Create Connections Through
Eye Contact

Couple Making Eye Contact

Making eye contact is a natural part of daily life for most people.  You probably don't even realize how many times each day you do it.

When you look directly at someone with a relaxed facial expression you use one of the best methods of acknowledging that person, making yourself memorable, and keeping everyone honest.

Creating Connections

Have you ever noticed how babies meet or follow your gaze?  If you look directly at a baby, she will look into your eyes.  Look away, and she will follow your eyes to their change of direction.  Studies support this, proving that eye contact is natural, human habit.

Why?  Because humans want connections with other humans.  And the eyes have it.

When you first meet someone, etiquette guides you to look them in the eye as you shake hands.  It's a global response indicating that you acknowledge this person and validate his presence.  You are giving the gift of two things all humans crave - acknowledgement and validation - with one look and the touch of your hand.

This is also where the term "love at first sight" comes from.  The simple act of locking eyes with someone lets you know instantly if there is an attraction.  The longer the eyes meet, and the frequency of those glances, are a telltale sign of how strong the attraction is.  Keep this in mind the next time you attempt to get the attention of a potential special someone.

Reading People

Most of us think we can spot a liar because he doesn't make eye contact.  Well, this is sometimes true and sometimes not.

Research indicates that dishonest words are often coupled with purposeful eye contact.  Yes, a person will look you in the eye and lie to you!

However, if you suspect someone is not on the up-and-up and you confront her about it, attempt to make eye contact with her as you do so.  If she avoids your gaze, she's most likely lying to you.

In other situations, looking away can indicate shyness, sadness, or an attempt to avoid discord.  Be sure you consider the environment and situation you are in as you read the individual.  It's best not to jump to conclusions about someone.

But you can imagine how someone feels when shaking hands and eye contact is not made, and you may have experienced that yourself. 

Notice the body language of people when they greet and introduce people.  You'll know when eyes were met and when they were not.

When and How to Make Eye Contact

There's rarely a bad time to make eye contact.  When doing so, you make someone feel he has your full attention, that he is important, and that he is being heard.  Use this method of connecting with another person when . . .

  • You are participating in a conversation
  • You say hello, arrive at a meeting, see a friend at a party
  • You are introduced to someone

When you meet someone's gaze with a smile, you instantly create a positive connection in that person's mind.  This is important when you are entering a job interview, need to comfort someone, or are attracted to someone. 

But remember, staring or holding a gaze too long can make others uncomfortable.  Maintaining good eye contact leaves room for blinking and looking away for a second.  This provides a little relief, especially if you are concentrating on making sure you are doing it correctly.  I use the term, “long glances” as a way to think about it.

Another consideration is how various cultures consider these long glances.  When traveling to another country, study the culture-specific rules.  Even though we value this practice here in the United States, there are some countries where it is considered offensive.

It is said the eyes are the windows of the soul.  As you peer into those belonging to other people, make sure yours are "open" as well.  Human connections are sometimes the best gifts we can offer.

Sources: 

"Eye contact detection in humans from birth," Teresa Farroni, Gergely Csibra, Francesca Simion, and Mark H. Johnson, accessed September 27, 2016, http://www.pnas.org/content/99/14/9602.abstract

"The Science of Eye Contact Attraction," The Art of Charm, accessed September 27, 2016, http://theartofcharm.com/flirting-and-attraction/science-eye-contact-attraction/


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