Are You Creeping People Out? (And How to Stop)
Nobody Wants to Be Creepy
Nobody wants to be creepy, but what do you do when you overhear someone's comment about a creep, and it turns out they are talking about you! How do you know if you are creeping people out? How do you stop?
What Makes a Person Creepy
There isn't a definitive list of dos and don'ts to avoid being labeled "creepy." Being perceived as creepy is partially contextual. The closeness of your relationship and details matter. However, I have noted that there are three general areas that check the creep factor box. Once you are aware of them, you can make adjustments.
You've Crossed the Conformity Line
People display a range of behaviors that other find comfortable. When we stray too far outside that comfort zone, the outlier becomes foreign, suspicious, and unpredictable. It weirds us out.
Even non-conformists tend to be unconventional in a predictable way. For example, dressing in all black with dyed black hair and black fingernails is an acceptable sign of rebellion. Collecting hair samples, having an avid interest in taxonomy, or wearing vials of blood is not.
More typical signs of straying too far from conformity are things like standing too close to someone, asking inappropriate questions, staring, avoiding eye contact, having poor hygiene, and having an unusual appearance (ill-fitting clothes, clothes of the wrong era, greasy hair, etc.)
Poor Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage your emotions, read the emotional temperature of your surroundings, and respond in a socially acceptable way.
When we don't display healthy emotional intelligence, others can read us as creepy. Here are some examples:
Lots of people have poor boundaries. This, by itself, generally doesn't make someone seem creepy. However, having poor boundaries is more likely to gain you a "creepy" label.
Here are some examples:
How to Stop
If you've been called creepy or are reading this list and think, "Oh, God! This is me!" change the things that are obvious to you. If you overshare, stop. If you talk about sex to strangers or casual acquaintances, stop.
If any of this is not obvious to you, please get help. Emotional intelligence and boundaries can be learned. It is not your fault if you didn't learn them as a child, but now that you are an adult, your quality of life depends upon these things. The earlier you get started, the quicker you can turn your life around.