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Why do people stare at me? 15 surprising reasons

Do you frequently glance around the room, only to be met by people staring right at you?

For no reason at all.

For a brief moment, you wonder if you have make-up smeared down your face, or if there is something stuck in between your teeth.

But then it happens again and again. Far too often to be a coincidence.

Everywhere you look, there seems to be people staring directly back at you.

It’s uncomfortable, to say the least.

But the bigger question is: why are they doing it? Why are people staring at you in the first place?

Before you go frantically trying to pick out that (non-existent) piece of food from your teeth, check out these ACTUAL reasons people stare at you.

1) You’re beautiful

If you haven’t considered this one before, it should be at the top of your list. It’s probably the best reason to be stared at if you ask me!

Consider whether or not you have any striking features.

You might have grown used to them (looking in a mirror each and every day), but for passers-by, it’s entirely new to them. They can’t help but look. You’re simply beautiful.

My one-year-old son has huge eyes. Not just big, but huge and they pop out of his head. They’re also gorgeous.

When we go out and about, people can’t help but comment on them. We’re used to them in our family, and it’s not until we come into contact with others, that we remember his eyes are usual. They’re different. They’re beautiful.

The difference is, people are less likely to approach an adult to comment on their beauty. With kids, it’s a completely different story.

So, while people aren’t telling you that your hair, eyes, eyelashes, face, etc, is beautiful, they are doing it by staring.

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Whether they caught a glimpse of you as you walked into the room, or locked onto your features and couldn’t turn away. Their eyes want to keep on looking.

2) They’re trying to read you

Are you the quiet type? Happy to slink to the back of the crowd and go unnoticed if possible?

This could, in fact, actually be drawing more attention to you.

A new study by the University of London’s Hannah Scott and colleagues (2018) is based on the idea that people stare, because “faces, and in particular, the eyes, provide lots of useful non-verbal information about a person’s mental state.”

If you’re not the type to speak up in a crowd, then your friends and family might frequently check in by staring at you to make sure you’re OK.

It’s their way of talking to you, without trying to get you to open up with them.

A group of strangers might do the same. It’s their way of reading the room and trying to gauge what everyone is thinking.

We often call it “people watching”.

If you often find people are staring at you (not just friends and family), then it may suggest you have one of those faces people can’t work out.

They are staring to try and read as much as possible into it.

3) You’re confident

On the flip side, people might be staring at you because you exude confidence.

You can walk into a room, and without saying a word, all eyes turn.

They are feeding off your self-confidence, which is shown in the way you walk into a room and the way you hold yourself.

Many people don’t even realise they are doing it.

But it attracts the attention of those around you and they can’t help but stare.

They’re likely sizing you up.

They want to know what you have that they don’t.

They want to know how they can exude the same level of confidence themselves.

4) Your hair is pink

OK, so maybe this one is a stretch, but consider whether there is anything unusual about you.

Think about:

  • The colour of your hair?
  • Your body piercings?
  • Tattoos?
  • Make-up?
  • Clothes?

While all this is familiar and normal for you – and perhaps your friends and family too – it won’t be to strangers.

You may have simply forgotten that rainbow coloured hair isn’t the norm. Or those tattoos you have had for years are actually quite out there and different from anything else. People can’t help but stare when they spot something different.

Glance at yourself in the mirror. Do you see anything that others might find unusual (even if you don’t)?

5) You dress well

The way we look and present ourselves each and every day can actually be a head-turner.

If you’ve invested a fair amount of time into your wardrobe, hair, make-up, and styling, then there’s a good chance that people are staring at you because they’ve noticed it.

Put simply, you look fabulous and you’re turning heads.

Once again, because you dress this way each and every day and aren’t doing anything differently, it may not cross your mind that you do dress and present yourself better than most other people out there.

What’s the norm for you, isn’t the norm for everyone else.

Embrace it and love it. You clearly look amazing and people can’t help but admire you on a daily basis.

6) You’re recognisable

Do people often tell you that you remind them of someone, but they don’t know who?

You might simply have one of those faces.

Whether you look like a well-known celebrity, so much so that people have to do a double-take.

Or simply have one of those faces that people seem to think reminds them of someone else.

If people notice something in you, then they’re going to stare until they work it out.

They are essentially trying to place you, and often don’t even realise they are doing it.

People get lost in their own thoughts, trying to work out if they know you, or you simply remind them of someone. And if so, who!

Trust me, we’ve all been there before trying to work this out for ourselves and there is nothing more frustrating than not being able to pinpoint it.

They are so caught up in their own thoughts, they wouldn’t even know they are staring.

7) They’re attracted to you

Do you believe in auras? Now might be the time to take a look into it.

According to spiritual beliefs, an aura is an invisible energy field that surrounds your body.

Everyone gives off an aura.

There’s just a good chance yours is shining a little brighter than others around you. You’re attracting people to you through your aura and they can’t help but stare in the process.

An aura isn’t usually something you see.

It’s something that you feel.

It’s possible that when you walk into a room, everyone feels compelled to stop what they are doing and to look over at you due to the feeling being elicited from your aura.

Take it as good news. You’re putting out positive energy into the world and are attracting people to you as a result. They can’t help but stare.

8) You draw attention to yourself

Are you loud? Assertive? Boisterous? Not afraid of making a scene?

If you’re the type of person to walk into a meeting and interrupt everyone in the room, then there’s a good chance that you have a loud personality.

People tend to stare at those with a loud personality.

In all likelihood, the things you do and say are making other people uncomfortable. They’re not as confident in themselves, and end up staring at you as a result.

Whether or not you consider yourself to be making a scene, other people around you might see it that way.

Next time you’re out and about and notice people staring at you, think about what you were doing right before they started staring.

It might surprise you!

9) They’re bored

Have you ever found yourself so bored that you just zone out in the moment and stare at everyone else around you?

Surely, you’ve experienced this before.

If not, next time you notice people staring at you, consider where you are:

  • Doctor’s surgery?
  • Grocery checkout?
  • Bank?

All these places have one thing in common: they require waiting around for a while.

For some people, it’s much more entertaining to pass the time by watching those around them.

They might not even be aware they’re staring. They could simply be lost in their thoughts in the midst of boredom and have accidentally locked eyes with you in the process.

Staring when bored is completely normal.

And there’s a good chance it’s not just you they’re staring at.

They could simply be trying to place everyone in the room and work out their story: single? Married? Kids? The list is endless.

In this case, it’s not you, it’s them. And it’s a fairly common way for people to pass the time. Perhaps you’re only noticing the staring because you’re not one to do it!

10) They’re trying to catch your attention

Eye contact is often used as a method of communication.

You may just be one of those people that needs to be prompted a lot more often than others.

When are you noticing that people are staring at you? Is it in the middle of a corporate meeting when it’s your turn to speak?

Is it with a group of friends when another friend is trying to let you know something?

Is it at the doctor’s when someone is trying to let you know that it’s your turn to go in?

You may not have recognised it at the moment, but there could have been a very good reason someone was staring at you.

There’s a good chance they were trying to tell you something.

Instead of racking your brain back to all those times someone stared at you, just keep an eye out (pun intended) going forward.

Next time you notice someone staring at you, question what it is they could be trying to tell you.

11) You’re dressed inappropriately

It may not be that you’re the most stylish one in the room. Instead, you could be completely out of place thanks to the way you are dressed.

This is enough to get anyone’s attention.

Do you wear thongs and mini dresses almost every day? While this get-up is perfect for plenty of circumstances, they are going to have you standing out in the office or at a fancy restaurant.

On the flip side, are you the type to dress really well each and every day? While this is perfect for office and fancy dinner, it doesn’t blend so well with a trip to the beach or the park.

If you have a very unique fashion sense that you don’t tend to mix up a lot (ie, formal and non-formal), then it’s a good chance that people are staring at you because you’re simply out of place.

While the way you dress is a great way of expressing yourself, it’s worth considering whether or not it’s appropriate for every single situation.

If you feel it is, then own it. Ignore everyone who can’t help but stare at you and know that you’re being true to yourself, which is most important.

12) They’re judging you

Why is it that most people feel the need to judge?

It’s crazy to think that as a society, we get so wrapped up in the induvial lives of others, that we can’t help but stare when something seems out of place.

So, we stare, and we judge.

Consider whether there’s something about you that seems out of place.

  • Do you have lots of tattoos?
  • Are you a young mum?
  • Are you obese?
  • Do you swear a lot?
  • Do you have LOTS of children?

These are all things people might notice about you in passing and then judge you for. It says a lot more about them than it does about you.

If you can pinpoint a reason people might want to judge you, then you might have your answer. While you might not think others have picked up on it, people tend to be a lot more perceptive than you think. And nosey. They want to involve themselves in the lives of others, even if just from afar.

The best thing you can do? Hold your head up high and walk on past without even acknowledging them. Your decisions in life have nothing to do with them and they have no right to judge you for them.

13) You stare first

Consider this, perhaps other people are staring at you because you stared at them first?

You might not even realise that you’re doing it.

You might simply be one of those people who just zones out and ends up staring at people absent-mindedly and then when you come back to it, you find that they are staring at you.

They caught you staring at them and responded by staring straight back at you, then only thing is, you didn’t even realise you were doing it! Crazy, right?

Next time you’re out and about and in a crowded place, try and be mindful of where your eyes are wandering off to.

You might find that it was you all along who instigated the staring, and nothing to do with the way you look or are acting.

14) You’re simply in their way

Another reason people stare is because they’re actually looking at something. And there’s a good chance it’s not you!

Perhaps there is a screen behind you that you’re blocking?

Maybe you’re standing in front of something very scenic people are trying to look at?

You could simply just be in the way of something beyond you.

Consider this, are you a particularly tall person? This is definitely more a tell-person problem!

You stand up and find yourself in someone’s way, simply due to your height.

People aren’t staring at you on purpose. They are actually trying to stare past you to something going on beyond.

There’s not much you can do, since side-stepping will likely put you in the way of someone else’s view.

If you find yourself in a crowd, always try and veer to the back in the hope that you aren’t blocking other people in front of you.

Failing that, just accept that you can’t do anything about your height, so you’re simply going to own it.

And if that means people stare at you from time to time, so be it! Nothing wrong with being tall.

15) It’s all in your head

It may feel like people are staring at you all the time, but that doesn’t mean it’s the case.

Often, when we feel insecure about some part of ourselves, we project that insecurity outwards and start to see things that aren’t there.

You may think your nose is unusually large. As a result, you start thinking that everywhere you look people are staring at you.

The truth is, no one else thinks that your nose is anything but normal.

No one but you!

Consider whether there is anything about you that you don’t like.

We all have things we’d like to improve.

While it might seem like a big issue for you, I can guarantee no one else sees it that way.

There’s a good chance that no one is actually staring at you. You just think they are because of your own insecurities.

It’s time to be gentle with yourself and recognise that being imperfect is part of what makes you perfect.

What to do about it?

Now you have a good idea of why people are staring at you, what can you do about it?

In most cases, nothing!

Staring is completely harmless, so simply ride it out. Even better, own it.

Most of the reasons people stare are positive ones, just take a look at our list above.

You’re either beautiful, confident, attractive, well dressed, etc., and that’s something to be proud of. Take the extra attention in your stride and know that you’re turning heads because you’re doing something right.

On the off-chance people are staring because you’re dressing inappropriately, they’re judging you, or because you’re staring first, then now’s your chance to rise above and move on.

The best thing you can do is be true to yourself, and you will lead a much happier life if you are.

So, ignore what anyone else thinks and know that it’s likely their own insecurities that are leading them to feel this way.

Nothing to do with you.

At the end of the day, staring is uncomfortable at worst.

It’s not going to actually hurt you.

So, use it as an opportunity to build a little resilience and get on with your life.

You can even stare right back at them when you catch them looking. Have a bit of fun with it!

Contain the anger

Sometimes, you can get so uncomfortable with the fact that people are staring at you, it makes you want to lash out and say something.

Nothing good can come from this.

There are so many reasons that someone might be staring at you, and most of them are harmless and innocent.

While you might not enjoy the attention you are receiving, lashing out is just going to make things worse.

We’ve all seen it before.

The guy who looked at that other guy the wrong way which sparked a full-on physical fight…

While this might not be the case for you, it just goes to show how quickly things can escalate.

If you do feel like taking some of the control back from all these people who keep staring at you, simply offer them a knowing look as you walk away.

Meet their gaze.

Hold it.

And wait until they get uncomfortable and turn away.

And there you have it, the tables have now been turned, with no raised voices involved.

It’s a win-win.

Written by Felicity Frankish

My name is Felicity (Flick) Frankish and I am mum to Cassandra, Vivienne, and Elliot. After studying journalism and digital media, I naturally fell into the online world - and hasn't left since!

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