Scott Adams just wrote about 'Active Listening'. Beautiful piece, be sure to give it a read. This line struck me:
Most people have at least one good story in them. And you can usually find that story by asking where the person lived and what their parents did for a living.
He then asked his readers to participate in the act of sharing.
On a related note, I think three groups of people have particularly interesting stories to tell (if you can safety get hold of them for a conversation).
The first are soldiers , for pretty obvious reasons.
The second are old people. Particularly those people above 70 years of age and yet are still alive and kicking. You know, the kind of person who would walk 5 miles a day and joke about having been through Auschwitz back in the day.
The third are homeless people, because not having a home to attach one's psyche to makes the mind wander in a unique way.
Of course, this doesn't apply to all homeless people. In particular, those who have accepted their condition and are working to change it.
The thing is, it's not likely that a code monkey like me would chance upon a good conversation all too often. And while University is great for intellectual conversions (really?), Uni students and professors don't talk about the really interesting stuff.
Quoting Scott Adams again, "As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate the conversation, the more interesting it is", and Uni students simply define 'dangerous' and 'inappropriate' in a different way (Keg Parties!).
Fortunately, we have this thing called the internet, where experience can scale and thoughts run free. Without having to venture to 4chan to do that, I'd love to hear people's thoughts about 'dangerous' and 'inappropriate' stuff. Because at least from what it seems, how interesting you are is directly proportional to your knowledge of what you can't say.
 I've got an interesting story which I like to keep handy =)