I'm not advocating snooping through people's emails or phones or rifling through their underwear drawers (that would be creepy and wrong on so many levels and could end in quickly severed friendships or even divorce courts) but eavesdropping on a conversation between two teenagers on the bus home will probably give you a lot of valuable insight into how teenagers think and talk these days - not so different from when I was a teenager not that long ago (ahem) but if you want to make your dialogue real, then an eavesdropper you must become.
There are several ways you can do this with stealth.
- Put earphones in but don't play any music. Even really quietly. You will get distracted and start singing along in your head (or aloud which will really blow your cover. Stealth, remember).
- Pretend to read a book but remember to turn the pages sometimes.
- Even better, read a kindle. Nobody will know you're getting nowhere with 'Fifty Shades of Grey'.
- Pretend to be reading emails on your phone. As with the music, don't actually read them. Just stare intently at your phone and occasionally swipe your finger across the screen.
- Most importantly, get your poker face on. Smirking when one of your conversationalists says something amusing will be a dead giveaway.
These are the ones I really liked; some are writing blogs, some are food blogs and one of them is the website of a very talented sculptor.