unpopular opinion: making space for the stranger

I wrote this while sitting in a restaurant in Pitt Street. I was happily eating my dinner alone, when a young man asked if he could join me (I was alone because I wanted to be, not because I wanted company.) He sat with me for about half an hour and spoke fondly of himself the entire time. I felt like he was there to hear himself bounce off another person Рto look at his reflection in me. This is what I thought when he left:

I don’t really think we draw other people to us, I think they entice themselves to us. They construct a curiosity which allows them to make space for us, the stranger, which simultaneously allows them to derive gratification from having someone else interested in them. Interaction appears primarily as an opportunity to confirm our own likability, and often comes from an inherent need relevant to personal circumstances.

They talk, but who are they talking for? They talk about themselves and their lives but they have heard the story before. Do they like hearing the story? Does it sound better every time they recount it? Do they like the positive responses to their carefully cultivated and routinely repeated story?

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