When I DM I have a tendency to do a lot of it using third person context. I try paint a picture that the players can "see" in their mind's eye by using lots of description and adjectives but I rarely roll play "in character". One of the offshoots of this is that I can abstract some of the less important interactions and introduce some randomness so that things don't always have to come to their logical conclusion.
An example of this from the last Northern Marches session was when the magic-user went out to see the local mysterious magic-user, the Striped Mage, who has a tower just north of town.
Barbarian Prince has a couple of rules about gaining audiences with various NPCs, for lack of a better term for that game. As a daily action you could spend the day trying to gain admission to the hall, court, etc for an interview with the town mayor, castle lord, high priest, etc. You would roll 2d6 and consult a table and each result would lead you to some other event.
2 - Grievously insult the town council
3 - A slanderous aside about the mayor's wife is blamed on you
4 - Meet hostile guards
5 - Encounter the Master of the Household
6,7,8 - Audience refused today, you may try again.
9,10 - Audience permitted
11 - Meet daughter of the mayor
12 - Audience permitted
I took this same idea and fit some of the results into the B/X reaction roll framework where:
2 = real bad
3-5 = bad
6-8 = neutral
9-11 = good
12 = very good
The magic-user spent 2 days trying to gain an audience with the Striped Mage. The first day resulted in him being told to come back the next day and his second visit saw him escorted from the property for being a nuisance. These were just the results for trying to gain an audience. If he would have met with the Striped Mage another reaction roll would have to be made.
Now not everything is completely random. Special steps can be taken by the party to, if not ensure the result, at least put the odds in their favour.
For example, there is a character who is getting a bit of a reputation in town for poor treatment of hirelings. He went to look for a musician that works in an inn to compose a little song about how great he was. In speaking with the musician, he made sure that it was known that he would pay lots of gold for this song. This was enough to give him a bonus on his reaction roll so that it was likely his offer would be accepted.
It is also funny how a couple of random results can give an NPC some character. Now the Striped Mage is a bit of a pompous jackass.
I find this system also puts a premium on charisma. Using the reaction roll and stressing the importance of hirelings keeps this attribute very important.