Sadly, Science Has Confirmed That No One Wants To Hear Your Travel Stories
If you’re someone who’s always retelling the same ol’ stories from a back catalogue of your favourite experiences (like the time you were in the supermarket line behind Mischa Barton or the time you partied with Carl Cox in Ibiza – we know, we know), then this information is for you.
As it turns out, we really don’t love hearing about other people’s travel stories, and it’s been backed up by science.
When we scroll through memories to find a story to share, we assume the listener wants to hear about a new experience, but it turns out we’ve been approaching this all wrong. People enjoy hearing stories immensely more if they’re familiar with the subject matter, or even if they’ve heard the story before.
The theory was tested in an experiment published by Psychological Science. A group of speakers were given the task of talking about a short video they’d just been shown. Half the listeners had been shown the video before and half were hearing about it for the very first time. The speakers wrote down their predictions on how well their story will be received by the listener, which were then compared to the listener’s actual reactions.
Turns out, it was the familiar stories that people enjoyed more, even though the story-tellers thought the opposite would be true. The study argues that it’s because in the nature of human speech, there are pretty big information gaps, and unfortunately, most people can’t really explain or describe subject matters in very interesting ways.
With a familiar, known or relatable story, the listeners’ brain automatically fills those gaps with their prior knowledge or information from their own experiences, which makes the stories much better than being told about something completely new.
The general rule is this: talk ’til your heart’s content about travel adventures with someone who has been to the same spot, but don’t go on and on about a trip if the listener hasn’t been there or isn’t able to relate, because that’s when the eye-rolling starts.
So there ya go.
(h/t: Science Of Us)