Just from reading the title, you are probably already bored. Linguistics sounds like a required gen ed course at a liberal arts college. I'm not talking about analyzing the Greek and Latin roots of the English language (been there, did that--trust me, its not fun). So stick with me on this one.
I feel like the ability to carry on a conversation is extremely limited nowadays. In my opinion, a conversation is not:
a contest to get in the most brag points as possible
a five part report
a string of questions
topping someone's stories with a better one of your own
constant connections to your own life, often unrelated to what the person was really trying to say
talking about the weather or teachers
inserting "lol" or "haha" at the beginning and end of each sentence
Conversations are precious and beautiful. They are an effort on the part of two people to better understand each other, themselves, and the world around them. They are about philosophies and ideas, hopes and dreams, silly thoughts and deep ones. They aren't all intellectual exchanges, but with some inconsequential small talk mixed in. They are a give and take. They involve more listening than talking.
A true conversation is one where you are actually hearing and following up with the person you are talking to, not waiting impatiently until you get to have your say. A true conversation can be both enlightening and confusing. It is not limited to a list of topics. It is not limited by social barriers that dictate what is appropriate for conversing. It can make your heart soar with new ideas and freedom. It can weigh your soul down with the burdens of another. But its worth it. Every time.
Talking to someone else could be the key you were looking for that opens up their soul and saves their life. And, at the same time, you are saving your own.