People-watching: Many Different Reasons

I am a long-time watcher of people. I guess it could be called a hobby. Ever since I was very young, I have felt like I was not a part of the action, but merely an observer. There are so many different people, and different activities that they engage in. For every type of person or activity, there is a different reason for taking notice of them.

One reason I have for people watching is a very personal one. I am a very insecure and socially ignorant person. It's not that I don't know what's out there, it's just that I don't know how to have that for myself. So, when I can, I like to watch people at parties, in restaurants, or other public places where one can be close enough  to hear what is said and yet far enough not to be dragged into the interaction. The important thing here is to not look like you're paying attention to what's going on. Observation can, in fact, skew the results. This type of observing is meant to be a learning experience for how to be less awkward socially.

Another reason for my people-watching is to figure out what they are doing. Procedures with several steps are usually better seen than heard or read about. Again, my personal inhibition against striking up conversations pretty much cuts out any sort of "how do I..?" type questions. I much prefer to watch it done and then just do it myself.

Sometimes I watch people just for fun. They say that truth is stranger than fiction, and it's true. Watching people interact live can be more interesting than watching a scripted episode on TV. While the jokes may not come as fast, people really do engage in coversations that I cannot fathom ever participating in. It is fun to imagine what kind of life somehow has based on that one conversation.

These are my main reasons for watching others and their behaviors. I'm sure that everyone in this group has their own motivations, but I'd be interested to know if anyone shares my reasons.


Imzogelmo Imzogelmo
31-35, M
3 Responses Jul 25, 2010

"I much prefer to watch it done and then just do it myself." Yep, this is how I mostly do thing too :)

Watching people and observing their behavior is good thing before you approach them

I used to love being an outside observer. I was "invisible" to most people and that made it very easy. You get to see who people really are as well as who they pretend to be to others. I knew the people I saw regularly (at church, work, etc.) better than probably most of their "friends". I knew which ones they were lying to and which ones were in on it.