I saw a quote one time that really interested me. It went something like this:
"Nobody truly listens to you unless you're about to die."
Think of how true that is. You know when your friend is rambling on about some story that may be significant in their life, but surely isn't in yours, you're spacing out, occasionally nodding but really not paying any attention.
Take a good listen to the next conversation you have. Most of mine involve a race: who can tell the best story, who can interrupt the most, who can garner the most attention.
Try, for one entire conversation, to just listen. Listen to everything the person is saying to you, no matter how trivial it is. Imagine how you would feel in their position. Most people think that everyone they talk to want to hear about them. This is why these conflicts in conversation occur so often. I'm guilty of not listening on many occasions.
If you think you're wasting your time listening to a seemingly pointless story, think again. Instead of drifting thinking of nothing, you're learning something about the other person. You're learning what they like, what interests them. Try to expand your horizons and learn as much as you can about someone else. They'll appreciate it.