How to Become Invisible: A Guide to Hiding in Plain Sight
Little known fact: I am exceedingly good at hiding. I am so good at hiding that I have passed family members by in the street and have literally waved at them, and they have not recognized me. I am so exceedingly talented that even my own mother has not recognized me in actual video footage with only me in the shot, in clear view, speaking and moving. Feel free to let your jaw drop. I'll wait.
Here's the thing—I am by no means talented or shifty or inconspicuous. I'm actually pretty tall, awkward, and loud. This leads me to believe that if I can hide in plain sight, anyone can! Yep, that's right. I'm going to take a second to climb down from my high horse to teach you how to become invisible.
After reading this, you'll have all the skills and know-how necessary to navigate in public undetected. And believe me, you'll find many situations in which these skills come in handy, whether you're out on the streets and on the lamb or in the company parking lot trying to avoid Derk Lamb from Sales.
Hiding in Plain Sight
Becoming invisible does not entail special technology, magical cloaks, or crazy ninja moves. You can become invisible in everyday clothes, walking around like an entirely normal human being. All it takes is a little bit of foresight.
Confused? Don't be. Consider the vast majority of your acquaintances. What is the first thing that you notice about them? Their hair? Their outfits? Their crazy glasses?
If these distinguishing characteristics were to change, do you think you would still recognize these people? Probably not.
The key to becoming invisible, then, is to disassociate yourself from your distinguishing characteristics. You might think this is impossible—that you can't get rid of your oddly pinkish skin or your strange nose or your super blue eyes. This (without some extra effort) may be true. But you don't have to change those things to hide in plain sight. All you have to do make sure that you become identified by other characteristics!
Let us explore an example. I'll go with myself since, obviously, the world revolves around me.
Over the years, I have made a point of always wearing skirts, boots, and big bows in my hair. Folks will give me a hard time when I don't wear bows—they've come to expect it. If I were to dress more varyingly, I might be remembered more for my hair color or gait or height, but because I make it so easy for others to identify me by my funny outfits, their minds have been trained to look for those and not the girl beneath them.
For this reason, I can pretty much hide in plain sight when I leave the bows at home and wear a shirt, sneakers, and jeans.
It's that simple. All you have to do is:
- Establish a distinct visual feature that sets you aside from other people
- Display that distinct feature with extreme consistency
- Remove that feature when you don't want to be recognized
While clothing is the easiest means by which you can create a decoy distinguishing characteristic, you may also utilize a distinct hairstyle.
Additional Helpful Tips
This particular technique for becoming invisible only works if you do a very good job at training others to recognize you based on controllable attributes, and does not work for all people (some people, for example, tend to always recognize others from faces, gait, or voice- not obvious things like hair and clothing). Also, if the decoy characteristic you assume resembles characteristics of many other people you know, it will be pretty much useless, as folks only rely on the things that make you look different when they develop their internal methods of recognizing you.
If you find yourself in a situation in which you need to immediately pass others unrecognized, there are, of course, some other simple and quick tricks you can employ. These include:
- Removing/putting on an atypical jacket/pair of sunglasses
- Putting on a hat that covers your hair and head
- Putting a couple of pebbles in your shoes to change your gait
- Not sneaking around like you're trying to hide
- Sticking to large crowds
- Avoiding eye contact
If you have any other quick fixes or excellent methods of concealment you'd like to share, be sure to bring them up in the comments!
Good luck hiding!