Sunday, December 10, 2023
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People Watching – A Hobby For Everyone

At the end of a long day, sometimes what you want in a hobby isn’t necessarily something that will keep your hands and body busy, but more something to relax to, something to lay back and stir the mind. You’re not always ready to come home and throw down on the chess board or jump head on into a knitting project. This is how the majority of Americans and others around the world end up squashed in front of the TV on weekend afternoons or in the early evenings.

But what happens when you’ve seen all the shows? When you really just want to get out of the house and do something, but you can’t quite think of what?

Over the years, I’ve found one of my favorite ‘inactive’ hobbies is the sport of people watching.

Yeah, it really is a sport.

The great thing about people watching is that you can do it most anywhere there’s people! I’ll go to a bookstore, a park, a coffee shop, anywhere there are people just milling around. Find a nice comfy place to sit, maybe get something to drink, and station yourself in a part where you can maybe overhear people talking. It really never ceases to blow my mind, the kind of stuff you can overhear or witness just in a half hour span of sitting, plus it’s nice to feel the sun on your back, maybe there’s a little breeze.

These family parks in San Francisco are usually the best, as there’s always people moving around, but you’ll be surprised how easy it is to find great people watching places. In high school one of our favorite things to do on a boring night would be drive down to the airport and walk around the terminals seeing who got off, maybe even striking up a conversation (this is better to do if you’re with a group, as alone it could be a little creepy. :) We would even go so far as to bring harmonicas and kazoos and start playing songs for people getting off their plane (yeah, we were a little weird, what can I say?), and some of those days are among my best memories of hanging out. Obviously the higher security these years makes airports a little less feasible, but try the mall! Try a busy part of downtown!

Sitting and relaxing and paying attention to your surroundings can be a hobby in and of itself. And not just a lazy TV-style act, either.

As a writer, I’ve found people watching not only to be a great form of free entertainment, but a source of inspiration and creativity-waking for my work. I’ve always believed that truth is stranger than fiction, and the characters you will run into on any given day out in the light can often far surpass what you might dream up. People are just too unusual in their own worlds. Get a free piece of the fun! Take those ideas home and work them into a story or a screenplay, maybe try to paint from memory the strangest folks you saw. Overall, I’ll take the strange local talking aloud to a dog that isn’t there, or the group of muscle heads on an outing to buy new workout clothes, or just any of the strange array of individuals our human world has to offer over a rerun of Friends or the new episode of Lost any day.

The possibilities really are endless, and you can’t beat free!



  1. i love to people watch. i am in highschool and sometimes you just need a break from it all. i like t observe people and try to think who they are what they’re like and everything about them. observing people is entertaining and makes you smarter. nice article.

  2. Ppl watching is awesome. I’m in secondary school and i sit around at lunch times watching evry1. ppl forget im ther and it’s so funny wat ppl do wen they think no-ones watching :!: :lol: im alot more observant now to :!:

    thanks for the article. :twisted:


    • people watching is my hobby i checkout the people every where, i check what people want and what they think (positive or negative). i adopted it as my hobby because it will help me in my coming life, i can easily know about my subordinates and whose i am subordinate, by observing the nature of so many peoples i get and develop my ability to listen the people heart voice and can read their face and eyes.

  3. yeah…
    i love people watching too!!!!! :oops:
    its actually a great hobby to have!!!! i am in high school senior year…i have taken to watching people everywhere…mall… and everywhere!!! :lol: :twisted:
    more people should try this out!! its really a fun thing to try out! :mrgreen:

  4. i love people watching! I mostly do it when i’m sat on a bench at the mall and people do stupid funny things. I do it with my dad all the time and we have a laugh. Its what brings us together we both have the same hobby and its fun! I also p.w my friends when I’m grounded and they’d hang around the end of my drive. My best friend always caught me so I’d go to a different window until they saw me again. I love p.w

  5. I love people watching, its not something I generally plan to do but something I find myself doing while waiting for someone for example in a cafe. :grin:

  6. I people watch. It’s not creepy, it’s simply being aware of your surroundings :)

    Thebest thing about people watching is meeting other great people watchers, because you and that other person will see something then smile and laugh about it and the people with you totally miss out on it.

  7. I am usually a watcher myself but I never actually paid any attention to anything but my own thoughts. I dont know if this is for all but I’ll give it a shot.

  8. Lol I have been people watching since I was very young. Sometimes I can sit in the middle of a huge crowd and nobody knows Im even there. Observing people really is fun! Alot of times I catch myself people watching without realizing it.

  9. There’s some people who just don’t understand how the world works. She can do whatever she wants. Maybe one day you can decide to do something original with yourself.

  10. for the person who kept saying “get a life”, I noticed you took the time to read the article and all the responses so if you think we need to get a life then maybe you do too.

  11. People watching is something I have always done. I don’t do it on purpose as a hobby, it’s just a natural thing for me to do, and I couldn’t not do it!

  12. WOW I do people watching since i was child, and its funny bcz just now, reading this article and you comments guys, i realized there are more people like me.. hah
    its a good thing, i actually don’t do it like: go out to do it, but always when i’m waiting the train/ stuck at the airport or something like. ITS great!

    • Its nice to watch people and know how we all are somewhere similar or different from each other. I generaly enjoy watching people when iam outside like traveling in train or in mall. You actually get to know about people behavior and activities in different suitations and at different places!

  13. I too enjoy people watching sometimes I do it when the bus is taking too long.
    I didn’t know it was such a common hobby (actually never thought of it as a hobby)

  14. I love this :) you learn so much from watching people. It can be a little creepy haha so buying a coffee is a good idea. ;) but I really love people watching. Takes up a lot of time you could be sitting on your arse. Any advice on writing actually? I’d like that to be a new hobby of mine. The class A’s arnt enough inspiration for everything haha.

  15. This is one of those hobbies that might get a little too overwhelming especially for the person who is being watched. I can imagine just doing my own thing, minding my own business and then realizing that someone has been watching me for a really long time… I’ll get creeped out and start wondering “why is he/she staring at me?” or if I’m being stalked.

  16. Uhm too all you stupid people commenting telling these people observers to get a life… its not like your always just sitting around watching from a distance nimrods, your also interacting, and getting more confident with your social skills and intellect… so, these people are and already have lives! dipthongs….


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