intensely their stories come alive and their personalities become more vibrant.