I met two people utterly fascinated with themselves last night. And they felt you should be too. While they spoke endlessly, you learned almost nothing about them. Bits, pieces, but nothing concrete.
This leads to the question: Are some people speaking to merely pass the time or do they have something to say?
While a character might provide tidbits of information in order to advance a plot, if the plot or character is meaningless, doesn't that mean the comments by the character are also meaningless?
The two people had various components of the same story.
Both divorced. Both had rotten spouses, made mistakes. But neither appeared to learn anything from the those mistakes. In fact, they were intrigued enough to continue approaching the wrong type of person in the hopes of making that mistake again.
While this may appear to be an interesting character, they didn't appear to recognize their choices were wrong. In fact, one lived for the moment. The other didn't appear to know why they were living at all.
Harsh? I agree, but it was the assessment you gain from them. Nothing sunk in enough to qualify as an actual definitive moment or a learning experience.
The experience did bring something to me, but I am sure it was a lesson not to have characters who talk a lot, but never get to the point.
Are there characters doing this? Yes.
Are there characters who don't learn anything from any of the experiences? Yes.
Is this a good thing for the reader? I don't think so. It feels, personally, as it did with the two I met last night, to be a complete and utter waste of time.
I worry about characters that I write becoming bland by default.