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How to Make People Uncomfortable

People spend far too much time trying to figure out how to make people happy and comfortable. Sure, you can get ahead by impressing people; but it is far more fun to get ahead using intimidation and other nefarious tactics to make people uncomfortable.

The art of making other people uncomfortable is a fine one- full of nuance and skill. It is also much easier on one than the practice of pleasing others, which is not only draining but wrought with risks of personal rejection and lapses in respect.

Let us peruse the predominant means of inciting discomfort in others. Whether you wish to climb to the top in the business world, gain social standing, or simply have fun watching others squirm, I have great advice for you below.

Before You Begin

Stop taking yourself so seriously. Really.

People put way too much stock in their lives and reputations- so much so that they are unable to take the risks necessary to actually build a reputation worth defending.

If you want to be at all effective at making others uncomfortable, you must first learn to never be uncomfortable with yourself. One of the easiest means of achieving this is to cease taking yourself seriously.

The Face

Let us move from the basics of outlook and personality to the basics of facial expressions.
Though your countenance may seem to be a more subtle means of making someone uncomfortable, it is actually one of the most convenient and effective tools you can use.
We depend on people's faces to read situations and get important social cues. By subtly manipulating our faces, we can alter others' subconscious comfort levels. By violently manipulating our faces, we can overtly weird people out.
Here are some good facial expressions to try out:

The Stone

Also commonly known as the poker face, this expression entails the obfuscation of any true expression experienced by the wearer. What makes people uncomfortable about poker faces (for there is nothing out of the ordinary about them) is that they offer no visual feedback for one to go on, making one feel uncertain about oneself and one's situation.

Work those scary face muscles!

Work those scary face muscles!

The Scary Face

Though varied from face to face, this expression involves contorting one's countenance into the most disturbing configuration possible. The best crazy faces can be held for longer than fifteen seconds, as one of the most productive uses of this expressions involves holding it while staring unblinkingly into the eyes of one's opponent.

Scary faces have a long history, and can be seen not only carved onto the masks of acient samurai warriors but also actively utilized by Maori warriors.

The Tick

Not wishing to make light of what for some is not controllable, I must still point out that developing a fake tick can freak people out, especially once you have people convinced that it is a precursor to violent action. Eye, mouth, and eyebrow twitches are the easiest to develop.

General Outward Appearance

Making someone uncomfortable is so dreadfully easy that one can even do it passively after making some initial effort to alter one's appearance.

Permanent and semi-permanent body modifications such as...

  • Certain tattoos
  • Facial piercing
  • Other body piercings
  • Tooth shaving (especially to points)
  • Plugs (especially in areas other than the typical earlobe)
  • Certain types of plastic surgery

...have an excellent track record for making people nervous.

You might even employ more temporary measures such as:

  • Extreme hairstyling
  • Skin dyes
  • Temporary facial inflation with saline injections

Or don accessories such as:

  • Chains
  • Grills
  • Unusual contact lenses
  • Spikes
  • Iron knuckles intimidate certain individuals around you.

Finally, you can disturb others by donning certain apparel, such as:

  • Preppie clothing
  • Punk dress
  • Gothic dress
  • Bondage gear
  • Suits
  • Mismatched outfits
  • Parachute pants
  • Very short skirts
  • Turbans (if you wish to scare Americans)
  • Sandals with socks underneath
  • Fishnet stockings
  • Butcher aprons

Keep in mind that passive intimidation and discomfort-causing using one's outward appearance only works with certain audiences. While some might be afraid of tattoos, piercings, and facial inflation, others are perfectly comfortable with, and perhaps even attracted to, those features.


Though it requires more concerted effort, the most enjoyable means by which one may cause discomfort in others involves one's behavior. Though the efficacy of the following methods will vary depending on one's audience and setting, consider these actions as some of the most common means by which others can be made uncomfortable.

Personal Space

Every man (and woman) has a general area about himself that he considers to be his personal space. Enter that space and he shall be made uncomfortable. This need not entail obvious actions and can be as simple as hugging for a bit too long, standing a bit too close, or even choosing to sit right next to one in an empty or sparsely populated area.

Volume Control

One can also make others uncomfortable simply by (subtly) doing everything a bit too much. Speak too loudly. Move too slowly or quickly. Gesture too wildly- or do not move at all. Do everything in excess- but not so much as to make things obvious. Those most skilled at making others uncomfortable do so without letting their victims realize that the discomfort is being caused by just one person.

TIP: Put lotion on your hands before shaking hands, and shake with a limp hand.

TIP: Put lotion on your hands before shaking hands, and shake with a limp hand.

Additional Actions

People can also be easily made uncomfortable by...

  • Staring
  • Being faced head on in an elevator
  • Nudity
  • Unnecessary contact
  • Religious or political conversation
  • Bad breath
  • Fluids of any sort

It is worth emphasizing that one does not have to do very much to make others uncomfortable. Humans require surprisingly set states and behaviors in order to feel at ease. Deviate from any of them just slightly and you will find that you can make a world of difference. The key lies in understanding those set conditions and their outward bounds so that you can play with them accordingly.

What Makes YOU Uncomfortable?

So there you have it- a quick introduction to various means of making others uncomfortable.

What makes you uncomfortable? I know that it always freaks me out when people compliment me. And I heard someone give a great tip the other day... to put lotion on one's hands before shaking hands with another person.

Let's share ideas, shall we? Let us know about good tactics in the comments below!

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