It’s fascinating for me to sit either in the park, on a sidewalk or at a street restaurant to observe people who hurry past. It is interesting to observe how other people live and behave under different conditions. Observing is not about feeling superior to others or judging them or staring at them, but just let them be part of the flowing image. I have always said that in my next life I will be a psychologist.
I have travelled extensively both as a private person but also on business trips and while waiting for airports and train stations, I have always been fascinated by human interaction or non-interaction. As humans, we send signals to the outside who we want to be. We dress differently, have different accents, hairstyles, luggage, accessories, body language.
The first thing I generally notice about people is the clothes they’re wearing. Everyone who has on a piece of sportswear, whether they are on a team or not, sweatshirt, or backpack, is telling the world about the football team, college with which they identify. They don’t have to be from that place, but by dressing in this attire, they announce that this is the image they wish to convey.
Similarly, people wearing designer logos generally want to sends signals to the world that they want to appear affluent and fashionable. People also show their identity in the travel souvenirs they wear. When they decide to carry around tote bags that proclaim “Oslo”, “New York” or “London,” they communicate the message that they are world travellers, cosmopolitan, and sophisticated.
Tattoos are another clue to a person’s identity. Whether it’s a loved one whose memory they are honouring, the detachment they served with in the armed forces, or their motorcycle brand, a tattoo is a permanent alteration of the body to show what a person values.
Self-esteem. The way people carry themselves communicates the esteem with which they hold themselves. Good posture, with shoulders back and head held high, and walking with a confident stride communicate that people feel secure, strong, and pleased with themselves. They’ve got nothing to hide.
It’s possible, however, to go too far. People convey a sense of haughtiness when they hold their head so high that they look down on others. Conversely, people who slouch, shuffle their feet when they walk, and constantly peer over their shoulders are telling the world that they are beset with feelings of insecurity and self-doubt.
Going even further, a person’s narcissistic tendencies might be revealed by his or her apparent extreme attention to dress and grooming. From the tip of their perfectly-matched shoes to the top of their perfectly-coiffed hair, people who pay extreme attention to their appearance announce to the world that they consider themselves worth every minute of time they spend on looking good.
Peoples emotional state can also be viewd. One of the most important judgments we make about others, based on their appearance, is their emotional state. You can see this in their face, but if you’re not close enough to stare into their eyes, you can gauge their feelings from their stance, way of walking, and use of their hands.
People who are anxious tend to fidget, shrug their shoulders, and dart their head from side to side. They may tug at their purse or briefcase, or hold it in front of their bodies as a symbol that they seek to protect themselves from harm. Stress may lead people to show similar signs, but it in addition makes them appear as if they’re carrying the world’s problems on their backs, and their shoulders will sag accordingly. Their preoccupation may also carry over into their tendency to scrutinize their phones rather than the scenes unfolding around them.
People who are depressed may reveal this in a sad facial expression but again, if you’re not close enough to see, you can gauge this emotional state from a slowed-down pace of walking. When you’re depressed, you don’t feel like moving very quickly, and this is reflected in your gait. Conversely, people who are happy walk more briskly, maybe even with a little bit of a skip in their step.
The personality trait of agreeableness is associated with a general air of friendliness, warmth, and ability to roll with the punches. People high on this trait will express the consideration they afford to others through their nonverbal behaviour. They’ll hold the door open for you, allow you to pass in front of them whether on the elevator or the street, and just have a generally genial way of ambling around.
People who are extravert. Always ready to engage others, bored when alone, and seeking stimulation from their environment, extraverts can be spotted in any gathering as the ones who make eye contact or initiate conversation with all who pass near them. Rather than retreating into the corner, they know how to “work the crowd,” whether at a party or in a waiting room. You get the feeling that the extravert is always ready to shake someone’s hand, whether it’s offered to them or not.
The extravert might also be the kind who dresses in the brightest colours. Although people often have a “black” day in which they purposefully select clothes to match their moods, extraverts are more likely to wear their personality literally on their sleeve in intense hues that proclaim their presence to all.
These are my reflections on things, and it is not possible that my observations are correct. But this is how I see things from my world. We are all in our own world. There is no wrong or correct answer, just my personal observations. It’s not about judging others or considering others to be better or less good people. Thank goodness, for all of us are different, it would have been an incredibly boring world if everyone was completely alike.