Hello dear friends!

It’s been a busy few days,  but I have come especially to give you some food for thought regarding something that I did on Monday: I spent time People Watching! Which leads me to ask the question:

Have you ever had occasion  to sit outside a department store in a shopping centre (or anywhere for that matter) and watch the people coming and going through the door? 

Admittedly, it was not the main entrance, it was the entrance via the car park and I was waiting for a friend who was giving me a lift to visit another friend. I never realised what an interesting occupation People Watching could be! I waited for about 30 minutes and during that time, I was mainly interested in two things: 1) what people were wearing on their feet and 2) how they were dressed considering it was quite a cold day for autumn.

People watching is fun.

People watching is fun.

You may ask why I was interested in these two things? Well, the fact of the matter was I had nothing better to occupy my mind as I waited and the second thing was I was wondering what type of shoes I could buy to keep my feed warm in winter.  The third thing was I was feeling rather cold and thought I had dressed warmly, but in the cold and damp of the car park, I was feeling a little fragile so I wondered how other people might be feeling.

So what was the result of this half-hour watchfest you might ask? The result was most of the people did not have appropriate footwear on at all. A lot had thongs (flip-flops) on their feet (how cold would that be?) and others had rather ugly lace-up type of shoes. I never saw one single pair of shoes that stood out so that I would be enticed to go out and buy something similar! However, some were reasonable and only one person was wearing very high heels.

As for the clothing … don’t get me going on that one folks, for it was rather dire! Some people were dressed in jumpers and scarves but the majority had inadequate clothing for the coldness of the day. One girl had a little strappy sundress and never seemed bothered by it at all.

There were a few very thin girls – students it seemed – who were wearing thin jumpers (pull-overs) with the latest trend of having long sleeves which came down to the tips of their fingers and they were obviously using this to keep their hands warm. Most of the jumper wearers also wore jeans, however, some seemed oblivious to the cold and one was wearing a little mini-skirt so I was not sure of the benefit of the long-sleeved pullover keeping their hands warm.

And so I have done a little research into this business of ‘People Watching” and was surprised at how much information is ‘out there’ on this topic. I like what www.wikihow.com/Begin-People-Watching has to say on the subject as it got me thinking in a far broader sense:

“People watching involves observing people to get a feel for the beauty and rhythm of the community around us. For some people watchers, it’s about creativity, using the moments of watching to try and guess at another person’s story just from mere observation, and embracing the fun of what is, in effect, an amateur social science. ”

I love the fact that it virtually is a ‘amateur social science.’ How interesting! But, I was very grateful for these people coming and going constantly, for they kept me amused and left me guessing their stories as WikiHow says.

I even mentally tried to pretend I was Trinny and Susannah (the English girls who fix up everyone’s clothing taste). The worst case was one member of a couple. She was beautifully dressed, no problem there, but the husband was a disaster! Did she realise this? Did he refuse to change? Oh, the mind boggled!

But WikiHow had some advice for People Watching which I liked:

Decide the parameters of your people watching. It helps to know why you’re watching. There can be any number of reasons but the main impetus is observation of how other people live and behave and guessing at their motivations and life stories. And people watching is not about feeling superior to others or judging them; more than anything, you’re a non-judgmental observer with a penchant for unearthing life’s stories as an art of love and empathy.

Look for doppelgangers: eg German for look-a-likes

Look for doppelgangers: eg German for look-a-likes

Now, I am going to leave you with some advice if you ever find yourself in the position of People Watching. It is a surefire way to counter boredom if you have to wait for someone for any length of time. Or perhaps, you are home alone and you want to go out and be ‘amongst people’ (a cafe is excellent) as a means of feeling less lonely. Whichever way it goes, here’s the advice:

  • Ask yourself questions about each person you choose: Why are they here? Are they happy? Nervous? Irritable? Why? What does the way they hold themselves say about them? What about the way they talk? Does it match up?
  • Look at their clothes: What do their clothes suggest about them? Are they wealthy or poor? Are they stylish or completely clueless about fashion? Are they adequately dressed for the weather or not? Are they part of any pop culture or sub-culture?
  • From their style and mannerisms, what do you think this person’s aspirations, politics, or job would be?
  • Spot “doppelgangers”. This means trying to see people who look like people you know or well-known people such as movie stars. Who knows, you might even see a real one!
  • Do you recognize anyone? As you age, the people passing by you might be former lovers, bosses, teachers, or classmates. Keep your attention focused! Read more here: www.wikihow.com/Begin-People-Watching

Dear friends, with this information as a guide, I will leave you to find your own time and place to do some People Watching. In fact, I think I might do one of the exercises myself and get back to you with my report. Let me know how you fare … and don’t forget to just have FUN!