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People often ask me how I get dragonflies to sit on my finger. The answer is simple. I gain their trust.

When you sit long enough with dragonflies you begin to learn their rhythms. They are territorial and watchful but they are also surprisingly trusting. With dragonflies, there has to be an acknowledgment of their presence and a respect for their feelings.

To acknowledge a dragonfly you simply let it know that it has been seen. This can be done by following it as it moves, slowly trailing it as it flys from flower to plant to flower. This can also be done by lowering yourself to its level and waiting for its eyes to move or it’s head to tilt as it realizes you are witnessing its life.

When it does move its eyes or fan its wings, stop and stand completely still. Respect its trepidation. It will notice this.

Next bring your hand down to eye level with the dragonfly, being very careful to show respect just as before. If they hesitate, create stillness. Move gently towards them and offer your finger as a place for them to stand. If they have not flown away yet, trust is present. Move your finger close enough and they will walk onto it. Now let yourself be wildly happy for this moment.

I spent the other afternoon sitting next to a pond that had dozens of dragonflies swarming around it. I find it miraculous that something so tiny and so completely alien to us could trust us. The gap between human understanding and insect understanding is so large it almost feels insurmountable – until you are sitting next to a pond on a warm sunny day marveling at the glittering wings of the Great Blue Skimmer that has bestowed you with the gift of its presence.

This individual has trusted you. And with that comes a sense of dignity and a sense of responsibility. In what ways has the natural world placed its trust in you? How can we honor that trust? How can I thank the dragonfly for a heart now full with wonder and a world filled with wings?


  • Iris says:

    Finally, someone on the internet that’s able to do the same thing as me! I’ve spent a while looking for some reason/similar scenario to the expirences I’ve had in the past year! Thanks for sharing!

  • Kelly says:

    I’m so happy I found this article! I’ve spent two days 3 hours at a time sitting next to a dragonfly that I gained its trust. I thought I was going crazy but he let me get right next to him and take photos, it was as if he knew I wasn’t going to hurt him. Absolutely hands down the most beautiful experience I’ve ever had with this species. I’m glad it’s a “thing” I thought there is no way he understands I’m not going to do harm. So beautiful! Have a great day!

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