I listen well & hold up my end of the conversation unless it's going nowhere & I invite the other to join me outside in the sub-zero wind chill for a smoke. That works every time or just about every time.
I'm never the life of the party, but I rise to the chosen occasion (or bait) with a sharp & versatile wit. I've bartended & bounced in tough NH mill towns, traded innuendo with Virginia gentry & stories with ex-spies, writers, students, farriers for horse killers for hire, academics, killers, elite athletes, Indians, ultimate fighters, world sky-diving champions, J.D. Salinger, bikers, average white guys, average black guys, vets (I'm not), good old boys, most women, gay guys, bad guys, good guys. I get along but don't mingle or blend well unless on the job. I detest bathroom or sex humor but worse are the bottom line guys talking profit. But I love a good story - listening to one or telling it. My four writing-life mentors were Hans Feldman, Charles Gaines, Peter Taylor & James Dickey.
I love kids and animals & I really did study what being a wolf was like by being among them so I could write a wolf character properly, a wolf with the soul of a human being. Between dogs now after my Newf died quietly alone in his dreams a year ago & like a certain somebody I still grieve.
I can pen a sentence or two & drive standard when called upon.
A little shade on a warm day.
A few close friends, several of which go back centuries.
The rest are either unremarkable or unmentionable.