12 reasons why people are staring at you in public

You’re sitting in a room, minding your own business, then you look around to see there’s someone staring at you.

Have you experienced this?

Or maybe you were sitting at your desk at work, but you could somehow feel someone’s eyes on you – and sure enough, there was.

Being stared at can feel uncomfortable; no one enjoys random strangers looking at them.

Maybe once you notice them, you’ve suddenly become insecure about what you’re wearing and how you look.

That’s a natural reaction.

But before you get too worried and rush to the nearest bathroom mirror to check yourself, here are 12 possible reasons why someone might be staring at you.

1. You’re More Attractive Than You Think

You never really considered yourself to be something of a model; you always figured your physical features were standard.

You’ve gotten used to the way you look.

But there are always people who may be caught off-guard by your appearance the first time they see you.

At first, it might be natural to deny it.

“Me? Attractive?”, you might tell yourself.

Those emotions are common, especially for people who may not be narcissistic themselves.

It might be ridiculous if you’ve felt insecure about your body and appearance.

But it might be truer than you think.

If beauty was in the eye of the beholder, then you’ve walked into a room of admirers.

It might feel flattering. It might also feel disconcerting and uncomfortable.

If you aren’t feeling comfortable, you can always choose to leave.

2. They Like What You’re Wearing

Before leaving the house, you threw on your usual top, a vintage jacket, pair of jeans, and favorite sneakers.

You’ve done it so many times, you don’t even notice.

But when you’re walking outside, you catch people glancing down at your shoes, or around your chest area at your jacket.

It’s natural to start thinking that you might have stepped on dog poop or have a stain on your jacket, but in reality, they might just be admiring your outfit.

Check out the latest fashion magazines to see if you recognize any of your clothing there.

You might be wearing something similar to the latest fashion trends.

That’s why people can’t help but look at you like they would a runway model.

3. You Look Different from the Crowd

To you and your friends, there’s nothing wrong with having a nose piercing or a sleeve of tattoos.

But if you walk into an area where most of the people there are from the older generation, don’t be too shocked to see them staring at you.

The older generation tends to be more conservative with their styles.

To them, you stick out as something they’ve never seen before.

Anyone would stare at something they’ve never seen before.

It works the same way when you travel.

If you’re a foreigner with a different skin color in a different country, it’s highly likely that the locals will be staring at you.

To them, you’re a rare sighting.

They aren’t used to seeing someone with foreign facial features, so they’re naturally drawn to looking at you.

4. They Plan to Approach You

You’re out at a party. You’re dancing and having a good time.

But every time you look around, you keep making eye contact with the same person.

At first you might think it’s weird: Who are they?

But then they shoot you a casual, flirty smirk.

If you find them attractive, you then might feel compelled to smirk back at them.

This isn’t just some random eye-contact they’re making. They’re trying to seduce you.

They like the way you look and so they plan on approaching you at some point of the night.

So if you’re interested in getting into some steamy action, it’s best to prepare yourself for their approach.

5. They’re Trying to Catch Your Attention

Getting someone’s attention in a crowded place can be difficult if they’re far away.

Shouting their name might not be very effective; it might either be drowned out by the noise or cause an unintentional scene.

That’s why someone who wants to get your attention in a crowd might first start by staring at you.

They might then approach you or wave their hands.

When you see this, it could first be confusing: What does this person want?

But try to stay put.

They might be someone telling you they saw your car getting towed or you might’ve accidentally left something behind from the restaurant you just ate at.

6. Your Face Looks Familiar to Them

You’re out at a restaurant alone, when someone a few tables across keeps staring at you.

They look confused; their brows are furrowed and they look at you with an intensity that makes you think they’re angry at you. What’s going on?

They might be trying to figure out if they recognize you or not. In their heads, they think they know you somewhere.

They might even ask if you’re that one actor from that one movie, or if you’re a friend of a friend.

If they’re wrong, then it’s an innocent and classic case of mistaken identity.

It might be flattering too, knowing you might have Hollywood-type features.

7. They’re Curious to Know What You’re Up To.

You’re working out at the gym.

You stand in front of the mirror and focus on getting through your sets.

As you do your reps, you catch people shooting you strange looks; there’s even one person standing by a machine, staring at you.

This might make you feel awkward and insecure.

But in reality, they might just be interested in what you’re doing.

Maybe they’ve never seen someone do your workout before, so they’re trying to learn.

They try to read you, asking themselves, “What is this person training for?”

It’s also possible that they’re trying to see how long you have left before you’re finished; they’re waiting for their turn at your machine.

8. They’re Daydreaming

When people day dream, they tend to not know what they’re looking at.

In fact, they may not even be minding what’s in front of them.

They’re so caught up in their thoughts they’re blind with their eyes open and idle.

This might’ve happened to you before when you don’t even realize what you’re staring at when you let your mind wander.

When someone is staring at you with a dead look, they might be busy in their heads.

They could be trying to solve a personal problem, or trying to remember something at the very edge of their tongues.

In any case, they don’t intend to even be staring at you at all.

9. You Have a Confident Aura About You

When you enter a store, you aren’t the type to wander about.

You know exactly what you intend to buy and walk directly towards it.

This confidence may surprise the window shoppers at the store.

It can also be something about your tall posture and how you carry yourself.

People who are confident in themselves tend to have a more commanding presence, so they draw attention to themselves without needing to speak up.

That might be you.

10. They’re Silently Judging You

This could be a nasty truth: they’re making fun of you.

You know because you catch them passing quiet comments and giggling with their friend as they look in your direction.

This can make you feel horrible about yourself.

If they’re gossiping about you, it might just mean they have nothing better to do with their empty lives.

They make fun of others or make side comments about people they don’t even know as a way to cover up their own shortcomings.

You can choose not to take this personally at all.

11. You’re Drawing Attention to Yourself

You might be at the library, typing away at your laptop, headphones on, listening to your favorite songs when you spot someone staring at you in a strange way.

You might brush it off at first but more and more people do it.

When this happens, it might be because your music is leaking out of your headphones since they’re too loud, or you’re typing a little too aggressively.

It’s these moments where you might unintentionally be drawing attention to yourself.

Another would be if you’re on a phone call with someone and you realize you’re talking too loud.

That’ll get people’s attention.

12. They’re Trying to See What’s Behind You

You might be standing out in public one day when you spot someone staring at you with a confused look on their face.

They might be moving their head around in a strange motion, craning their neck, looking at your direction.

No, they aren’t crazy. It might just be because you’re standing in front of an informative sign, or a nice mural.

They aren’t actually looking at you at all; you’re in their way.

What To Do When You Catch Someone Staring At You

In reality, you can choose not to be too bothered by it.

But if it does begin to irk you, you can confront them about it, politely asking what they’re looking at.

If that isn’t something you usually do, you can also choose to leave.


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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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