Tuesday, 24 March 2015

culled from:wikihow.com

If you ask several people what "being obscure" means, you may get a different answer from each of them. To some, "being obscure" may mean going through your daily life without calling any sort of attention to yourself. To others, "being obscure" may simply mean having obscure personal tastes in terms of art, music, and so on. Regardless of your definition of the word "obscure", with a few simple steps, making the jump to obscurity shouldn't be hard. See Step 1 below to start slipping out of the spotlight!

Method 1 of 3: Blending into the Crowd

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Match your behavior to others'. Perhaps the single best way to avoid attracting attention to yourself is to what everyone around you is doing. There is safety in numbers — if your behavior is indistinguishable from that of the people next to you, it's unlikely that you'll be singled out for any sort of special attention, especially if you're in a large group of people. If you're looking to blend into the crowd, start by examining the "crowd" around you. Ask yourself: What are the people around me doing right now? Are they talking to one another? If so, how friendly are they? How do they seem to be acting? The answers to these questions should help you match your behavior to those around you.
  • Obviously, this step is very context-dependent. While sitting quietly in the corner and reading a magazine may make you virtually unnoticeable in a crowded waiting room, it can get you noticed at a wild house party, so pay attention to your surroundings if you're looking to go undetected.
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    Look utterly ordinary. Even if you perfectly match your behavior and attitude to that of the people around you, you can still easily be noticed if you look a way that's not expected in whatever situation you're in. Some fashion choices, especially tattoos, are long-term, so there's not much you can do other than conceal them. However, the clothes you wear and (to a lesser extent) the way you wear your hair are under your control, so keep these things plain and ordinary if you're looking to go unnoticed.
    • Here's a sample "casual" look that shouldn't attract any attention in non-formal settings. Best of all, it's mostly unisex:
      • Jeans
        Plain hoodie
        Athletic shoes/sneakers
        Clean-cut haircut (for men), straight hair or in a bun (for women)
        Light makeup, minimal jewelry (for women)
    • Note that ideas for a wide variety of other cheap, unassuming outfits are available online on budget fashion blogs or simply via a search engine query.[1]
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    Keep your opinions to yourself. One sure-fire way to get noticed is to speak up when it's not necessary, so, if you're trying to blend into the crowd, you may want to try to "clam up" when your opinion isn't required. For interactions you do have to have with others, keep your responses polite and friendly, but brief and to-the-point. The more time you spend expounding on any topic, especially personal ones, the less anonymous you become.
    • Again, this advice is entirely context-dependent. While keeping completely silent may help you on the bus, it will probably call unnecessary attention to you if you do it when you're called to answer a question in class. "Keeping your opinions to yourself" also means knowing when saying nothing at all is more attention-grabbing than an ordinary response.
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    Don't look people in the eyes. Eye contact is a powerful social tool — it's a way to forge an instant connection with someone else without exchanging a single word, though some research in recent years has shown that it's not necessarily useful for getting people to like you or agree with you.[2] Regardless, if you're interested in remaining completely anonymous, you'll want to avoid other peoples' eye contact except in social situations that demand it. This means that when you're walking or driving outside the house, you should avoid meeting random peoples' gazes and that when you're in a situation where someone might talk to you, you'll want to avoid eye contact until conversation has started.
    • Some people who are naturally shy or socially awkward can have a difficult time maintaining eye contact in social situations. Because being unable to maintain any sort of eye contact can call as much attention to you as using too much eye contact, you may want to practice with a willing friend or even the TV or mirror if this is the case with you. Luckily, medical research suggests that practice can be effective for improving eye contact skills.[3]
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    Don't approach other people. This one is a no brainer — if you're trying to be a complete wallflower, don't approach other people and try to start conversations. If you're in a social situation and someone comes to you to start a conversation, you'll obviously want to respond with politeness and honesty, but don't start conversations with strangers you don't have to. Instead, try hanging back and talking with one of your friends or simply taking in your surroundings on your own.
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    Enjoy solitary or anonymous pursuits. As noted in the advice above, you'll go more unnoticed by strangers if you don't come into contact with them at all, so try to spend some of your free time doing things that don't require other people at all (or only require a few close friends). There are hundreds of fun, exciting things to do that you don't need anyone else for which can allow you to have a great time and grow as a person while ensuring you keep a low profile. Below are just a few ideas for fun solitary hobbies:
    • Learning to play an instrument or composing your own music
    • Reading
    • Working out (e.g. running, swimming, biking, lifting weights, etc.)
    • Studying a new skill
    • Exploring the wilderness/Geocaching (Note: always tell someone where you're going before venturing into the wilderness on your own)
    • Writing (e.g. short stories, blog posts, writing for user-supported websites, etc.)
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    Don't break the mold. This is the first commandment of wallflowers and people who don't want any unneeded attention. Avoid publicly going against the group you're with. Don't act ways that the people around you aren't acting. Don't dress, behave or speak in ways that aren't considered "ordinary". Don't question society or your role in it. If you do harbor any sorts of disagreements that challenge the status-quo, keep them to yourself to avoid the extra attention!
    • If it's not obvious, a life that's dedicated only to staying anonymous can be seriously lacking in opportunities for self expression. Try to keep things in perspective — the attention you get from challenging the status quo can be scary, but it's better than constantly being afraid of the consequences.

Method 2 of 3: Being Hard to Define

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    Be mysterious. If you're trying to be hard to pin down, nothing's more useful than cultivating a mysterious persona. Be a person of few words, but when you speak, make it count. Try to maintain a fairly deadpan personality, even when you're joking. Talk about things in broad strokes, but leave the details vague. Leave your motives up to others' imaginations. With luck (and a little practice), you'll leave others perplexed, but intrigued.
    • For example, let's compare a mysterious exchange to a non-mysterious one. Let's say an attractive person comes up to you and asks, "Hey, haven't I seen you at that bookstore around here?" An ordinary response might be, "Yeah! I go there every weekend. They have a great selection. What's your name?" This is a perfectly fine, friendly response, but we can be more mysterious if we say something like, "Mmm. Dostoevsky's brilliant, isn't he?" This makes your answer a little less cut-and-dry and gives your partner a few more follow-up questions.
    • There are tons of resources online for how to be mysterious. Often, these are dating guides written for a male audience, but there are numerous resources for women as well.[4]
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    Be unpredictable. If no one's confident that they can predict what you're going to do next, they won't be able to define you or pin you down. Keep people on their toes by doing whatever strikes your fancy at any given time. Are you out on a date? Pop into a new hole-in-the-wall joint you've never been to. Are you stuck in an airport terminal? Take out your guitar and start a sing-along with the people around you. Starting to follow some of your wilder impulses can help you make yourself completely undefinable to other people.
    • With unpredictability comes risk, however. The hole-in-the-wall joint that you visit on a whim may end up being disgusting, while the people you try to get to join you in a sing-along may give you the cold shoulder. As we'll see below, keeping a cool head and remaining indifferent to others' opinions and expectations of you can help you deal with the occasional failure.
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    Don't care about other people's opinions. When people start to care about what other people think of them, they become predictable, and when people become predictable, they're not mysterious anymore. Keeping a high opinion of yourself (even when those with poor taste may not) is crucial for achieving the sort of mysterious, hard to pin down persona that can be so desirable. Don't work for anyone's approval but your own.
    • Learning how to not care what others think of you is one of the most common topics when it comes to online self-improvement resources. Many sites offer gentle, introspective advice (like this one), while others take a more practical, down-to-earth approach (like this one). Choose a resource that fits your needs and personality.
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    Pursue varied interests. Maintaining a wide range of hobbies and interests isn't just a way to keep your life varied and interesting — it's also a way to keep people guessing about you. Keeping your interests diverse helps ensure that people always have something to ask you, which can help you seem exotic and exciting. Try to indulge many different passions in your free time. For instance, on a given weekend, for Friday evening, you may play pickup basketball at the park, while on Saturday, you may study Old English literature. Finally, for Sunday, you may spend time writing on your blog.
    • Note, however, that doing something different every time you get some free time means it can be hard to develop skills (like, for instance, playing an instrument) that require steady, consistent practice. Because of this, you may want to devote a little time to the same long-term skills consistently even as you keep the rest of your interests varied.
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    Be coy about personal details. If you're looking to be hard to define, never reveal too much about yourself. Think of Bond (James Bond) — when people ask him about himself, he always lets them know just as much as they need to, but never too much. Making sure not to volunteer too much information about yourself at any one time can make you absolutely irresistible to the people you talk to. If you tease them with short, sly answers about yourself, they'll naturally want to know more, and, before they know it, they'll be hooked on your every word.
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    Stay calm. Keeping your cool is an essential skill when it comes to being hard to define. Being mysterious, unpredictable, and guarded generally comes across well if you're pleasantly calm and collected, but not if you lose your cool. If, for instance, you become nervous, frustrated, or coldly dismissive when people ask you about yourself, you may get a reputation for being hard to get to know, but you won't be the smooth, desirable, hard to pin down type that you might have been if you had applied your moves correctly. So, try to remain relaxed and lucid whenever you're in a social situation — if you do so, you'll eventually become the (dark, quiet, and obscure) life of the party. Below are just a few techniques that may be helpful for relaxing before social situations:
    • Personal meditation
    • Getting plenty of sleep
    • Relaxing breathing techniques
    • Ensuring you have time to "cool down" after draining activities
    • Exercising
    • Spending time alone (e.g. reading, watching a movie, browsing the internet, etc.)

Method 3 of 3: Having Obscure Tastes

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    Listen to obscure music. The mark of a too-cool-for-school hipster with fashionably obscure tastes is the music he listens to. Keeping your personal playlists packed with little-known bands, niche genres, and rare recordings is a must if you're looking to gain a reputation as someone with a knack for the obscure. Try to listen to bands and artists that the people you know are unfamiliar with — the smaller and less well-known the act, the better.
    • You don't have to download un-listenable amateur garbage to get a taste for obscure music. If you're trying to transition from mainstream music to more obscure artists, start by browsing the latest reviews at online sites associated with "hipsterdom", like Pitchfork.com, Avclub.com, and independent music blogs to get ahead of the curve when it comes to good obscure music.
    • For bonus hipster points, try to get the albums of your favorite obscure bands and artists on vinyl.
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    Watch obscure movies. Another way to show that you have a taste for the obscure is to develop a love for little-known cinematic gems. For instance, hosting a screening of the latest release from your favorite indie director or introducing your friends to under-appreciated cult classics can give you a reputation as a connoisseur of the obscure. Having this interest also gives you something to talk about with others, since almost everyone likes movies (think along these lines: "Hey, you like Tarantino? You'd love Sergio Corbucci's The Great Silence).
    • Unfortunately, indie and arthouse films usually don't have big advertising budgets, so if you're not looking for them, they can complete their theatrical runs before you're even aware of them. Try subscribing to the email newsletter at a local arthouse theater or browsing online movie review sites with an indie focus (like, for instance, Thedissolve.com) to stay abreast of the latest in obscure cinema.
    • You may also want to try attending film festivals. Small indie films are often screened at festivals before they are picked up for wide distribution. Additionally, some films from particularly unknown directors only make it to the festival circuit, which means that sometimes festivals are the only place to learn about and watch certain films. Try searching an online festival directory (like this one) to find a festival near you.
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    Read obscure literature. Books seldom offer the instant gratification of music or movies, but, for many, they give the sort of long-lasting impact for which there is no substitute. Reading books that few people have heard of can give you a distinguished, scholarly mystique that you simply can't get by consuming obscure books and music. If you don't currently read for pleasure (and, today, many people do not[5]), try to get through a few good, obscure books per year. You'll develop a rewarding new habit and impress people with your eclectic tastes.
    • To learn about obscure books, try browsing a literature discussion site (like, for instance, Goodreads.com). At these types of sites, you'll usually find reviews, recommendations, and, often, a "New Releases" section (or equivalent) that can point you to the latest and greatest reads.
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    Enjoy obscure food. Preparing food is an art form that almost everyone participates in in some form or another. By developing an appreciation for food that's out of the ordinary and eventually learning how to make this type of food, you won't just impress others with your obscure tastes — you'll also gain a skill that will make your meals much more enjoyable and allow you to entertain others. If you're not sure how to start, try looking up recipes belonging to your favorite categories of ethnic cuisine online (for instance, Italian, Japanese, Ethiopian, Middle Eastern, etc.). Eventually, try to transition to categories of food you aren't familiar with. Be adventurous! The only way to learn is to practice.
    • You don't have to break the bank to cook great-tasting meals. Try browsing through the recipes at a low-budget cooking site (like this one) to get ideas for delicious, nutritious recipes that make a great addition to any diet at a fraction of the cost of fancier meals.
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    Dress in obscure fashions. There's no denying it: By and large, people are shallow. Before anyone even has a chance to talk to you, they'll probably judge you by the way you appear (even if this judgement is minor or eventually discarded after they get to know you). To broadcast the fact that you have obscure tastes to everyone who may see you, try dressing with unconventional style. For instance, you may want to go for a vintage look, wearing clothing that was once the cutting edge of fashion but now gives a retro vibe. Or, you may want to go for an avant-garde look, combining patterns and styles in ways that haven't been done before. Be creative — your style is uniquely yours, so own it and enjoy challenging the conventional tastes of ordinary people.
    • As above, you don't have to spend lots of money to have great style. If you're looking to update your wardrobe for cheap, try shopping at your local thrift store. These types of stores often have old, out-of-fashion clothing available for a fraction of the price of new styles (though you may need to do some digging to find something wearable).
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    Have obscure friends. To a certain extent, everyone is influenced by the people they hang out with. Other people can inform our opinions, give us new perspectives, and introduce us to people and things we might not otherwise have encountered. Similarly, people are often judged by the company they keep. If you're extra-serious about being seen as having obscure tastes, try to hang out with uncommon types of people. People who see you with your "obscure" friends will mentally associate you with them, allowing you to project the image of belonging to a delightfully idiosyncratic group of people.
    • The places where you're likely to meet people with obscure tastes are the same places where you can find the obscure music, films, books, and so on described above. In other words, try to frequent concerts for up-and-coming indie artists, local film festivals, independent bookstores, non-chain ethnic restaurants, and similar venues for all things "obscure".


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