My Boss Rolls Her Eyes At Me! What Could This Possibly Mean? 

Have you worked with people who seem to have difficult personalities? Well, I have. From my experience, eye-rolling can mean so many things beyond irritation or anger which a lot of people interpret it to be.

When your boss gives these reactions, it can be hurtful and demoralizing. It could even cause anxiety as to what their response could be to anything they want to do.

And, in most situations, if you want to find answers, all you need to do is simply tell the person it is unsettling and ask about it in a calm, neutral way.

You will be able to do this only when you know the possible intent behind someone rolling their eyes at you, especially if it involves your boss or supervisor in a work environment.

Generally speaking, eye-rolling is a gesture of turning the eyes upward to express annoyance, exasperation, disbelief, or irritation.

So, when your boss rolls her eyes at you, it could mean she is expressing any of these states of mind towards you.

If you have a reactive boss, you will notice that the slightest makes her roll her eyes and display obvious signs of irritation.

But your response to this gesture would be the result of your interpretation – this is where the whole eye roll issue gets tricky.

5 Possible Meanings Behind Your Boss Rolling Eyes At You

My Boss Rolls Her Eyes At Me!

It is true that eye-rolling projects negativity. However, there are many interpretations of the specifics to suit your kind of situation. Here is a list of possible interpretations I’ve heard and experienced so far:


Your boss rolling eyes at you may be an obvious sign of anger or irritation over what you are saying or doing.

This is one of the most common interpretations of this gesture because it subconsciously sends an impression that the eye roller does not validate your stance.

From my experience, managers give this expression as a show of irritation, especially in situations where, for instance, you go into their office at the wrong moment.

If your boss asks for particular information from you that he/she expects you to know, and you show that you don’t know the answer offhand, he/she may roll eyes at you as an expression of irritation.

If this is the actual reason behind the gesture, expect your boss to act normal in the next few minutes.

It is often done spontaneously and you should not feel down by it. Addressing the expression must however be done in a calm, constructive and neutral way (more on this later)


Your boss may want to express “How could you??” situations without necessarily mouthing those words.

Placing the palm of one’s hand across the face is one way to express embarrassment, frustration, and disbelief.

But alternatively, the state of mind could be expressed by rolling the eyes.

So, examine the circumstances around your boss’s gesture and see if it is something that can cause your boss to express disbelief at what you have said or done (or what you have not done yet.)

Most times, when we want to communicate a state of disbelief, we do it nonverbally before saying words that support our gestures. This could be the case if your boss rolls their eyes at you.

What this means is that you need to be sensitive enough to quickly recall what must have prompted the expression. If you feel the reaction was unnecessary, there are ways to address it without sounding intolerant or disrespectful.


Another possible reason why your boss rolled their eyes at you may be to express the feeling of disdain. The trick behind this meaning is that it could be interpreted for many other things.

When your boss nurses the feeling of disapproval tinged with disgust towards you, it is not far-fetched that he/she rolls his eyes at you among other disturbing expressions they will make.

Several reports have shown that toxic bosses express disdain to their employees through rolling of eyes among other gestures to show that the latter is beneath their dignity and unworthy of their notice, respect, or concern.

If you bump into an ongoing meeting with people, and you are not supposed to be there, your boss may express disdain by rolling their eyes at you. This could be the meaning behind the expression.


If your boss is frustrated, one of the ways the state of mind can be expressed is by rolling their eyes at you.

This is not only peculiar to your boss. Anyone in a frustrating state, perhaps, over the annoyance of someone, can roll their eyes at the person to express their state of mind.

If you assess the situation surrounding the occurrence, and you realize it is because your boss was frustrated that was why he or she rolled his eyes at you, I’d advise you to be direct in your response.

You can react with questions like, “It seems you’re frustrated. How do you suppose I handle this differently?” and allow them to vent.

If you don’t want to leave any impression, once you notice the expression, you can quickly cut in and say, “You look annoyed by that.” Then wait for a response.

Verbal expressions of frustration usually include cursing, sarcasm, arguing, or even yelling. If your boss does not want to take on these with you, then they can just roll their eyes at you expecting that you understand they are frustrated with you.


Another common intent and interpretation behind when your boss rolls eyes at you could be a sign of dismissal.

This usually happens during meetings and you bring a suggestion, idea, or opinion that your boss considers insignificant, grossly inaccurate, or even unacceptable.

You may think they are trying to downplay your efforts and contribution, but even if they aren’t the expression of rolling eyes at you says it all.

Bosses should try to express dismissal verbally because reactions like these could cause emotional invalidation on the part of the team member.

If you are in the latter position, I’d advise that you avoid becoming defensive at that point and don’t attempt to offer unsolicited advice next time.

Do not forget to always accept responsibility for the emotion when appropriate because it could mean truly that your opinion was not welcomed at that point in time.

My Boss Rolls Her Eyes At Me!

What To Do When Your Boss Rolls Her Eyes At You?

When your boss rolls her eyes at you, what you should be more concerned with is the next move. I have some ideas which I use and have helped me take advantage of the situation which I believe will help you too.

When your boss gives this expression, the first thing you want to do as a response is to ignore the eye roll and follow up with your suggestion.

Immediately review what you just said or did and ask your boss: “It appears you might have a concern with my suggestion. Am I reading you right?”

If it wasn’t someone of your superior or in a working environment, that is, if it is a friend or colleague, you could casually but politely, “Do you have some sort of problem with your eyes?”

However, if your boss rolled her eyes at you during a meeting, and you don’t want to cause unnecessary tantrums, you could go meet the person after the meeting and ask neutrally about it. This requires boldness, I’d tell you. But it pays more than letting it fly.

In this view, there are four approaches to constructively and professionally tackling eye-rolling from your boss:

My Boss Rolls Her Eyes At Me!

Quickly analyze your action that must have caused the expression

There is always an urge to defend and reprimand someone for eye-rolling.

However, to address the gesture professionally and get results, you need to exhale your stress and attempt to recall your feelings, actions, or words that might have caused your boss to roll her eyes at you.

In other words, shift from trying to feel discouraged about the expression to wondering why they feel so bad.

So, by simply asking, “Would you please tell me what you think I have done?”, you are giving an impression that you are a good listener and willing to address the issue that must have caused your boss to react in a contemptuous way at that moment.

Encourage the Eye-Roller to Vent

When people vent, they can defuse their frustration. So after analyzing your action that must have prompted the expression, encourage your boss to vent off the issue.

When you ask them what might have caused them to act that way, do not interrupt or interject your commentary while they explain.

Instead, you want to simply indicate you are listening by occasionally saying things like ‘I understand.’

I would not recommend you repeatedly say phrases like ‘Calm down as he or she explains the reason for rolling their eyes at you.

Confirm their View of the Situation

When your boss rolls their eyes at you, it means that they do not go in line with your position or what you are doing or saying at that moment.

So after you’ve made them express the reason behind the gesture, you want to summarize what they are saying and ask for confirmation.

I particularly use the introductory phrase, “I sense you feel this is the reason why the decision was made…” Let your boss confirm your interpretation of her explanation.

If you are going to improve a conversation with someone, the person has to feel heard or understood.

Transform your boss’s anger/irritation to desire

Once the person feels that you are listening, you want to ask open-ended questions that will finally put the situation to bed.

For example, after expressing the reason why the person rolled their eyes at you, ask questions like “what would you like to see happen instead?” and see the psychological magic.

If your boss is a very difficult person, they may give body language that reads that they aren’t ready to provide an answer.

In that case, it is smart to ask if you can come back to the conversation at another time.

Beyond the eye-rolling behavior of people, it is very helpful when you train yourself to follow up on many body language hunches.

You will realize that when you poke into reasons why people give certain expressions at you, they either confirm it or show you that your assumptions are wrong.

If your boss has rolled their eyes at you, I hope now you have a solution for getting over the situation.

However, it doesn’t end there. This should be a call that you need to start paying more attention to body language, especially if you spend the most time in a workplace.

The bottom line of all the tips shared here is that when people roll their eyes at you, it is always helpful when you ask about what you notice.

My Boss Rolls Her Eyes At Me!

Last thoughts  

Meanwhile, if you take note of these tips and still realize that your boss overreacts and rolls an eye at you, then you probably need to accept that this is the way the person is.

In that case, the issue is not about you or what you’ve done. If the boss in question rolls her eyes to other people too, it is a clear indication that the issue is not about you.

Also, If you have evaluated the situation to realize that no other boss in the office acts like the person, even in the most annoying state of mind, then it is safe to conclude your boss is in the wrong.

Reminding yourself that eye-rolling is your boss’s shortcoming may help you cope with the situation. Nevertheless, it is not ideal to let eye-rolling get by you. When it happens, see it as an opportunity to find new solutions to behavioral issues.

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