General Question

tennesseejac's avatar

Do you ever wonder?

Asked by tennesseejac (3766 points ) January 22nd, 2009

I work in a place where every day I see a couple hundred different people from all over the world. I know it’s not polite, but sometimes I will catch myself staring at someone’s hat, their hair, or a piece of jewelry they are wearing just wondering about the story behind these things and cogitating: where is this person coming from, what type of person wears that type of jacket, Is this lady crazy, etc..? I am fascinated with it all. Its strangely opposite doing fluther where I get to know how a person feels about such a profound subject and don’t know what they look like or what kind of boots they are wearing. I’m just curious if anyone else out there is a “people watcher”, and I’m not talking about voyeuristic porn, but if you got a good answer that includes some “peeping tom” stuff then go for it

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29 Answers

tehrani625's avatar

I do this all the time on the bus going to and from school every day. Sometimes I am paranoid and sometimes I am self concious, wondering what that complete stranger thinks of me. Other times I get up and ask them what they do for a living, and talk a bit. I have a 30min bus ride its not that bad.

dynamicduo's avatar

I get like this sometimes if I see a person holding an object of interest. So I ask them if they’d like to share the story behind the object! Talking to people like this will let you share in some of the most interesting stories you’ll ever hear. If the person doesn’t want to talk, their body language (if not verbal language) will make that very obvious, so you might as well give it a shot!

wundayatta's avatar

I hate people watching. It’s just too frustrating. I want to talk to everyone I am curious about, and I can’t. Still, I do it anyway.

scamp's avatar

I love to people watch. New Jersey is culturally diverse, so I can see all kinds of different styles. I try not to stare tho, because it’s rude.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Sometimes I get so caught up in imagining that I end up staring, which is really embarrassing.

answerjill's avatar

You could have a future as a sociologist or anthropologist!

ark_a_dong's avatar

Yep, I do.

augustlan's avatar

I do this too :) Sometimes I even apply it to whole groups of people, like wondering why all of these people are at WalMart in the middle of the night. When I was younger, I always thought everyone was looking at me and wondering about me, too. Then I realized, I am really not that interesting.

tennesseejac's avatar

@augustlan i think you’re interesting

augustlan's avatar

<blushing>

steelmarket's avatar

Curiosity is a wonderful thing that has been undervalued in recent years. We have been indoctrinated to believe that curiosity = invasion of privacy, when it is a healthy part of social interaction. You can’t come to understand people without observing them closely and asking, “Why?”.

BTW, I think that you would enjoy one of the many books out there that are about body language.

nebule's avatar

I do this quite a lot TJ can i call you TJ? :-)

I’m not really a butt person…you know someone who likes men’s butts….BUT!
I do often find myself in a cheeky mood and staring at men’s little behinds..
I think its more to see if i get caught staring rather than the act itself…

I also look at women’s clothes a lot – particularly stylish women and try to figure out how they do it!!! Fashion seems to have completely by passed me unfortunately… but doing this makes me want to just throw something hideous and mismatching on and see if anyone stares at me in awe….

And more often than not i simply contemplate what people lives are like…what they do for a living etc… are they happy, sad, in emotional turmoil, are they rich, have kids etc…everything… but most of the time they disappear before i have sufficient time to make up my own musings… or my son throws a spoon in my face and snaps me out of it

@tehrani625 i think i would freak if you came up to me on a bus and did that… but it really depends on whether you are male, female, sane, insane, whether you smell and generally appear to be a lunatic

Judi's avatar

I will construct whole stories in my mind when I “people watch.” Sometimes I ask my hubby or whoever is with me to help me come up with the story.

wundayatta's avatar

@lynneblundell: So, do you ever get caught?

PS, even if you stare at my butt all day, the map of the world won’t change!

nebule's avatar

not yet @daloon I’m still hoping though ;-)

nebule's avatar

…and actually it still makes me chuckle to myself that i’m being a little bit naughty… so really it still has the desired effect… you know that kind of… Me watching the me doing it

El_Cadejo's avatar

I do this in the mall or really public places sometimes. Its amazing the stuff you overhear from passing strangers or the bizarre things you see.

pathfinder's avatar

If know what are you write about.That is my useall day in work as same as yours.There is a question why,right.Any of those people caryering a something.It is like some mark or what .None of them does not realizeing what is going on.Are they after own interest.It is there much more than it is looks like.Humanity????????I have notesed that there is allways something in common.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

@pathfinder, I think that noticing the things that are in common is the basis to world peace.

I once took part in a church project where we invited couples to dinner from an African-American church across town, and they in turn had us to their homes for dinner. It was such a great experience. It made me think that it would be a good idea during Lent, when Catholics cannot eat meat on Fridays, for our family to skip the church fish fry dinners on Fridays and eat meatless dishes from other countries instead. It turned out to be such a good experience for all of us, in a lot of different ways.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

i love people finding. god i hope this doesn’t make me a creep, but one saturday there was nothing to do, so a friend and i went to the airport and sat around to people watch and grab some lunch from a little air port cafe. it was so interesting. and so many people just started to talk to us, telling us about their trip, telling us where they were going to go, etc. it was really nice.

cordovanessa's avatar

oooh people watching is fun, because it gets me interested in finding out more about a group of people, religion, culture, etc. and it makes me go and look up information so when i see it again I know where it/they came from and its super cool to learn so many new things.

cyndyh's avatar

I like seeing what people are buying at the store and the ways people shop at all hours.

tehrani625's avatar

@tiffyandthewall I think that’s ok. It sounds like fun.

maybe_KB's avatar

Being in SF. This is a very common as well as interesting activity.
It’s a definite brain teaser for most.
You see a lady who appears to be well to-do wearing mink walking a purebred poodle w/ a diamond studded collar.
On that very block there are transits lying on cardboard boxes.
Surprisingly people who kick out a buck or two to the bums are typically people like you and I
:)
But you know, that’s San Francisco for ya’!

tiffyandthewall's avatar

@tehrani625 haha i’m glad. it was! if you’re ever near an airport with nothing to do, you should totally walk around. haha.

JustPlainBarb's avatar

I love to “people watch”. Life is full of interesting characters all with some kind of story behind why they act like they do or why they say the things they say. I have to hold myself back from asking people “why are you doing that?” or “what made you say that or wear that or…???” Not that I’m judging them, I just love to know what people are thinking about and what drives them. I’m basically just a nosey person, I guess! :)

Fairylover78's avatar

Sure, here in NY you really can’t help it. With Public transportation you kinda dont have a choice but to people watch ( and eaves drop) I try not to let it show on my face when I end up chuckling at some crazy thing someone says. It’s fascinating to see how others go about their days, I love to make up stories in my head about people based on how they carry themselves, dress ect… Being really short I get stopped all the time with people asking either how tall ( 4’6 btw) or how old ( 32 and staying there for a while) I am, so I think it’s really just in peoples nature to be curious about others.

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