Today i was reading an article on the Sydney Morning Herald website by one of their travel bloggers. In it they asked the question “Have you noticed that backpackers tend to talk about the same things to world over?” and it got me thinking something that i used to think quite a bit: “Are most conversations that people have the same ones everyday?”. A lot of developers I've worked with definitely fit this statement.
The original blog article can be found @ here.
The subject brought up in this article seem to be the case for a lot of 'stranger' talks when you bump into people.
Meeting new people seems to happen this way in nearly every daily situation. Be it at work, with new friends you’ve just met or while out and about, or acquaintances you’ve bumped into - nearly every "meeting" or a new person has a conversational flow that society seems to have put in place in a pre ordained fashion.
Some that i can instantly think of without getting to much into it:
- The weather
- Your weekend or upcoming weekend
- Relationships (in a mans case being under the thumb or in a woman’s case what the man does that annoys them)
In the real world
I once had a theory that the people who socialise well, are really just the people who have had enough of these conversations previously that they know the routine well enough to keep good conversational flow.
My partner Rachelle works as a teacher and has talked to me many times about kids with learning disabilities such as Autism. The often take things very literally when told something (don’t understand things like “get lost” as they take it as a direct command). The story goes that quite a lot of these kids grow up to be functional people suffering by learning to socialise by repetition.
ie. they learn the general flow of the conversation and the rehearsed responses and are able to then take part in these conversations by giving the learnt responses in reply to the standard questions.
As a developer a lot of the people I've worked with that have been incredibly intelligent have probably been edge cases that haven't spent a lot of time socialising or learning the importance of interaction – their conversation seems more like an Autistic child who has learnt to repeat conversations they’ve heard previously
My real question here, after taking the above article and my own observations is:
“…Are the huge majority or conversations that people take part in, simply social interactions learnt in our overall development rather than active conversations?”
In other words: