Unless you work as a tour guide for haunted houses, you're probably not intentionally giving folks the heebie jeebies. Some behaviors, however, are downright unnerving no matter how inadvertent they may be. If people step back in the elevator or give you side-eye on a regular basis and you don't know why, it could have to do with your quirks. As it turns out, there are quite a few surprising things you're doing that people find creepy, and you may not even be aware of them. The silver lining here is that arming yourself with knowledge is the first step to breaking off-putting habits.
There's an old saying about how one person's trash is another person's treasure. The same concept can be applied to how people perceive other's actions. It may be completely obvious to you that clipping your toenails should be done in the privacy of your own home, but someone else could think it's completely normal to do in public. That's why it can be a bit of a gray area when it comes to determining whether or not how you're behaving is disconcerting to others. If you're curious to see what kind of behavior is looked down upon socially, then check out these surprising things you're doing that people find creepy.
1. Talking To Strangers
"Sending unsolicited messages to strangers is creepy," Jonathan Bennett, certified counselor and owner of The Popular Man, tells Romper. "Looking up someone’s information and contacting that person is borderline stalking." It may be tempting to scroll through someone's Instagram for personal details, but random DMs can be off-putting. "You should talk in person, see if there is a connection, and then connect on social media," Bennett says.
2. Remembering Everything
"If you don't know someone very well, remembering details can be jarring," Jane Scudder, certified life coach and leadership consultant, tells Romper. "Acknowledge super power memory, like, 'I have really strong recall — sometimes it's actually a bit creepy,' then share a comment."
3. Wearing Sunglasses Indoors
Dr. Julie Gurner, clinical psychologist, tells Romper that this habit "violates social norms of being able to connect with others." She adds that it makes people think you're unpredictable and want to keep their distance.
4. Being Free With Your Body
"Anything having to do with the body can illicit strong feelings from outsiders," Dr. Ben Michaels, a clinical psychologist, tells Romper. "We naturally project our own feelings onto whatever they are doing, but again this depends on your socialization and culture of origin." So you might want to consider your environment or the type of people you're around to avoid coming off as creepy.
5. Staring For Too Long
"Staring at someone from afar might seem innocent, but can be quite creepy," Bennett tells Romper. "No one wants to be checked out by a stranger, especially for long periods of time." This can be a hard habit to break particularly if you're rarely aware you're even doing it. Instead of unintentionally creeping people out with your gaze, Bennett says you should, "read a book, play with your phone, or do something else to keep your eyes to yourself."
6. Tending To Hygiene In Public
"Body grooming and picking behaviors are something that a lot of people aren't even aware they do," Erin Wiley, a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, tells Romper. "Picking at your skin or scalp, biting cuticles or nails," Wiley says, can send shivers down people's spine.
7. Playing Detective
"Knowing and referencing things about them that they haven't told you is unsettling," Scudder tells Romper. If you do bring up personal info that you didn't hear from them directly, don't be surprised if they feel uncomfortable.