Some people hear you share a story from your life that you think is interesting, and share a similar story, because they want to connect with you – to find something that you have in common. If you show that you value their story, they share more at other times. Your relationship can grow.
Other people hear you share a story from your life and share a BIGGER story, because they want to be awarded a BIGGER score in the social interaction. Not wanting to encourage their one-up behavior, we usually offer a range of responses between sarcasm and silence. If, instead, we can convince them that we value them apart from their ability to score well on social contrast tests, we may be able to develop a real relationship with them, too.
Both opportunity types are costly, because it is more fun being interesting than it is being interested. Don’t throw either one away. Be both on days.
People are far more likely to meet Jesus through relationships with believers than they are by reading tracts about hell. Value relationships. The mercy and grace you pour into them will be returned to you with interest.