Observing people …

Its 2:30 am in the morning and I have gotten back (a while ago) from a friend from work’s surprise birthday party.
It was lots of fun and I for one, had a good time.
Anyways, I realised something about myself and people in general today.
Most of the party, (actually for all part of it), we were just sitting around in a living room and talking (there were 16 of us and her folks).
Maximum of the conversations that took place involved the entire group with one or the other person narrating a joke or an incident.
At one particular point of time, we were made to go in order and narrate one joke, incident or just amuse the large gathering of people.
Anyways, firstly, what I noticed about people was that listening to what people have to say (or not) at a party or a social discussion tells a lot about them – if you notice that is.
The second thing that I realized (about myself) is that I tend to observe people a lot and am sub consciously analyzing them.
I dug a little deeper (into my conscience) and this is what happens.
When a person is going to speak or narrate something or do anything at all, you form a sort of prediction of what he is going to do or how he is going to do it – depending on all the knowledge you have of the person.
Depending on how much the person sways from your prediction, you assess them and fine tune your understanding of the person.
If your prediction was spot on, you kinda know that you know the person decently well.
I probably haven’t even gotten close to the level at which I can be dead on right about a person, but I feel that I am getting there slowly – but steadily.
Just observing how people behave in a social group, what they say things, how they say it, how much effort they are applying, how conscious they are tells loads about a person – and I just felt that I got to know almost all of the people present there – a lot more even though I hardly spoke to many of them.
The point I am trying to make here is that its is sometimes more interesting in observing the reactions of people to a particular interesting situation than observing the situation itself.
Like for example, I have caught myself (and am very disturbed by the fact) that many a times, I actually observe how people react when say, a very pretty girl walks into the room instead of looking at her.
Very disturbing, I know.
But right now, at 2:45 a.m – I am pretty much at my twilight zone and really cannot say that I am talking sense …
So you cannot hold anything said on this particular post against me.
So there! πŸ™‚

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Comments (12)

  • eshuneutics 14 years ago β€” Reply

    Ah, very interesting. But suppose that you come up against another observer…you watch, you predict, you wait for a reaction, you measure how much s/he deviates from your prediction…you measure what you know of the person and whether you know them. This is rather like your earlier post: do we always know what we think we know. Suppose, the observer has already worked out that you are Mr Analysis (every group will have one). So, this person works out the prediction you have made and works out an inappropriate agreement or deviation: you think you know the person–he is like me–she is way different–but the real depths of the person have been concealed. Think about blogging and making comments. A blog is an analysis game–you will have written this, waiting for people to respond, knowing who they are likely to be, predicting the degree of variation from your post. As I write this, I am measuring my language all the time, working out the image I wish to put across to you. And I bet you are thinking “Another long response from Eshuneutics etc.” I am ensuring that you see what you want to see (across the blind of the internet). As the writer Ben Jonson once pointed out…the observer is always observed…s/he is always the one to watch. Interesting post from the twilight zone (of the mind, Mr Saurabh).

  • Saurabh 14 years ago β€” Reply

    Haha …
    So is your comment eshuneutics πŸ™‚

    And yet again, I must say, you have spoken from an angle I did not even consider.
    Its a very, very interesting concept.

    But I somehow feel, last night wouldn’t have fallen into the hunter being the hunted theory.

    However, I will definitely keep this in mind and will try and do an observer observing an observer observing an observer thing – if I find another observer that is πŸ˜‰

    I hope s/he isn’t reading this comment.
    But thanks again for the great insight!

  • eshuneutics 14 years ago β€” Reply

    Now…that is interesting. I have removed a comment, but your blog still bears the trace: “2 Comments by”. So what was removed/is missing? Sometimes the traces or what is not said tells you more about The Observer. What do you think? For example, you haven’t said that you find social occasions dull, that is why you find observing people more interesting…and you are quite proud of how quickly you size up people. I wonder about the “pretty girl”…that is revealing!

  • eshuneutics 14 years ago β€” Reply

    Now, your blog has removed the “2 comments by”, so had I kept my mouth shut you would not have realised that I had redone the comment because it had a spelling mistake in it: that tells you something about me! πŸ˜‰ I watch people like a hawk…every damn full-stop and comma in them. NO, I’m not that bad. Honest. I do enjoy your speculations. Smile!

  • Saurabh 14 years ago β€” Reply

    Hmm …
    I generally do find social occasions dull – or I have had the bad luck of being forced to go to many dull social occasions, thats where I think I must have gotten into this observer mode …

    As for the comment deleting thing, blogger does that. Though I couldn’t see your comment, there was definitely a trace. I wouldn’t worry too much about it coz most of the times, people delete comments due to some major typos or wrong placement of sentences …
    So I am not judging (yet)

    As for the pretty girl incident, it was a one off thing.
    If you really want to know, there were lots of us guys (I didn’t know) sitting at the reception of this office for an interview or something. And in walks this (quite) pretty girl. I noticed her at once, but then felt that instead of gawking around and looking like an idiot, it would be a lot more fun noticing how others around me react to her presence.
    (This however on further analysis, disturbed me a bit :p)

  • Jomy 14 years ago β€” Reply

    Aaaaaahh …so your playing mr.psychoanalyst huh ? What i’ve noticed is that , most of us , round about our age , do it ! ‘Cos by now , we have actually met quite a number of people , with all the i-know-its-a-big-bad-world attitude !And women , analyse the most !
    It comes naturally , and out it comes on our respective blogs ,
    right ? πŸ˜‰

  • mullingovermythoughts 14 years ago β€” Reply

    analyse people???
    now why would someone do something like that???

  • Aswin 14 years ago β€” Reply

    Now… it does take take something to break out of the normal and watch people ;-). Watching people’s reactions can be so much more fun if you have a like-minded pal with you.. and then do a review of the watch to get the probable character of the person you are watching πŸ™‚

  • Aswin Anand T.H. 14 years ago β€” Reply

    That was me in the previous comment. Blogger beta doesn’t allow my current blog to be moved there…

  • mullingovermythoughts 14 years ago β€” Reply

    observing others is fine but i have recently taken to observing myself. of course this is the next step of observing others cause you then end up gauging others by your standards and occasionally up the ante for yourself…

  • Id it is 14 years ago β€” Reply

    That made for some interesting reading. I guess we all observe people at some basic level all the time; however, it is with people that matter that the observation becomes more conscious or that we become more conscious of our observation and wonder if a similar observation is being made at the other end, and if so whether we now need to amend/ adjust/ momentarily end the observation we have been making! hehe
    It’s all about perceptions, and we humans would so love to know how the other perceives us especially if the other happens to be ‘significant’ as in the ‘pretty girl’ in your post.
    Good post Saurabh.

  • Rishi Agarwal 14 years ago β€” Reply

    Stupid blog ! Checked ur blog after a long time ….

    btw, i had the exact same feeling last year when i had gone to my friend’s bday party at TDS. I was analyzing ppl and the party and thinking what makes them so happy and which things might be keeping them sad which they r trying to hide behind those happy faces.

    Anyways, in the end, i thot its useless doing that . Just enjoy the party !

    One thing came to my mind. I read this in The Speaking tree. It was written that everyone wants to analyze and judge other ppl. But no one looks inside and does a analysis on themseleves. Its a tough thing to do , and hence maaybe thats why ppl try to read other ppl rather than reading themselves !

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