Posted by: CJ | January 15, 2010

A Tale of Two Grad Students

This part quarter, there were two differrent grad students I spent a lot of time around for classes, N and O. I was constantly amazed at how much more I enjoyed being around O than N. But I’m still not exactly sure why. N is a really nice guy, does lots of fun things, and has plenty of topics he’s passionate about. So here are my best guesses why O is so much nicer to be around than N.

  1. N is usually anxious, and is much more likely to say negative rather than positive or merely helpful things. I find this off-putting.
  2. O is always telling humorous stories and jokes. It’s important to O that the other person is having fun listening to him. He also enjoys being told jokes. By contrast, N rarely tells jokes and often kills jokes by trying to analyze or explain them.
  3. O seems to think it’s important that he connects with the other person, show that he is listening, and have nice transitions from one topic to the next. N tends to have abrupt transitions, and not ask very interesting questions when I talk about something important to me.
  4. If I’m interested in talking, or even just uninterested in talking about a particular topic, O will notice. And then stop talking about it. N just keeps talking. I have no idea if he ever notices.

To me, each of those seems like a relatively simple and small thing. But overall, it makes me like talking to O much more than N. O laughs at my jokes, tells fun stories, listens, and never lets negativity dominate a conversation. I guess each of those traits isn’t so small afterall.



  1. No, those aren’t small traits. They are defining traits, really.

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