People are fascinating creatures.
Unfortunately, in today's society everything is so fast-paced that we often forget to stop and look around. We have grown so accustomed to passing people on the street or sitting in a crowded room that we are numb to it all. We forget to watch.
I am a people watcher.
People love to hear the sound of their own voices, but what is gained from competing voices and clashing conversations? You can learn everything you need to know about a person not by the words that come out of their mouth but by what they do when they think no one is watching. The clothes people wear, the beverages they drink, the books they read, the music they listen to, the way their facial expressions change depending on the situation: These are the components of a person that describe who they are. The fake smiles plastered on faces, the laugh that seems just a little too loud and a little too forced, the compliments that pour out of mouths like a freshly popped champagne bottle: This is the performance people put on to mask their insecurities and to appear an agreeable person that people will like. That is not to say that all smiles and laughter are fake. We are often genuine with friends and family and people we trust, but with strangers, there is an air of unfamiliarity that makes us put on this extra show of pleasantry.
People watching is also an important tool for writing. I am a writer, and I know how hard it is to create characters that feel real and believable. People watching creates real details you can add to stories to make them come alive. Listening to random people's conversations (while it may seem a little stalker-ish and strange) is the best way to get inspiration and to just learn what people say and how they speak in certain situations and environments. The coffee shop writer cliche is a cliche because it works. It doesn't have to be a coffee shop per say, but go out in public, sit down in an area where you can see and hear a wide range of people, and get inspired.
Whether you are a writer, a marketer, or just a regular person, it never hurts to people watch. I challenge you to go out, step away from your routine, look up from your phone, and observe the people around you and all the details that come with it.