What Does It Mean When Someone Rubs Their Nose?

  • By: Phil Taylor
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Have you ever seen someone rub their nose and wonder what it really means? Well, if so, you have come to the right place. In this post, we’ll take a look at how rubbing your nose can reveal seven common reasons for the action. First, let’s take a look at what the nose does for us.

At birth, all mammals’ noses are programmed to seek out their mother’s milk and to survive. As human babies get older, their noses continue to guide them to food and keep them safe from harmful things. Our sense of smell also helps us to determine our likes and dislikes.

Our noses are so sensitive to smells that when we don’t like something, they wrinkle up, revealing our distaste. Our noses help us distinguish ourselves from others, they protect us from harmful bacteria and chemicals and are also essential for communication.

There are a few different interpretations of what it means when someone rubs their nose. The most common reason someone rubs their nose is when they have an itch or are about to sneeze. However, this isn’t always the case, in different scenarios and contexts there could be other meanings to the nose rub we will take a look at them next.

  • They have an itch.
  • They are blocking out a bad smell.
  • They are trying to remember something.
  • They are sleepy.
  • They are nervous.
  • They have a cold.

They have an itch.

When you’re talking to someone and they rub their nose, it could be as simple as they have an itch. If some dust or a fly has gone up their nose, it could cause someone to itch or rub their nose. If you’re not sure what’s going on or if you feel they look uncomfortable, ask them.

They are blocking out a bad smell.

When someone wants to block out a bad smell without being too overbearing, they may rub their nose to give themselves some relief. It really depends on who is around them if they are being polite. Have you ever been in a lift when someone passed gas? It might be time to hold your nose to block the odour.

They are trying to remember something.

This can be an odd one, but some people use smell to try and remember things. I once came across a doctor who could trigger his thoughts by smell alone. In NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) this is called a recall anchor – we can anchor different thoughts to body parts such as rubbing the nose to remember something to change their frame of mind. The thing to think about here is the context that surrounds the behavior, who is around them, where they are located, and what the topic of conversation is.

They are sleepy.

When people are tired, they usually have default body language cues or expressions. They will show tiredness in different ways – if you see someone rubbing their nose, it could be because they are tired and it’s their natural way of letting themselves know it’s time for sleep. Take a look at their eyes, ask them what they got up to last night, or if anything has changed in their life, to find out more.

They are nervous.

Big one here if you see someone rub their noise when they are answering a question or you get the feeling they are nervous around someone or something then this could be a way of trying to get remove any excess energy called pacifiers in body language, you should also look out for these signs excessive yawning, neck covering, neck rubbing and the nose rubs to give you clues if they are nervous or trying to hide something from you.

They have a cold.

It’s possible they have a common cold. When we have a cold, we rub our nose because it is blocked or because we want it to stop running. Take a look–do they look ill, or is something else going on with them? To learn more about a cold check out “why does your nose run when you have a cold” really intresting post.

There are plenty of reasons someone might rub their nose, so it’s best to read the context around the action to get a better understanding of why the person is doing this. Next, we will take a look at the most commonly asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean when someone touches their nose?

If someone touches their nose, it may mean that they are subconsciously trying to block out a bad smell. It could also be a sign that they are thinking hard about something and need to concentrate. Sometimes, people touch their nose when they are lying. Context would play a really big part in why someone would touch their nose. There are a few good examples above to help you decide.

What does it mean when someone scratches their nose?

A person might scratch their nose when they are feeling uncomfortable or awkward, or when they are trying to distract themselves from something. The most common reason someone would scratch their nose is that it’s itchy.

What does it mean when someone scratches their nose while talking?

Some believe that when a person scratches their nose while talking, it is a sign that they are not being truthful. This is often referred to as the “liar’s tell.” While there is no concrete evidence to support this claim, it is something to keep in mind when trying to determine if someone is being honest. If you want to learn more about catching a liar check out this post Body Language For Lying (You can’t hide the truth for long)

What does it mean when someone rubs their nose while talking?

When someone rubs their nose while talking, it means they are thinking about what they are going to say next. It is a gesture that shows they are either unsure of themselves or trying to buy time to think just like taking off glasses allows a few seconds for a person to gather their thoughts.

What does it mean when someone touches their nose and points at you?

If someone touches their nose at you, it means they’re being nosy. Nosy parkers are people who are always asking questions and poking their noses into other people’s businesses.

If you are unsure what the person is trying to communicate, you could ask them directly.

What does it mean when someone rubs their nose against yours

When someone rubs their nose against yours, it is often referred to as an “Eskimo kiss.” This is usually done when someone is trying to be close to you or show affection. To do this, they will lightly rub your nose with theirs.

What does it mean when someone touches their nose a lot?

There are a few different things that can happen when someone touches their nose a lot. They could be trying to subtly scratch an itch, or they might have something caught in their nasal passage that they’re trying to dislodge. Additionally, touching or rubbing the nose can be a way of expressing nervousness or discomfort. If someone you’re speaking to is frequently touching their nose, it could be a sign that they’re not entirely comfortable with the conversation.

What does it mean when someone rubs under their nose

It could mean that the person is trying to relieve an itch or they have a sore nose.

Final Thoughts

It can be difficult to figure out what rubbing the nose means in one action as there are a few different meanings. My suggestion would be to learn to read body language and then go from there. Learning to read body language will help you to understand many gestures and nonverbal cues and make you a better communicator and a people person.