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Watch and Learn

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Watch and Learn

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The smell of coffee beans envelops the senses of every student and businessperson scurrying in and out of the glass door. The shoulders of the stressed middle-aged man visibly relax when he’s hit with a wave of warm air as he walks into the cafe. I sit in the corner, in the seat that puts the entire cafe on display. 

A few sips of macchiato later, it becomes noticeable that people have similar mannerisms and forms of responding to the same situations. People-watching is the simplest way of getting a peek at the casual side of humanity that often goes unnoticed. It is therapeutic to observe the tendencies of those around me and use them to better myself, all while sipping a warm drink.

When I feel overwhelmed with my own life, I take time to get a glimpse at others’ lives, which I later realize are just as jumbled and fast-paced as mine. The cafe holds the perspectives of so many different kinds of people. From my table in the corner, I can see baristas behind the counter frantically eyeing the line of drinks they have to prepare. The woman who is running late tries her best to remain patient as she not-so-subtly checks the time every three seconds while waiting in line. A group of students sit at the table in the center of the establishment, attempting to study for an exam but failing since they are constantly distracted by each other’s company.

People-watching is important because it helps me develop empathy for humans I don’t formally know. By sitting back and observing how the woman who is already late responds in rage to receiving the incorrect drink order, I learn how to best react if I ever end up in that same situation. I also see the terrified look on the newly-hired barista’s face. Upon observing both reactions, I learn to take others into consideration before I respond.

People-watching is a short escape from my own problems that gives me the opportunity to grow within myself. As I become familiar with how people respond to certain moments, I feel myself growing more connected to the people around me, even if I may never bump into them again.

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