1. Cerrus
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    Cerrus Senior Member

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    Profiling People?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Cerrus, Jul 12, 2012.

    As a writer and as an artist I do a LOT of people watching. As a writer, I watch people and how they interact. As an artist, I study people on the way they look and how the way they dress coincides with their personality, or what subtle features define a young person from an elderly person, etc.. Now, when I walk around in public I tend to look at someone and will profile them (Nearly 100% of the time I'm right about them).

    My question is, is this a good or bad thing to do? Also, do any of you guys do this? Let the posting commence!
     
  2. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just curious how you know you're right.
    It is fun to people watch. I like observing couples, especially at restaurants. How they interact, their reactions to the food, etc. It's always interesting to try to guess whether they're on a first date, a well-established couple, not a couple at all, etc. Of course, I have no way of knowing whether my guess is correct. And also, you can't be too obvious.
     
  3. Mercurial
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    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

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    ^ That was my question too...

    I enjoy people watching as well. I'll often go to the mall or the park and leave my sunglasses on and just observe freely. ;) It helps when I am looking for some inspiration for a new character or even a brand new story. I'll "profile" someone (I suppose) and dream up their back story and come up with explanations for why they behave the way they do. :)

    I think I'd love to be a fly on the wall in high school again, now that I'm beyond it. High school is an excellent place to observe human behavior because everyone is still insecure enough to create funny situations. :p
     
  4. JonSpear360
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    JonSpear360 Member

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    People watching is a great game! I often sit in a Denny's or Starbucks to write and do homework, and when I do, I am constantly eavesdropping on the conversations going on around me.

    I would say that it is not a bad thing, it's a fun game and it can definitely help with realistic character creation. The only negative to obsessive people watching I could think of would be, well, I would just be cautious that people never become just a profile to you, cause then you'll be caught off guard by their inevitable idiosyncrasies.

    I wouldn't' worry about People Watching as a hobby. It's a fun, and innocent past time. I wouldn't say the same for People Following, lol, and that can get you into legal trouble...
     
  5. Cerrus
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    Cerrus Senior Member

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    The answer to most of your guys question on how I know I'm right is quite simple actually. Usually once I see someone or when they walk through the door I can profile them just by the way they look/are dressed and other things. Then comes the people watching part. I would usually anticipate what him/her is going to do or say(If I am eavesdropping >_>) and most of the time they act just as I predict. Now this isn't a 100% foolproof way of knowing if I'm right, but it still works.
     
  6. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    I like watching strangers and try to guess their personality, but the real fun is when I observe people whose personality I know. A gossipy aunt, a no non-sense uncle, sister-in-law pretending to like my mom, sister casually asking mom about her will and bro-in-law acting he couldn't care less etc. etc.
     
  7. SuttonMichael254
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    SuttonMichael254 Active Member

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    When i was in college i did alot of side studying in psychology, i mean alot. Therios of personality, the pathology of liars, pillars of deception and stuff like that. after all of it i loved watching people. I can usually what a person is like and what their intentions are just at first glance.
    so no its not weird, i think all of us do it in some way or another
     
  8. Quabajazzi
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    Quabajazzi Member

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    I like people watching, but unless I'm with a friend I can't help feeling creepy. I'm not the dressed in black dark figure in the corner who stars at your constantly, but unless I'm with a mate and we make commentary too it's not as fun.
     
  9. amecylia
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    amecylia Member

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    I always do this! As an artist, I like to know what facial features/ clothing/ colors project a "personality" (e.g., what makes someone look "bitter", or what features make someone look "honest"). Also, I pay attention to what effects diseases and ageing have on people's appearance. I find this fascinating...

    As a writer, I pay attention to how people react to words, tone and body language. I always try to find out why they behave the way that they do, or what their thought-process is when making decisions. I do read the occasional book on psychology and human interaction.

    I think doing this is a good thing. It helps you understand others, and learn about yourself.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i've been a people-watcher all my life... most writers are... especially fiction writers... that's mainly where they get their characters...
     
  11. JessWrite
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    JessWrite Word Nerd & Proud! Contributor

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    I'll admit I love to people-watch, but sometimes think I look like I'm in a daze when I do it. And that awkward moment while studying someone I forget to turn away when they realize I'm watching...yeah, I need to learn to do it better. haha ;)

    I just got back from the beach a few days ago, and there was a lot of potential characters everywhere. Tons of personalities and accents. My sister and I had fun guessing where everyone was from. I wanted to go up and ask to see if we were right, but was too shy...maybe next time! :)
     
  12. El Chacal
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    El Chacal New Member

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    That's creepy, dude.
     
  13. The Crazy Kakoos
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    The Crazy Kakoos Member

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    I notice a lot about people and I can't help but file them away in a certain folder in my mind due to dress, body language, speech, and topics of speech. Pretty much a first impression, my file can always be ammended though.

    There are few locations where I actually like to people watch in my town. Everywhere else I just get disgusted after a while.
     
  14. marktx
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    marktx Contributing Member

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    I'm not much of a people-watcher. I am at times a people chatter-upper, however, and I have found that to be very helpful in my writing.
     
  15. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    For character study, I people watch and sometimes I also watch reality TV, now before you poo pooey this last statement please hear me out.

    As a writer, purely for character study, wouldn't it be great to get a dozen complete strangers and lock them up together for a few months to observe their actions and interactions towards each other. I know that the clips they show on TV are all edited and cut and shut, but you can still see how little groups are formed.
    I have noticed more often than not, the bullies - how they get a group of friends/followers/yes-men around themselves and once they feel secure - they manipulate to isolate members outside of their group. Then this is the thing that gets me, once they are confident in their position they find something paltry to get upset about (female bullies usually cry and cry and cry)the members of the group get so angry with whomever they believed has upset their leader they will pick on that person unmercifully, when actually their leader is 'making much ado about nothing', and yet these followers either don't or don't want to see it.
     
  16. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Double post, sorry
     
  17. prettyprettyprettygood
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    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

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    I love to people-watch and, I'll admit it, eavesdrop. My favourite thing though is seeing people who defy their 'profile', like an exceptionally smart and elegant looking woman I saw get on the tube, wearing a beautiful business suit, Louboutins, the works. She looked around for an end-of-row seat but they were all taken so she yelled "this is f***ing sh**", slumped in a seat and started slurping yogurt out of a carton. I love seeing stuff like that, it gets my mind whirring :D
     
  18. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I love airports and bus stations and shopping malls - just for the people watching. I don't worry about the profiling thing (frankly, I think that's a lot of hooey, even for the 'professionals'), but I make up stories about the people as I'm watching them. (Oh, and if they catch you staring, just smile nicely and they're taken in reassured.)
     
  19. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think this has some validity, Trilby. I watch a few reality shows, and I agree with you in that what I find most interesting are the interpersonal dynamics that emerge within the group. I enjoy being able to pick out in the early shows who is going to be a leader and which people are going to find common ground, etc. (Sometimes I'm right.) It's also interesting to see when the people on the show and their friends and family at home will comment that they act differently on the show than they do at home and why that is.
     
  20. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's the big drawback with watching reality shows - even ones where they're just following people around (like the Kardashians or Swamp People) - knowing the camera is there, being in an artificial environment - it really skews how people act. Just like teenagers when they know people are watching them - they show off.
     
  21. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't so much mean those. I can't stand the Kardashians, and I've never seen Swamp People. I'm more thinking of shows like Big Brother, Survivor and the original Apprentice (I refuse to watch the 'celebrity' version). I'm not proud that I watch them, but I do think the interpersonal relationships that are forced to develop due to the isolation is interesting. Yes, it's an artificial setting, so you can only go so far, and it does skew how people act (hence the disparity that emerges between the way people act 'in real life' versus on the show), but core elements of personality remain the same and it can be interesting to see how these play out.)
     
  22. prettyprettyprettygood
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    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

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    I suppose the heavy editing of reality shows provides us with the profiles we've come to expect but that might not actually be present amongst the cast, so there's the good guy, the bad guy, the ditz, the game-player etc, even if that doesn't really reflect the group.
     
  23. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    I listen more than watch, I don't do it incessantly, and it doesn't happen when I'm in company nearly so much, because I give my active attention to my friends.
     
  24. Gonissa
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    Gonissa Contributing Member

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    So perhaps you're just studying the interactions of people while they're on camera, and how this is different from normal interactions.

    Or that's what you could tell people. :D
     

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