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Fascination with People (1 Viewer)

Taylor

Friends of WF
Peopke who want you to move out of their way...sitting close to you...talking loudly...begging hotspots..there so many

Oh, now I see what you mean! Yes, I observe this as well. It helps in my analysis as to what the relationship between people is. For example, I love to watch people when I am laying by the pool at a resort. Dark sunglasses assist in my hidden surveillance. One common grouping is a women with children. Sometimes it's a mom, but it can also be a nanny or stepmom, or other. How closely they sit together and how loud they yell is a clue to my assessment. Sometimes, one kid is a dead ringer for the mom, so then I have guess if the other appearingly same age kid is just a friend who came along. Again the spaces around them is usually a give-away.

Of course people wanting you to get out of their way has a whole new meaning since Covid...lol!
 

Taylor

Friends of WF
Several years ago I discovered street photography, and spent almost every Saturday with my camera (not the one on my phone) at the Market Square in my little city. The best advice I read about street photography was to find a seat and sit while the world passes me by, and take pictures of what crosses my path rather than moving around to find the picture. I learned how to watch people and capture what I saw on film aka a memory card;) I use this same advice when I'm in a group gathering with strangers, family, friends, and customers - my career over the years has been in customer service. Be still and observe, using all my senses including intuition and imagination.

I also love going to restaurants and coffee shops with my laptop to write, although it's been months since I've done that (sigh) ... I am SO ready to get back into the world again ... anyway, I eavesdrop and create stories using the tone of person's voice (without seeing what they physically look like), or a comment I hear, and so on. My most memorable coffee shop experience was observing a group of older farmers in an urban-type coffeehouse. I wasn't close enough to hear what they were talking about, but oh man, they were having FUN which became the inspiration for a 'story poem'.

Humans are amazing and as a writer (and photographer), I think it's pretty cool to have a billion or so resources at my fingertips.

To be successful in customer service you must have high emotional intelligence. It's important to listen to the customer and say the things they want to hear in a way that they want to hear them. You must get a high when a customer is satisfied. You say you observe using your intuition and imagination. I find that really interesting.

Can you give an example of how you might do this?
 

Terra

Senior Member
To be successful in customer service you must have high emotional intelligence. It's important to listen to the customer and say the things they want to hear in a way that they want to hear them. You must get a high when a customer is satisfied. You say you observe using your intuition and imagination. I find that really interesting.

Can you give an example of how you might do this?

Using my intuition is very much like empathy that bdc mentioned in his response. It's a gut feeling I get from a customer as to what sort of personality they are, which helps me help them, and yes it's an awesome feeling when a customer is happy with the service they receive.

My last job was a service advisor in a car dealership, which had an interesting mixture of customers ... the ones who know 'everything' about vehicles, the ones who pretend to know 'everything', the ones who don't trust the dealership, and so on. Listening is key, but there were times when it was more important knowing what questions to ask and how to ask them in order to determine the type of customer I was dealing with ... which all has to happen within the first minute (or less) of interaction with them. I think that's pretty standard in any situation though, not just in customer service. Reading someone's body language, facial expressions and what kind of eye contact they have, all play into it as well. So I suppose it's an amalgamation of a lot of details by observation and reading a person's energy in a very short amount of time, which sparks my intuition.

As for using my imagination ... well, I have a keen interest in human behaviour and what makes people tick. Everyone has a life happening on the other side of the counter, or in the car that just cut me off, or the clerk who was rude, or, or, or ..... I don't need to know details, but my imagination is constantly running in the background about the why's, the maybe's, the what if's. I don't intentionally do it ... it just happens. I believe my intuition and imagination work together, fueling compassion and understanding, and that's why I was so good in customer service for 30 plus years. I care about people, and I think they could tell.

Your thread starter asked if a fascination with people is because we are writers ... I can't say that is true for me because my fascination for people existed decades before I discovered a passion for writing. Now I am hoping to bring these two passions together by learning how to write and be the best writer I can be regardless of the learning curve being pure vertical.

One thought did cross my mind as I was reading through the responses and replying with my own. With the way this year has unfolded, online communities have flourished ... Does your fascination with people cross over into online? Do you try to figure out someone by how they 'talk' virtually? Can you get a vibe just by reading someone's profile? Do you use any of that information in character developments in the stories you write?
 

Llyralen

Senior Member
Understanding and experiencing every aspect of the human condition, each individual’s experiences, is a driving force for me. I think it’s just personality. I’m into Jung’s cognitive functions and MBTI. My personality is ENFP and understanding the human condition in all of its variety is what I feel I DO and what others of my personality often do... although we don’t hard-core assume anything. People are too nuanced for that. I can tell my pure imagination apart from what I can deduct or accurately predict when I have more information at hand. Maybe you are a fellow NF type? I also think MBTI is a valuable tool for writing... as is just being interested in your fellow earthlings.

For me going to restaurants particularly triggers this in me. I have a game with my husband that started when we were at college where I will silently take a straw and point it towards a certain couple and we will discreetly guess how many dates they have had or if they have been together for years. We will discuss how much we think they like each other. The straw makes it so that we don’t have to point or stare. I like it.

When I’m swimming in a lap lane there is no way that I’m not going to wonder about the people next to me. But they give me less to go off of than watching people and their body language at restaurants.
 

Taylor

Friends of WF
Your thread starter asked if a fascination with people is because we are writers ... I can't say that is true for me because my fascination for people existed decades before I discovered a passion for writing. Now I am hoping to bring these two passions together by learning how to write and be the best writer I can be regardless of the learning curve being pure vertical.

One thought did cross my mind as I was reading through the responses and replying with my own. With the way this year has unfolded, online communities have flourished ... Does your fascination with people cross over into online? Do you try to figure out someone by how they 'talk' virtually? Can you get a vibe just by reading someone's profile? Do you use any of that information in character developments in the stories you write?

I also am fairly new to fiction. My learning curve has been steep as well. But you will learn a lot on this forum, I know I have. There are some very wise people here.

Absolutley! People's personalities come through very strongly online, particularly when they are speaking about their passions. Perhaps more than it would in person. I think because they have more time to form their opinions before responding to someone else. And of course the anonymity creates a whole new dimmnesion. Profiles are part of the picture, but mostly the posts. And I guess to answer your last question, I think we all use whatever information we get about people and how they react in our writing.
 

Taylor

Friends of WF
Understanding and experiencing every aspect of the human condition, each individual’s experiences, is a driving force for me. I think it’s just personality. I’m into Jung’s cognitive functions and MBTI. My personality is ENFP and understanding the human condition in all of its variety is what I feel I DO and what others of my personality often do... although we don’t hard-core assume anything. People are too nuanced for that. I can tell my pure imagination apart from what I can deduct or accurately predict when I have more information at hand. Maybe you are a fellow NF type? I also think MBTI is a valuable tool for writing... as is just being interested in your fellow earthlings.

I am a huge believer in the MBTI. When I learned about my own type, and that others had inherent natures a well, it changed my life! I am actually an INTJ, but I think it's the N that is conducive to writing. The N types don't just look at facts, but find a deeper meaning. I think it makes for a rich life, but sometimes it can be annoying...lol! Why do I have to stand in the grocery line and wonder why the person in front of me is buying what they are buying, and who are they buying it for....etc?

I used the MBTI in my work as an auditor. I had not actually thought about using it for my writing, but now that you mention it, makes perfect sense. How do you use it as a tool for writing?

For me going to restaurants particularly triggers this in me. I have a game with my husband that started when we were at college where I will silently take a straw and point it towards a certain couple and we will discreetly guess how many dates they have had or if they have been together for years. We will discuss how much we think they like each other. The straw makes it so that we don’t have to point or stare. I like it.

This is exactly the type of thing that I would do if I could find a willing participant. As it is, I pretty much do it in my own mind.

When I’m swimming in a lap lane there is no way that I’m not going to wonder about the people next to me. But they give me less to go off of than watching people and their body language at restaurants.

I laughed out loud when I read this. There's no limit to the amount of assumptions I can make or imagine about the fellow swimmer. :)

Thanks for your post, it's good to know there are some kindred spirits out there.
 

Terra

Senior Member
I also am fairly new to fiction. My learning curve has been steep as well. But you will learn a lot on this forum, I know I have. There are some very wise people here.

Absolutley! People's personalities come through very strongly online, particularly when they are speaking about their passions. Perhaps more than it would in person. I think because they have more time to form their opinions before responding to someone else. And of course the anonymity creates a whole new dimmnesion. Profiles are part of the picture, but mostly the posts. And I guess to answer your last question, I think we all use whatever information we get about people and how they react in our writing.

I love this place! Lately it seems I've been reading on the fly though and not doing very much interaction, so I appreciate this thread and your questions to everyone.

Truth? I had to 'formulate' my reply to your question because intuition and imagination have become so natural, I didn't know how to explain it. Self-awareness plays a HUGE part in how we see and relate to other people. Any of the personality tests reveal who WE are, and we are the only ones who can say "yep, that's me", or "ummm really? I had no idea!" If we don't know ourselves and the different aspects of what makes us tick, how can ever begin to relate to other people ..... AND write a character that has any kind of depth.
 

Llyralen

Senior Member
I am a huge believer in the MBTI. When I learned about my own type, and that others had inherent natures a well, it changed my life! I am actually an INTJ, but I think it's the N that is conducive to writing. The N types don't just look at facts, but find a deeper meaning. I think it makes for a rich life, but sometimes it can be annoying...lol! Why do I have to stand in the grocery line and wonder why the person in front of me is buying what they are buying, and who are they buying it for....etc?

I used the MBTI in my work as an auditor. I had not actually thought about using it for my writing, but now that you mention it, makes perfect sense. How do you use it as a tool for writing?

How would you use it as an auditor is my question? lol
But for writing I really find so many uses.
1. Consistency and/or relatability of character that also feels "real". For example, my husband started writing a character that I typed ISTP and later in a certain situation the ISTP started to talk like a INFP. I picked up on that immediately as entirely improbable and told my husband that wouldn't work. He said the character was growing and changing and I said that's not how that character would grow or change. So... he is justifiably annoyed with that. As a writer of fictional characters they can change type like people in real life cannot, but I never like that. I actually think that the plot and the characters and the theme and everything you're trying to accomplish in the book should work together as it would in reality.

2. There are natural story arches for each type and I find these inspiring. You do find these naturally in movies or stories when you see a character that you feel reflects people that you know. There is an amazing tension and potential for growth between someone's best function and their very last function. I see the best writers who have found stories to write about this tension. Greta Gerwig is an example of my type who has written really poignantly about the tension between our top function and what is learned moving towards the last function. A great example is Jo March's story ( Louisa May Alcott was also an ENFP it seems obvious to me) or LadyBird. One of the tensions in my own type is the need to constantly explore new aspects of life and accomplish ideals and aspirations (like writing or opening a school for the underprivileged) while also feeling torn with a longing for home and love.

We just watched "The Family Man" where the ENTJ (Nick Cage) had a growth curve to learn how to put money, worldly goods, ambition, power away to make a decision to be a family man (present husband and father). In the end I think the writer couldn't stand for his character not to have both. It seemed to set it up for them to be a very rich family. But anyway... ambition and material gain immediately versus a loving future family I would think could sum up a natural growth curve and tension for an ENTJ.

3. I use it to hopefully test some of my blind spots in my writing. Like can I zero in on a plot and make sure to focus my writing for others to follow? Can I unify my themes more? (These 2 things, btw, plot and unified theme, would likely be your strengths in writing as an INTJ). Self-growth and self-awareness would also hopefully help me with finishing things rather than always starting new ones (another huge growth curves for ENFPs.)

I laughed out loud when I read this. There's no limit to the amount of assumptions I can make or imagine about the fellow swimmer. :)

Thanks for your post, it's good to know there are some kindred spirits out there.

I think this is a bit of a quirk of mine, I can put myself into any imaginary circumstance or someone I know very well into imaginary circumstances or characters I make up put into those circumstances. But I want the person next to me to be a real person and I want to learn real things from them so I kind of separate the two. I want to see REAL patterns in the people at the restaurants and also in the person swimming next to me. I want their real life circumstances and the information I glean from watching them to serve as real-life inspiration. The more I know about them then the more I could throw THEM (not imaginary them the way I see it) into an imaginary circumstance. I don't think that's a common thought... but I actually DO think real life is stranger than fiction. So bring on the real life situations. People's real lives sometimes absolutely floor me.

And yes! I feel the kindred spiritness! I'm new here so do people "friend" others? Show me the ropes! =)
 

Taylor

Friends of WF
How would you use it as an auditor is my question? lol
But for writing I really find so many uses.

As a writer of fictional characters they can change type like people in real life cannot, but I never like that. I actually think that the plot and the characters and the theme and everything you're trying to accomplish in the book should work together as it would in reality.

As an auditor, you deal with gathering information. Yes you can find it in the numbers, but it takes a long time to pinpoint and analyze errors. It is much more efficient to interview. MBTI is great for interviewing, knowing how to say things to get the most informative answer. Also, depending on the type of audit, there can be a lot of push back, so it is very useful for people management during conflict.

I had not thought of using it for writing in that way, but I see it can be a great guide for character development. Another thing that comes to mind would be to make sure you write your POVs in a number of types, and not just your own type with which you are most comfortable. I am also a big believer in imitating reality in my fiction writing. I base my stories and characters on real events and real people, so it would not be hard in advance to set out the MBTI for each character, and make sure their actions are consistent with their type. Thanks for the tip!

Greta Gerwig is an example of my type who has written really poignantly about the tension between our top function and what is learned moving towards the last function.

Not sure I follow, can you explain?

One of the tensions in my own type is the need to constantly explore new aspects of life and accomplish ideals and aspirations (like writing or opening a school for the underprivileged) while also feeling torn with a longing for home and love.

Ah yes the perfect Idealist Champion!

3. I use it to hopefully test some of my blind spots in my writing. Like can I zero in on a plot and make sure to focus my writing for others to follow? Can I unify my themes more? (These 2 things, btw, plot and unified theme, would likely be your strengths in writing as an INTJ). Self-growth and self-awareness would also hopefully help me with finishing things rather than always starting new ones (another huge growth curves for ENFPs.)

It's funny you would mention that because, I have a fellow author (ISFJ) who I meet with regularly for support. Once before starting to write a novel, I showed her my binder that I keep with copious notes on plotlines, timelines, character motivation, etc. and my various methodologies to make sure everything ties together at the end and supports the theme. She just looked at me and said, "write chapter one!". It's also the thing that inhibits me, because I am fearful to write something incoherent. So, I guess my growth curve as a writer would be to let it flow, and not worry about it so much.

... but I actually DO think real life is stranger than fiction. So bring on the real life situations. People's real lives sometimes absolutely floor me.

Totally agree! Hense my fascination with people. I'm really bad about reading those magazines, that follow famous people...lol!

And yes! I feel the kindred spiritness! I'm new here so do people "friend" others? Show me the ropes! =)

Yes, they do. You invite people from your profile, I'll send you one!
 

BrandonTheWriter

Senior Member
I'm not sure this post is in the right thread but I believe it has to do with character development.

Now and even before I started writing fiction, I have this habit that I cannot control. When I see people together, I try to figure out what the relationship is between them. I watch them surreptitiously to see if I can spot a gesture or look that indicates their connection. It doesn't have to be a couple, it can be any number of people and of all ages. Of course some are easier than others, so I find myself seeking out the less obvious groupings.

I don't know why I do it. But I have long since stopped trying to control it.

Does anyone else have any obsessions or habits that involve watching strangers?

Do you think it's because we are writers?

Late to the thread, but I am exactly like this. I have been this way since a young child. I am very aware of my surroundings and whilst I have always been a quiet person, I am always aware of the people around me and I have always tried to figure people out without knowing much about them.

I have actually had to hold off before when speaking to people, because I know more about them than I let on. Which sounds creepy now I think of it. I just remember a lot of small things, and in School I remember picking up a lot of details about people just from overhearing conversations.

I have always been good at remembering small details about people. I have often times used those things for inspiration when I write.
 

Taylor

Friends of WF
Late to the thread, but I am exactly like this. I have been this way since a young child. I am very aware of my surroundings and whilst I have always been a quiet person, I am always aware of the people around me and I have always tried to figure people out without knowing much about them.

I have actually had to hold off before when speaking to people, because I know more about them than I let on. Which sounds creepy now I think of it. I just remember a lot of small things, and in School I remember picking up a lot of details about people just from overhearing conversations.

I have always been good at remembering small details about people. I have often times used those things for inspiration when I write.

It's good to know there are some kindred spirits out there! I am also very quiet. When I was younger, I used to be quite self-conscious about it. My parents used to push me to speak to people, apologizing for me and saying that I was just shy! I never liked the word shy.

Google Definition: Shy - "being reserved or having or showing nervousness or timidity in the company of other people."

I never felt that way. Like you, I was just more interested in trying to figure people out. How can you do that if you’re the one doing all the talking? And then as an adult, I felt that the noisy people were getting ahead faster. For awhile... But then at some point, I started to use my ability to read people in a powerful way. Most people crave to be heard; recognized; understood. Once I started to be more comfortable with my quietness, and my ability to read people, life got a whole lot more interesting. I was able to achieve some very significant things in my career, while supporting others and understanding their needs.

In time, I learned that quiet and silent aren’t the same thing. That’s what I love about writing. One can be quiet, and still have a significant impact.

I'm not one, but I have heard that psychologists make great novelists. Of course they would, they have spent their careers trying to understand people’s motivation.

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/8445.Best_Psychologist_Novelists
 

Hector

Senior Member
I'm not sure this post is in the right thread but I believe it has to do with character development.

Now and even before I started writing fiction, I have this habit that I cannot control. When I see people together, I try to figure out what the relationship is between them. I watch them surreptitiously to see if I can spot a gesture or look that indicates their connection. It doesn't have to be a couple, it can be any number of people and of all ages. Of course some are easier than others, so I find myself seeking out the less obvious groupings.

I don't know why I do it. But I have long since stopped trying to control it.

Does anyone else have any obsessions or habits that involve watching strangers?

Do you think it's because we are writers?


I often wonder whether women I see on the street are wearing transparent stockings, though it's hard to figure it out without coming across as creepy.
 

TheMightyAz

Senior Member
I'm not sure this post is in the right thread but I believe it has to do with character development.

Now and even before I started writing fiction, I have this habit that I cannot control. When I see people together, I try to figure out what the relationship is between them. I watch them surreptitiously to see if I can spot a gesture or look that indicates their connection. It doesn't have to be a couple, it can be any number of people and of all ages. Of course some are easier than others, so I find myself seeking out the less obvious groupings.

I don't know why I do it. But I have long since stopped trying to control it.

Does anyone else have any obsessions or habits that involve watching strangers?

Do you think it's because we are writers?

Brother!
 

Easy-Eight

Senior Member
I believe it may be just a general fascination with people. I as a writer don't do this. I believe that it is because when I am in public, I generally try to be quick in public. Or that I am hanging out with friends or family and I am just too busy to worry about what other people around me. But I guess, in the very few times that I am in public alone I tend to listen to music. But sometime I do look around and see how people act in public. But I try not to look at people in specific, more about the scene, like I will go into a restaurant and try to write there, maybe just write a quick short story, make up some characters and get ideas.

This sounds like just random rambling. But these are my thoughts on the topic. Just try not to stare at people too long lmao, it tends to look weird. Not trying to insult you, but people just take things the wrong ways.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Board Moderator
For me the fascination isn't just with people - it's places and experiences as well. I kept journals for years, and would write about the people I met, and interesting places I've visited and the experiences I've had.

I ride a motorcycle, and while riding I describe the scenery and the sensations of riding that I experience. That brings me into the moment, and I think helps me with my writing.
 

Taylor

Friends of WF
I believe it may be just a general fascination with people. I as a writer don't do this. I believe that it is because when I am in public, I generally try to be quick in public. Or that I am hanging out with friends or family and I am just too busy to worry about what other people around me. But I guess, in the very few times that I am in public alone I tend to listen to music. But sometime I do look around and see how people act in public. But I try not to look at people in specific, more about the scene, like I will go into a restaurant and try to write there, maybe just write a quick short story, make up some characters and get ideas.

This sounds like just random rambling. But these are my thoughts on the topic. Just try not to stare at people too long lmao, it tends to look weird. Not trying to insult you, but people just take things the wrong ways.

Wise advice...not insulted at all! But like most obsessions, I have learned how to do this without detection.

I like the idea of writing in a restaurant or public place. I hope to try that once the lock-down is over. So many luxuries we took for granted eh?
 

Easy-Eight

Senior Member
Wise advice...not insulted at all! But like most obsessions, I have learned how to do this without detection.

I like the idea of writing in a restaurant or public place. I hope to try that once the lock-down is over. So many luxuries we took for granted eh?

Agreed...the fact that I can't go out in public and write, or just go in public at all and really do anything is very disappointing. You are very right, we took it for granted and I think it is going to be a very long time before we get those luxuries back. :/
 

Taylor

Friends of WF
Agreed...the fact that I can't go out in public and write, or just go in public at all and really do anything is very disappointing. You are very right, we took it for granted and I think it is going to be a very long time before we get those luxuries back. :/

Agree! I wonder if any of the authors who write dystopian stories ever imagined this setting.
 

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