How to Become a Pro People Watcher
Posted on 08/15/2011
People watching—the recreational sport enjoyable for anyone. Okay, so maybe it’s not a sport, but it sure is entertaining. Find a cafe, pop a squat on a park bench or just pick a completely random spot and begin! It’s surprisingly fun, so give it a chance.
Why to Love It
To put it bluntly, it restores the imagination. Pick any person and based on their clothing, appearance and mannerisms imagine their life’s story. Unfortunately, it’s habitual for people to lose their sense of playful imagination over time. Once you find out childhood mythical icons aren’t real anymore, what’s the point right? Well, here’s a nice healthy alternative to Facebook creeping that gets you out of the house and away from that computer that you already spend hours staring at.
How to Start
The great thing about people watching is, you don’t need much to get started. All you need is a prime location. A few places we’ve had luck with are zoos, dog runs, outdoor cafes, beaches, malls and museums. Just be sure to look for places that are highly populated. Find spots where it’s natural for people to kick back, relax and watch the world pass them by.
The Unspoken Rules
You are not to creep. Repeat—you are not to creep. Don’t freak people out by watching their every move. Bring along a book, beverage or food to occasionally focus on so you don’t start looking like the weirdo who’s skulking out their next target. Consider, perhaps, bringing along some sunglasses as well so people don’t notice you observing them. And draw a line—don’t be nosy. You’re not supposed to be eavesdropping.
Once in the perfect location and with the rules understood let your mind wander. Why are they there? What do their clothes say about them? What do you think their ideal job would be? Are they a doppelganger for anyone you know? Why are they wearing flip-flops in January?
Go on. Give it a try. It’s an interesting way to learn how about human nature and satisfy your curiosity. And if you’re an actor, it’s a great way to study human behaviors to use in your next role. A cafe or coffee shop is a perfect beginner’s location. It’s low key, there are plenty of people there and you can enjoy a tasty beverage while you’re at it.