I’m sure you either have or had problems with making eye contact. Because it’s almost always directly connected to social anxiety. You know, you’re walking down the street and some random person is walking towards you.
Shit! you think…
…and you feel your heart rate increasing the closer he or she gets.
All sorts of negative thoughts are running through your mind…
- Should I look or should I not look?
- If I look, how long do I hold eye contact?
- Should I try to force a smile?
Then when he comes closer and you decide not to look…
- I’m sure he’s looking at me
- He’s judging me…
- He probably sees that I’m uncomfortable…
- Yeah, he sees that I’m avoiding eye contact…
- I hope he doesn’t say something to me…
And then afterwards, when he passed you beat yourself up some more with an inner dialogue that might go something like this:
- I hope it wasn’t someone I know…
- I should’ve looked… Or not?
- Why can’t I just feel comfortable making eye contact?
- I don’t want to look insecure…
- What’s wrong with me?
I’ve been there and it’s not very pleasant to say the least. In fact, it’s downright frustrating! And this is just the example of a situation with only one person.
In situations where there were more people, it was even worse. Like in school or at work. All these judging eyes, these uncomfortable feelings, this beating heart… Not at all pleasant…
In the coming articles I will write about some ways to deal with this. I’ll give you a very powerful mindset to take and I will also give you some awesome exercises to do to calm yourself down before you are making eye contact.
Eye Contact Info For The Socially Savvy
For the remainder of this article I’m going to write about the practical, normal things regarding eye contact. Must know ideas about making eye contact for the socially savvy person.
- You are communicating with your eyes What you are thinking while making eye contact gets communicated. Now don’t think that people can read your mind at all times, but certain emotions can be picked up. Thinks like joy, love, mistrust, sadness etc.Ever heard of “Smiling with your eyes”? This is when someone has that shine in his or her eyes. Those twinkle. It communicates to you that the smile is a sincere one, not a fake smile.
You can therefore also consciously sub-communicate things with your eyes.
So you can for example think “I feel OK and I like you and approve of you”. This gets communicated to the subconscious of the person you’re making eye contact with. So you can do this to make someone feel at ease. And to feel comfortable yourself of course!
- Smile! That’s right, this is the best advice you can get. When you are making eye contact with someone, give them an approving smile.Don’t overdo it by smiling as if you just heard the best joke in your life, but give them a warm, approving smile. What I do is I think in my mind “What’s up? I’m happy, you like me and I like you”. That might help you as well.
- The amount of eye contact When speaking with someone, you basically want to maintain eye contact and try to relax. This shows that you are interested in what the person has to say. Don’t try to stare at the speaker for 10 minutes straight because you’re likely to freak the person out.A confident person looks the speaker in the eye and looks away from time to time. Like every 10 seconds or so. But this is not a conscious thing, it actually goes automatically.
What you can do is when someone tells you something interesting is to think “mmm interesting”, nod your head in agreement/approval when appropriate. Really try to listen. Because when you do listen, your attention is focused on the speaker and his “speech”, instead of on yourself.
By doing this you will be less concerned with your own thoughts and you will appear more at ease. Plus the speaker feels appreciated by you listening so attentively.
- Constantly looking away shows disinterest It’s OK to look away from time to time when someone is speaking. But overdoing it will make you appear as if you are not listening at all. It makes you look like you are daydreaming and don’t care about the person’s story.So maintain eye contact and break it periodically by looking down and to the side.
- Eyes dilate When you are interested in something or someone your pupils will dilate. If a person is interested in you the same will happen.
- Not looking at all When you refuse to look people in the eye altogether this might come off as arrogant. It shows a stand-offish “don’t talk to me, I don’t care about you-vibe.” Or worse, “You are a non-person to me, I am better than you”.
- In group setting Talking to a group of people you want to look everyone in the eyes. Switch from person to person. Giving everyone a mini conversation with you so to speak. Don’t avoid people in the group because they will likely feel left out.
All in all, the above things are some basic facts and ideas about eye contact. The simplest thing to do is to just relax, think about something positive and give an approving smile when making eye contact.
If you can’t do this right now, stay tuned for the coming articles about the powerful mindset to take and the strategies to get you to the level where you can relax when making eye contact.
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