Signs You’re Being Creepy Without Realizing It

Signs You’re Being Creepy Without Realizing It

The line between flattering and creepy can be surprisingly blurry. Good intentions don’t always translate well, and sometimes even compliments can land with a thud. Want to make sure you’re not accidentally venturing into “ick” territory? Let’s uncover the subtle (and not-so-subtle) signs you might need to tone it down.

1. You stare… a lot.

Eye contact is great for connection, but there’s a fine line between a friendly gaze and laser-beam focus. If the other person starts looking shifty or you find yourself unable to break eye contact, it’s a sign to blink, relax, and give them some space. As The Cut so kindly reminds us, it’s okay to look away for a moment.

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2. You talk way too much about yourself.

Sharing stories builds connections, but if you’re dominating the conversation with a never-ending monologue, it’s a major turn-off. Ask questions, give the other person a chance to speak, and show interest in their life too. Conversations are way more fun when everyone gets to participate!

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3. You overdo it with the compliments.

A genuine, well-placed compliment can make someone’s day, sure, but showering someone with praise, especially if it gets overly focused on their appearance, comes across as creepy, not kind. Keep compliments sincere, specific, and don’t go overboard – quality over quantity wins every time.

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4. You remember way too many details.

Having a good memory can be impressive, but casually bringing up what someone wore weeks ago, their childhood pet’s name, or those random Facebook comments starts to feel like stalking, not friendliness. Let some of those non-essential details fade – it shows you’re focused on the person, not obsessing over them.

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5. You stand uncomfortably close.

Everyone’s got a personal space bubble, and its size can vary depending on how well you know someone. Pay attention to body language – if they keep backing away or seem tense, you’re probably way too close. Respect their need for space, plain and simple.

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6. You constantly touch the person you’re talking to.

As Psychology Today notes, some people are just naturally touchy-feely, but that doesn’t make it okay. A casual touch on the arm can be okay if you know the person well and sense they’re comfortable with it. But unsolicited touching, even seemingly harmless gestures, can make anyone squirm. Unless you’re invited with a smile, it’s best to keep your hands to yourself.

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7. You always seem to be lurking nearby.

Coincidences happen, but if you consistently find yourself bumping into the same person at the coffee shop, grocery store, or library, they might start to get suspicious. Sometimes, being “accidentally” in their vicinity is really just subconscious lurking, so be mindful of how often you pop up.

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8. You bombard them with messages.

Texting is awesome, but it’s a two-way street. If your witty banter is met with radio silence or one-word replies, the other person clearly isn’t that into it. Respect their space and hold off on sending a follow-up novel – desperate vibes are never a good look.

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9. You get overly invested in their personal lives.

Being a good friend means genuinely caring, but there’s a line between being supportive and intrusive. Prying into deeply personal matters, especially their relationships, is nosy, not nice. If they feel pressured to share more than they’re comfortable with, it’s definitely a red flag.

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10. You offer unsolicited advice.

Sometimes, people just need to vent, not get a step-by-step solution to their problems. Unless they specifically ask for your help, resist the urge to play life coach. Constant unsolicited advice can make someone feel judged, not supported, even if you have the best intentions.

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11. You make jokes that fall flat.

A good sense of humor can be super attractive, but it’s subjective. If the other person isn’t laughing, it’s time to switch gears. Doubling down on jokes that make someone cringe, especially about sensitive topics, is more awkward than funny and sends the wrong message.

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12. You can’t take a hint.

Pay attention to those social cues! If someone seems uninterested, gives short answers, or constantly changes the subject, they’re probably dropping hints that they want the interaction to end. Forcing a conversation with someone who clearly isn’t into it is just disrespectful of their time and space.

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13. You overshare wildly inappropriate things.

Brunette sat in park texting©iStock/lechatnoir

Everyone needs a space to be a little weird, but first dates and casual acquaintances aren’t your therapists. Unloading all your emotional baggage, revealing super intimate details, or talking about gross stuff too soon is a guaranteed way to scare someone off. Get to know someone a bit better before revealing your deepest, darkest secrets.

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14. You’re always trying to one-up them.

man with beard using mobile©iStock/svetikd

A little friendly competition can be fun, but if you turn every conversation into a battle of who’s better, it’s exhausting. Nobody likes a constant know-it-all, and it makes you seem insecure instead of interesting. Let other people have their moment in the spotlight!

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15. You don’t get boundaries.

Boundaries are healthy! When someone sets a limit, whether it’s saying “no” to a request or asking you to back off, respect it. Pushing back, ignoring their wishes, or guilting them into changing their mind makes you seem manipulative and untrustworthy.

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16. Your gut tells you something is off.

skeptical man looking at woman talking

We all have intuition for a reason. If your inner voice is pinging you with a sense that your behavior might be making someone uneasy, don’t ignore it! Taking a step back, apologizing if needed, and giving the person space shows way more self-awareness than pushing on regardless.

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Phoebe Mertens is a writer, speaker, and strategist who has helped dozens of female-founded and led companies reach success in areas such a finance, tech, science, and fashion. Her keen eye for detail and her innovative approach to modern womanhood makes her one of the most sought-out in her industry, and there's nothing she loves more than to see these companies shine.

With an MBA from NYU's Stern School of Business and features in Forbes and Fast Company she Phoebe has proven she knows her stuff. While she doesn't use social media, she does have a private Instagram just to look at pictures of cats.