Everybody has that person whom they’d rather avoid for one simple reason: They’re creepy. Whether it’s a peer, a colleague or even a family member, there’s always that one person in your life who makes you feel uncomfortable (whether they intend that response or not). But why exactly are some people perceived as creepy and others aren’t? Well, according to social psychologist Francis McAndrew, feeling creeped out is a legitimate human response to seemingly dangerous situations (either violent or sexual).
So what contributes to this creeped out feeling? McAndrew sampled 1,300 people between the ages of 18 and 77, asking them to rate how weirded out they felt about certain behaviors and characteristics (from 1 – not at all, to 5 – very much). At the top of the list were three notable actions:
1) A person watching a friend before going to interact with them
2) Touching a friend frequently
3) Steering the conversation towards sex
Below is the entire chart from most creepy to least, created by Business Insider:
Also important to note is that 95 percent of those surveyed said males are more likely to be creepers than females—So us collegiettes probably don’t have to worry too much about our creep factor.
But perhaps the most interesting part of this study was when McAndrew asked the respondents to rate the creepiest occupations in the world. No surprise, clowns came were number one (hello, we’ve all seen the movie “IT” and we know just how that ended), followed by taxidermists, sex shop owners and funeral directors (sorry “Six Feet Under” fans).
If there’s anything collegiettes can take away from this study, it’s this: Don’t eye-stalk people, quit the touchy-feely stuff and (guys especially) don’t turn everything into a “that’s what she said!” joke. Oh, and for anyone currently enrolled in clown school, consider another profession.