Before becoming a dad, I had a job where one of my bosses spoke often & enthusiastically about his kids (teenagers at the time). Despite my best efforts (to suck-up to the boss), I had difficulty relating to his stories.
I remember thinking, "If I ever have kids, I need to realize that people who don't .. might have trouble relating."
Of course, when it's your boss, you try extra hard (to relate) .. laughing when he laughs, even when you fail to see any humor.
I even remember feeling it rude of him to expect me to care about his stories (when I had no kids of my own). Like I said, it wasn't like I didn't try.
At times I even felt inadequate, cuz I hadn't bred (yet).
Since becoming a dad, I can see that good parents *should* be tuned to their kids. Obviously, there's a ditch on both sides of this road.
A parent can be so absorbed they have no life outside their kids. Or they can be oblivious, not realizing when their kids are hurting. (I think this is called empathy, a natural part of parenting.) Balance is the key.
These days I tailor my conversation to the person sitting across from me. If they're a parent, I'm free to discuss whatever parental topics arise (cuz I know they can relate). If not, I find other subjects (unless they lead).
Even with the Dog, my best friend of many years (who has outstanding social skills), I've found a certain —distance— has developed. The Dog is excellent at relating to my challenges with the bug's mom, but struggles (I sense) at relating to my experiences as a dad.