Nick describes himself as being a good listener who is "inclined to reserve all judgments." This combination means he frequently is told more than he really wants to know about peoples' actions and thoughts. Nick considers himself to be a fair and decent man, not inclined to pass judgment on those who confide in him hastily.
During his time in the East, however, Nick did become tired of hearing about and observing the superficial and irresponsible lifestyles and attitudes of those around him. He returned to his midwestern roots with the hope that he was done with "riotous excrusions with privileged glimpses into the human heart." Nick was disillusioned with the ways in which people sometimes treated each other; in retrospect, he wanted to escape his "interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men."