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Namedropping: why do people do it?

I've got an old college friend who works in Hollywood now. You've almost certainly never heard of him (he's a fill-in writer for sitcoms), but whenever we talk and we have a conversation about movies or television or entertainment in general, he'll constantly interject after the name of every famous person, actor or director or show creator something like, "Oh, I've worked with him" or "We did XXX project together" or "I've met her." I wouldn't mind if he would then give some good gossip on the people, but he never does so. So I don't see what he gains by just constantly saying he knows them. I find it very off-putting, and wish I knew how to hint to him politely to knock it off (at least if he's not going to dish).

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