Most people like to talk about themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blasting the entire human race as a self-absorbed species. I’m just saying that if something mildly interesting happens in Francois’ life, it’s very likely that Francois will tell Louise, Robert, Anne-Marie, Bastian, Jean-Luc, and Joe all about it.

And I think that’s a good thing. Personally, I’ve never understood why some people have a problem with those who talk about themselves too much. I like hearing people talk about their lives. It’s what makes them interesting.

Now, in Francois’ quest to tell everyone on earth the story of how Wiggles the Cat looked so cute playing with his ball of yarn today, he might repeat the story to Jean-Luc twice. It happens. If you’ve told the same story ten times, you’re bound to forget who you’ve told the story to. Jean-Luc, as he listens to this story for a second time, is experiencing a case of Deja Entendu.

What do you do in the awkward event of a Deja Entendu?

Well, on the one hand, you could politely tell Francois that you’ve heard this story before. He’ll realise his error, and life will move on.

But on the other hand, you could take the opportunity to do a little experiment.

It’s very simple: Just let Francois tell his story a second time, and see how the story has changed from the first time he told it.

See, in the process of telling stories, we like to sprinkle in a bit of hyperbole and a liberal amount of overdramatics that distort the reality of the situation a bit. I’m certainly not innocent – the evidence is everywhere on this page.

What’s interesting is not the exaggerations themselves, but how these exaggerations grow and change over time. In the two weeks between meetings with Francois, the story may have gone from Wiggles the Cat playing cheerfully with a ball of yarn to Wiggles standing upright, donning a top hat and cane and doing a little Puttin’ On The Ritz.

What I’ve found is that generally people who have the most to gain from impressing you (e.g. acquaintances, distant family members, people you’ve just met) will alter their stories the most, while people who you have long, established friendships with will alter their stories the least, telling the story again verbatim in some instances.

This is far from a scientific study, and my sample size is admittedly tiny, but I find this incredibly fascinating. If you happen to try this out for yourself, I’d love to hear your findings. In fact, I’d love to hear them twice.

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