Let’s face it anyone who says they do not like to people watch are not really telling the truth. It can be quite fascinating watching people go about their normal lives and seeing how they interact with friends and strangers.
The urban dictionary describes people watching as “A Hobby in which you go out and watch people. The way they act, dress and talk. Like bird watching except with people.”
To say we just people watch is untrue, because unless we are in a very loud place we have to also admit that most of us will also listen in or eves drop as well. If you are like me, there are times when you get extremely engrossed in other peoples conversations to the point where you realise that the people having the conversation you are listening to have worked out you are listening.
Now do not get me wrong, there are some types of people watching that are either illegal or morally wrong. Let us take the scenario of watching the hot next door neighbour sunbathing topless in her back garden, I do not think there is a law against this sort of activity but it clearly breaks moral guidelines! Also following your ex whilst she goes about her daily business and sitting outside her house is clearly stalking and should not be confused with people watching.
Now I know I might start to sound like I purposely go out to people watch but honestly I do not, this post is due to some spare time I had this week whilst waiting for the wife’s car to be fixed. I popped into the pub for a bite to eat and just noticed the array of people coming and going from the pub. Thinking about it there must have been people watching me and wondering why this bloke is sitting there with a tablet typing away in the middle of a pub.
In the hour I was there, it was interesting to see the many things that were going on. One of the first things I noticed was a bloke standing at the bar who was clearly looking for company and a little bit drunk, instantly the adults tried to steer their young kids away from him but he was like a magnet to the kids who were enjoying the childlike attention of the drunk man. The parents were polite enough but you could see they were visibly uncomfortable with the man talking to their family and moved away from the bar as quickly as possible.
Next came two couples that were staying in the Premier Inn next door, I could tell they were staying in the hotel because they were still carrying their key cards. The first couple ordered their drinks without a hitch but the second couple had a bit of a discussion, from what I could make out the second man wanted his partner to have a glass of lemonade to keep her sugar levels up, so I presume she must have been diabetic. However, his partner clearly wanted to show she was capable of making her own decision on what she wanted to drink as she more or less told him so, in a very politely of course. The man looked a bit sheepish when he finally placed his order but I bet in their private life his partner likes his thoughtfulness but in public does not like to look like she is not in control or henpecked.
People watching in a restaurant can also be great fun. In most busy restaurants you will always notice one of the following, A couple of a nervous first date, a couple having an argument and finally a couple who are not speaking and usually look like they do not even want to be there. Mind you when I am out in a restaurant I also love to peek at what others have ordered to decide if I had made the right choice or if I would order what they were having the next time I came back to the same place.
You may also observe people with nervous tendencies whilst people watching, for instance the man sitting constantly tapping his fingers when there is no music playing or the person who introduces themselves as if you have never met them before even though you have known them for over 6 years.
The TV programme Goggle Box proves that as a nation we love to watch people watching people, if you think about it the programme is a bit of a paradox, you could create multiple programmes of people watching people watch Goggle Box and it would still be entertaining.
From birth, we are programmed to people watch without even realising. I can remember back to my time at school, if a teacher was a great teacher then they would keep you engaged by is voice and their movement and expressions, a bad teacher would lose control as he was unable to keep people watching and listening to them. It’s the way people interact that keeps life interesting and it also means that no two people are the same.
So the next time you are out and an annoying person is making a fuss or you see your rude and obnoxious boss sitting in the corner chewing on his jumper and trying not to get annoyed, sit back and enjoy the view you never know you might learn something, or at the least be entertained for a few minutes.