The Neutral Observer

Neutral Observer

Learning how to become a neutral observer is very important. When we have this skill in our toolbox we can easily shift our thinking and choose a perspective that better serves us.

Understanding: What is a neutral observer?

A neutral observer is someone who is not aligned with or supporting any side in an interaction/situation. They remain detached both from the situation and the outcome. Simply observing the interaction/situation as it is, without emotion. Viewing only a set of facts, without judgment allows them to be impartial. No one can be a neutral observer all the time. We all get caught up in our stories that we create. Realizing when we need to step out of story and into neutral observer is the key.

Historical and Hysterical:

When is it time to shift perspectives? Usually we can think about situations that seem to repeatedly come up for us. The fact they repeat and that we have an emotional response to the situation is an indicator that this is a patterned behavior. A behavior that repeats with a negative outcome or that has a negative impact on us as individuals, is a sign that says, look closer and evaluate. Becoming aware in the moment, that we are experiencing a behavior pattern is important.


Emotion is all about what we feel in response to a situation. It is also connected to thoughts and beliefs. Sometimes our thinking is flawed. We react rather than relate. If I believe you acted a certain way because you have a low opinion of me, I get defensive and angry. Further evaluation may say that I am not reacting to your low opinion of me, but my own low opinion of me. Removing emotion allows us to step back into a space where we can become neutral. In the heat of emotion this can be a challenge. I find that breathing exercises help. Taking a long breath in through the nose, then exhaling in a long paced way helps me relax and diffuse. I usually have to do this 3 times, if I’m really reacting more. With trial and error you can find a technique that works for you.

Enter Mr. Spock, just the facts:

Neutral observer territory is reached after you diffuse emotion and can be present. From here you can see all sides of the situation and each individual perspective. You can see the overview and decide if you want to continue in the role you created. Also you could review the situation and discover another point of view, or perhaps discover you are reacting not to this situation but an earlier one with someone else entirely. You will then know whether changing and shifting your own behavior benefits you. Is it time to move out of a behavior pattern?