How to Be Mysterious

Two Methods:Mastering the BasicsApplying Your Mystery Tricks

Being mysterious is alluring. Whatever your gender, maintaining a mysterious element to yourself can leave people wanting more and guessing a lot. While sometimes acting mysteriously can come across as stand-offish or strange, provided it's done with grace and care, it can be a fabulous way to keep friends, lovers, and the people you meet fascinated by the individual you might just be inside.

Method 1
Mastering the Basics

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    Button up. Or, in other words, put a lid on it. If you're an extroverted, happy-go-lucky, conversational dynamo, it can be hard to keep it all in sometimes. And yet, telling everyone your life story when you first meet, or date can end up being a turn-off, especially when the details are too much information (TMI). Relax. Take in the silence. Become more of an observer.
    • Telling all can often scare people off because they wonder why it's so easy to be that open about your life and they'll worry how much you'll want them to reveal, too. Learn to be discerning about what you tell others you barely know and leave more to the imagination.
    • Know when to speak. How did Plato put it? "Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something."[1] Be the wise man, not the fool.
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    Be confident. Being mysterious requires that you are confident enough not to have to fill in the gaps in conversations. It's also about not being rattled by the natural silences that crop up in day-to-day interactions between people. Use those gaps to greater effect, to amplify the meaning of the things you do say. Moreover, being confident within yourself will show in your posture, composure, and facial expressions.
    • To be successfully mysterious, you need to come off as needing nothing from no one. You don't need approval, and you don't need anyone to hold your hand through any endeavor. Does James Bond need approval? Angelina Jolie? Nope and nope.
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    Be a brilliant summarizer but not such a good detailer. Never give away too much when you're talking about personal things. For example, if the person you're interested in wants to know about your past, be very candid but not specific. Never tell this person extra details, or give the whole story. Work on summarizing everything. They'll feel like they know without actually knowing.
    • It's important to be decisive. When you're answering questions, you answer them simply and to the point, no dilly-dallying about it. The other person won't know whether to probe or not, since you gave the whole story (even though it was with such little detail). How can they argue with what you had to say? What right do they have to the details? Most people will not want to tiptoe the line.
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    Maintain a calm exterior at all times. Whatever else is raging on around you in the world of interrelating, avoid showing over-emotional reactions to events or people. Calmness is linked firmly to exuding confidence and a calm reaction will confirm that you're level-headed, as well as eliciting an aura of mysteriousness. People will wonder how you can manage to remain so calm about situations in which they're shocked, outraged, or panicking.
    • This may take some practice for you but you can begin by practicing deep breathing, learning to reflect before reacting to news events and family/friend rumors, and then slowly realizing that the calm manner in which you react can help you cope better.
    • When showing emotions like anger or love, be stoic and composed. Show emotion with your eyes, rather than your mouth or facial expressions or actions. Don't yell if you're angry about something, and don't jump to kissing someone if you think you're in love. A lover would be expecting both things, so don't go for the obvious reaction. Train yourself to be calm and reflective. Keep your voice calm and relaxed.
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    Develop your own sense of style. Too often the clothes we wear put us into a box. Don an Abercrombie & Fitch polo and certain crowds will claim to have you all figured out; a Doctor Who t-shirt and a backpack in the shape of the Tardis and others will say the same. So however you come off on the outside, make it your own. No one will really know where you fit.
    • The same can be said for your actions in addition to your fashion sense. Doing something completely counter-intuitive to your personality will leave people wondering, "Where the heck did that come from?" So go ahead. After football practice, whip out your yodeling talent. After assembling that computer, treat yourself to a facial. Get home from the museum in time for the football game. Don't let anyone peg you.
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    Be unreadable. When James Bond is doing his James Bond thing, he's working in inconsistent clusters and, therefore, cannot be read. If he's flirting with a woman, he's serious and stoic, not eager or physically obvious. If he's cracking a joke, no one knows it's a joke until the very end of the punch line. Use this. Have your body not match the tone of the circumstance, be light-hearted in the face of adversity, be emotionless when things get dark. Have something about you that just doesn't make sense.
    • Doing this well will help you avoid the "dark" label that often goes with mysterious. A person that's not talkative, a bit of a loner, and needs no one can easily be mistaken as depressed. That's not what you're going for. Having something about you that doesn't fit the mold will avoid being lumped in with the cliche.

Method 2
Applying Your Mystery Tricks

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    Avoid volunteering information just to try to keep the conversation rolling. Instead, always switch the focus back to the other person by asking them questions about themselves and getting them to reveal more about their life and interests. Show a great deal of interest and listen avidly.
    • If asked open-ended questions aimed at eliciting more information about you, be polite and offer a little information – but not too much. Treat it very much as your interaction being all about the other person and not about you. If you're good at this, your attention to them will flatter them and it won't be until after the conversation that they've realized they didn't learn so much about you.
      • If you do this too well, the other person will never realize they don't know much about you. People love talking about themselves so much; it could go unnoticed entirely. However, avoid coming off as getting wrapped up in what they're saying -- you'll come off as clingy and submissive instead of as a good listener.
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    Leave some things unsaid. When people ask questions, probe, or suggest their own answers, sometimes it is a good idea to just let their own ideas run free. Ask them questions like: "Well, what do you think?", or "Is that what you really feel about my presentation?", etc. but don't guide them too much. Of course, do set people straight about any disreputable assumptions they may hold about you!
    • If a lover asks you about past loves, there's no need to get into detail. Simply say that you don't remember because it was never that important to you. Another good approach is to say that once you decide to move on, you really do, and you don't remember the things about the past that no longer inform your current life. That's actually quite reassuring because it suggests that you don't hold grudges, a flame for someone long gone, or want to compare current people to people in your past.
      • Being vague about your past lovers will pique the interest of some people, but it soon passes when they realize that you simply won't budge on the point; however, if they keep harping on about it, consider that their ongoing insecurities might just be a sign for you that this relationship isn't worth pursuing.
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    Play around with eye contact. Make it clear that you can maintain eye contact when needed but withdraw eye contact when you're not ready to reveal something deep and meaningful within a relationship. This is not the same as lying, rather it is about deflecting; it should be used only when the touchy subject in question is raised. The other person will sense your unwillingness to contribute and should, if they're trying to stay in your good graces, back off.
    • Rather than looking furtive and worried, combine this tactic with appearing nonchalant, distant, and unconcerned by the situation you're in. Reward the other person with dedicated eye contact when the subject changes.
    • Look at people directly in their eyes when talking to them with a piercing or relaxed gaze, but don't stare. This will make you a dominant person and cause people to respect you. A powerful and confident gaze creates a magnetic effect.
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    Make good use of responses that don't tell much but do reveal that your inner workings are churning over. If someone asks you what's wrong, or what's up, instead of taking this as a cue to let it all out, simply say very lightly, "Oh, I was just thinking," or "I was just wondering about something," or "I've just been reflecting over some things that I need to get to the bottom of." And don't offer any further explanation. If you're probed, simply say, "Oh there's nothing I can formulate out loud just now; it's all still in my thoughts."
    • Be very careful not to come off as emo. You don't want to get viewed as sad. If you're "contemplative," it's important not to downcast your eyes, to walk confidently, and to seem alert. If you're wrapped up in thoughts and too much black eyeliner, you may just be pegged as the misunderstood wallflower.
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    Use humor, smiling, and laughter to keep things mysterious. Humor is a good means for masking feelings, allowing you to make things more mysterious by fending off questioning, and replacing any probing with deflective quips, one-liners, and general reduction of the situation to one that should only be laughed about.
    • If someone asks you a question, feel free to answer it literally. "What are you doing?" can be followed by, "Talking to you" or "sitting on a chair." You don't have to play into certain social norms if you don't want to. As long as you find it funny, you'll be able to pull it off.
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    Avoid drinking too much or taking drugs that affect you to the point of lacking self-control. There is not a lot left to be mysterious about after a drug- or alcohol-infused state causes a person to reveal all. Since you have little or no control about what you tell once the alcohol or drugs impact you, you may exaggerate, tell too much, embellish beyond acceptability, and say things that leave you feeling vulnerable and exposed. To be mysterious, stay in control from the outset by watching your drinks and by avoiding taking drugs that disorient and take over your personality.
    • Drunken conversations often lead to tell-alls about exes, former people you've known, and people you can't stand. This is all information that is best kept in your head, so just don't let this happen to you and avoid getting sloshed. It's best for your brain cells, too.
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    Be polite and considerate, not aloof. Keep your sense of respect and compassion for others; being mysterious is not about being more superior than others. It's more about leaving things not said, and showing others that you value your privacy and space.
    • There will be people that don't like this side of you. So what? If they're not comfortable with it, it's their problem. But if most people don't like it, you may want to consider how you're coming off.


  • Don't obviously revel in being mysterious, and don't try too hard. People should view this as part of your basic character - who you are at your core - rather than a role you're trying to play. If you come across as the latter, you won't be viewed as mysterious, just immature.
  • Confide in someone you trust. Sometimes keeping it all bottled up will become just too much. Have someone in your life whom you trust deeply and in whom you can confide anything. Without such an outlet, you risk becoming cold-hearted, paranoid, and unfeeling.
  • When you are with just one or two people for a short time, give them a smile, if you can and if it fits the conversation. Your smile will surprise and fascinate them, and you will seem even more fascinating.
  • Let down your defenses more around those you truly trust. However, do keep in mind that not telling everything can leave for plenty more conversation as the years unfold and how exciting it can be to enlighten a partner about a thought, a dream, an idea you've had for ages but haven't gotten around to telling them yet! It is a strange position that many married people have to believe that they must tell absolutely everything about themselves to their partner as if in not doing so they are unfaithful. By all means tell your wedded partner the things they really do need to know but equally think about keeping some things back to be shared out at different stages of your life, to spice things up! Always discovering one another can lead to a long and fruitful marriage.
  • Check out how iconic, mysterious greats like Greta Garbo used their eye contact to display mysteriousness.


  • While being mysterious can be captivating, being constantly absent-minded can be infuriating. Know the difference.
  • Being mysterious should not equate to being rude and thoughtless about other people. Don't blatantly ignore people or brush off their questions; while it's fine to make it clear that there are some topics you won't discuss, avoid being rude about it or about not giving out information that Google could tell them.
  • Avoid smirking or being condescending. Acting as if you know better than the other person before you is a dead certain way of chasing them out of your life.
  • Many articles about being mysterious advise having some kind of secretive smile/pretending to ignore people/not answering questions/being sarcastic - but this may make you come across as smug and antagonistic.
  • This will usually only work if there is some other reason for others to want to know about you. Otherwise, you will likely be interpreted as introverted, or full of affectation.

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