When I started my journey into submission, my perceptions of what a submissive was were very shallow and incomplete. I believed being submissive was a passive personality trait, and it didn't require much 'work.' That passivity encouraged the laziness I had fostered in my previous marriage. Now, I'm far more aware that a submissive is an active participant, and we have much to do even when the Dominant isn't around!

One of the best skills a submissive can learn is good observation.

Observation can also be neglected in your every day and work life. Understanding it requires you to reteach your mind, eyes, focus, and attention. It's so worth it. Once you start seeing everything, you'll know what needs to be done before your Dominant can offer your services at the right time and in the proper manner and excel at being submissive.

I'm still learning to perfect my observation techniques, and you can ask KnyghtMare that I still fail in some basic areas, but I'm learning and improving daily. I'd like to share with you what I've learned as I work to change my behavior and become more aware of what's around me and what my observation skills can do for me. One day, I'll remember to get his coffee within 5 minutes of the coffee pot completing its cycle instead of getting sidetracked (focus!) for 30 minutes.

Benefits of Good Observation Skills

Developing good observation skills as a submissive is very valuable. Unfortunately, we are so engrossed in the web of our hectic schedules and digital devices that we all fail to see and appreciate the beauty and lessons our exterior surroundings offer. We have lost touch with any external observations. How often have you laughed at videos of people so engrossed in their phones that they don’t see the tree they walked into, the puddle they stepped in, or worse, they cause an accident? We’re losing awareness of everything around us, and it’s not healthy. As submissives, we need to learn that everything we see around us can be a chance to serve or at least a lesson in observation. By analyzing your surroundings, you are more open to observing the triggers in the people around you. You will be amazed to see how this was always in your hands - whether you want to evoke smiles or irritate someone. Once you observe what annoys someone or makes them happy, establishing a healthy relationship with your partner becomes as easy as breathing. You’ll be able to avoid the negative triggers your partner has and amplify the positive changes in your surroundings to your benefit.

Not only do observation skills help submissives prevent conflicts, but they also improve overall efficiency and productivity in everyday life. This is because the more keenly you observe yourself and your surroundings, the more you understand where gaps exist and how those gaps need to be filled. This practice in D/s relationships is called anticipatory service. Being aware of changes in the environment and adjusting your actions means you’ll be able to react faster to shifts in your Dominant’s needs and fulfill requests more efficiently. You’ll notice that their cup is empty and offer to fill it, or they don’t have their favorite slippers nearby, and it’s getting chilly, so you offer to get them. When you’re hyper-focused on observing, you will see them look at you with sexual intent, and you can respond before they say a word.

Once you begin observing people and their responses, it also enables you to become a better communicator, enabling you to structure your message better so that it establishes a connection with the listener. Active listening is a great skill to have. When you can dedicate your focus to the person speaking, you comprehend their message better and respond in an appropriate and thoughtful manner. A person’s body language can express mood, intent, and the current emotional state of the person speaking and could change how you interpret their words.

Take a moment and think about how good observation skills can improve your submission to your partner. What benefits does it give you?

Behaviors and Habits to Improve Observation Skills

When you want to improve your observation skills, there are a few ways to go about it. Anytime you work to instill new habits, it will take time, patience, practice, and consistency. Try these exercises to boost your observation skills.

People Watching

People-watching should come easily to many of us in a world where people compare themselves to their neighbors. I enjoy sitting somewhere in public where there will be many people and just watching them. I'll observe how they walk, carry their bags, facial features and ticks, and interact with others in their group. I also like to try and figure out what mood they are in and how that mood presents itself physically in their body. Other people have an attitude that you can identify. Watching people is quite informational.

This exercise can also be done when you are alone with your Dominant. Try sitting quietly and discretely watching them. Do they have any nervous ticks like tapping fingers on knees or twitchy feet? Notice their preferred way to sit, dress, and wear their hair. When eating, do they hold their utensils a certain way? The order in which they eat could be interesting too. Do they eat in a specific order, mix everything together, or keep it all separate? Does your Dominant prefer to have their drink filled before it's empty?

These are small observations that could help you in your service to them. Keep them locked away in your mind so that you can pay attention to their needs before they know they need them. If remembering your partner’s preferences is difficult, try creating a journal for your submissive development. You can create a page of everything you observe, from what your Dominant does when stressed or nervous to how they like their beverages served. Remember to frequently review any pages you make so the information sticks with you.

Listening Skills

I can not tell you how hard this one is for me. I'm one of those people who formulate my answers while someone is talking, thus missing half the conversation and then interrupting. It's horrible, and I am working on it daily to change how I communicate.

What you need to learn, that I'm still learning, is that you need help to think about what you will say while someone is talking. You need to take as much effort in listening as you do in talking. The person's words are valuable, and you could miss an important piece of information while your mind tries to form a response to something they just said. Their body language, also known as non-verbal communication, is important because it can convey meaning, mood, and intention that words alone can’t. Wait until they are finished speaking, summarize what they said to help your listening, and then respond.

Willingness to Set Aside Personal Biases

If being judgmental and stereotyping are common around you, it's time to let them go. We all hold our subjective worldviews and are influenced and shaped by our experiences, beliefs, values, education, family, friends, peers, and others. Developing your observation skills requires allowing each situation to be observed without bias or whether you like or dislike someone or something. Carrying these opinions can cloud your more accurate observations.

Consider the following practical tips:​

  1. Test yourself. Several psychometric tests include the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the Big Five, the Predictive Index, and the Strengths Finder. These tests help you understand how you perceive people and situations.
  2. Pause and reflect. Study yourself and your reactions. How do you react to change? What do you feel when something doesn't go how you expected it to? Take notes.
  3. Expand your horizons. Proactively seek new experiences to discover more about yourself and your reactions to unfamiliar situations.
  4. Learn to know yourself. This may be the most challenging, but find time for solitude and to relax. What you learn about yourself is impressive when you sit with your thoughts. Meditate. (Start with a simple breathing exercise. Close your eyes, inhale through your nose for four counts, and exhale through your nose for four counts. Repeat for ten rounds.)


Accurately knowing your behaviors, attitudes, and personal skills and how they impact others is a massive part of your observation skills growth. How you respond, react, and interpret other people's actions can affect how you anticipate service with your Dominant. Personal growth and development are the most important gifts you can give yourself. Start by observing yourself in all activities in your everyday life.

Lastly, I'd like to discuss what to do with these observations you may have picked up about your Dominant. For example, when you know they'd like their drink filled, you can carry out this task (or just ask them if they would like...) before they ask you. Are they on the phone with an important person? Provide them with a pen and paper for notes. Show them that you are paying attention. If they love to watch basketball, study and learn about their favorite team/players. While you may not like basketball, just being able to talk about it with you shows your observation skills and dedication to your partner.

Start observing. It requires no extra equipment, only your time. We can learn this together and, through personal growth, become better, more active submissives for our partners.