How to Spy on People–Part 1

Spying can help you uncover the deepest, darkest secrets of the people around you, whether they are strangers or your older sister. If you want to be a true spy, then you have to know how to remain undetected — along with learning many clever tricks of the trade. You can spy on people by hiding in the right places, or even remain hidden in plain sight. If you want to know how to spy on people in any situation, tip-toe over to Step 1 to get started.

Mastering the Basics

  1. Always act casual. Whether you’re spying on someone in your home or spying on a person at the mall, the most important thing is to be as cool as a cucumber. If you’re dressed up a ridiculous disguise, act super nervous, or make it really obvious that you’re trying to spy by tripping, carrying colorful equipment, or generally drawing attention to yourself, then you’ll be caught within seconds. If you want to spy on people, you have to know how to act cool, like you’re just minding your own business — instead of devising a scheme to find out what people are really up to.

    • Part of acting casual comes from your body language. Don’t stand up too tall but hunch over just enough to look relaxed, don’t fidget too much, and keep your eyes looking ahead instead of looking down at the floor. If you come off as too nervous, people will instantly notice you.
    • Don’t act like you’re loitering around, looking up and down, or searching for something. This will make it pretty obvious what you’re there for. Just act cool, like you’re taking your time waiting for someone, enjoying a spring day, or just wrapped up in your own thoughts.
    • If the person you’re spying on sees you, act like it’s no big deal. Say hi or just nod and smile if you don’t know the person. If you run off or look jittery, that will definitely clue the person in on the fact that something is up.
  2. Have an excuse if you get caught. This is an important part of being a master spy. Though if you’re good at what you do, you’ll never get caught, you have to be prepared for whatever may come your way, and unfortunately, one of those things is being found out. So, before you go on your next spy mission, you have to come up with a likely story for why you’re spying, or you’ll be caught red-handed. Here are some ideas:

    • If you’re at home spying on a parent or sibling, come up with an idea for why you’re in that closet, at the edge of that doorway, or creeping up in the same room as the person. Maybe you’re crouched down on the floor because you’ve lost an earring (bonus points if you’re wearing just one earring), or because you’re searching for something else. Maybe you’re in the basement because you’re folding your laundry. Find a reason for whatever it is you’re doing and why you’re there.
    • If you’re out in public spying on someone, just come up with a reason for being in the same place. If the person catches you spying on him at Macy’s, mention that you’re there to pick up a Mother’s Day gift for your mom. If you’re caught spying at the movies, produce two tickets and say you’re waiting for a friend who never showed up. The more normal and boring your excuse is, the better.
  3. Walk softly. This is another must for a true spy. If you’re going to spy on someone, then you can’t go clomping around in work boots or high heels. Pick shoes that have rubber soles and are light and quiet, such as TOMS, light sandals, or even Ugg boots, which tend not to make a sound. Test the shoes out before you use them for a spy mission. If you’re at home, of course, then bare feet should work best.

    • Beyond the shoes, you also have to practice not making a lot of sound when you walk. Tread lightly, walking on your toes, trying to make as little noise as possible.
    Learn from the experts. You can learn a lot from reading books or watching movies about people who are professional spies, or who involve some spying into their everyday lives. You can get some great ideas about which techniques work best and which should be avoided. Here are some great sources of inspiration:

  4. Practice before your first mission. Once you have a target in mind and a spy plan on your docket, it’s best to get some practice before you do the real thing. You can practice spying on one of your friends instead of your target to see if you’ll get caught. You can spy on your mom instead of your sister for a bit just to see if it’ll work. If you get caught, you can ask yourself what you can do better to avoid getting caught the next time.

    • It’s important to know your strengths and weaknesses as a spy, and to adjust your first mission accordingly based on what you learned from your practice session.
  5. Learn to blend in. The key to being a spy is to blend into to your surroundings as much as you can. This doesn’t mean you should camouflage yourself like Peeta in The Hunger Games, but that you should make sure you’re as inconspicuous as possible in any setting. Don’t do anything that will set you apart from other people. If you’re at a football game, wear fan gear like everyone else — you’ll stand out much more if you’re wearing black. Pick clothes that make you fit in to the environment, instead of investing in fancy spy gear that puts a big bullseye on your back.

    • It’s important to not only look like everyone else around you, but to do what everyone else is doing. If you’re in a bookstore, act like you’re searching for a book or engrossed in one. If you’re at an ice cream shop, you’ll look pretty weird if you’re not enjoying or buying your own cone of ice cream.
    • If you’re spying from home, then wear what you normally wear so your family members or neighbors don’t suspect that something is different about you. If you can minimize the sound your clothes make, that would be helpful, but beyond that, don’t mix it up too much.
  6. Always carry a notebook and pen. Harriet the Spy knew what she was doing. If you really want to be able to spy on people and to discover all of the secrets of the loved ones and strangers around you, then carrying a notebook around is an absolute must. You should notice everything you hear and see and jot it down. It may not make much sense to you or seem too important yet, but later, you may realize that you were on your way to finding a huge piece of the puzzle.

    • Write down the date and time, and jot down everything the person is doing.
    • To make the notebook look uninteresting, write “MATH” or the name of another school subject on it in big letters. Who would want to open that?
    • Disguise your handwriting as much as you can. If someone finds your notebook, you want to make sure they can’t trace it back to you. Write in tiny letters if you normally write with large letters, make your writing slanted in a different direction, dot your i’s if you don’t normally do that, and so on.
    • Don’t refer to the person you’re spying on by his or her real name. Use a code name.
    • You can carry a small pocket-sized pad if you think it’ll make you look too obvious.
  7. Consider getting a partner in crime. Though you can definitely spy on people on your own, having a partner can help you get some important information you might not have discovered by yourself. Your partner can help you try new techniques, can be useful if you have a walkie-talkie thing going, and can be a huge help if the person you’re spying on knows you but has never seen your partner before. The most important thing, though, is that your partner is someone you can really trust. You don’t want someone else blowing your cover.

    • Having a partner can help you up your game because the person can pose as a door-to-door salesman, lost citizen, or another random person who can get the person’s attention while you continue your sleuthing.

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