You shouldn’t avoid eye contact if you want to be able to connect with people. Eye contacts are subtly intimate and it allows people to look into someone and learn more about them the longer they interact with them. A lot of people feel very uncomfortable with this, however. If you’re one of those people, you’ll need to learn how to be more comfortable with it if you want your social life to become healthier.
Most people will avoid eye contact when speaking with someone. They will look onto the ground instead or wander their eyes around. To help you get around this problem, read on to know why you shouldn’t avoid eye contact and how you can ultimately fix this problem.
Why You Shouldn’t Avoid Eye Contact.
When you make eye contact, you subconsciously and subtly allow yourself and the other person to form a connection. Conversations had while maintaining eye contact become more meaningful and more personal.
Other than that, here are other viable reasons why you shouldn’t avoid eye contact.
It shows sincerity
If you can maintain eye contact while having a conversation with somebody, it will show sincerity. It shows that you’re sincere enough to establish a real connection with somebody because you’re not afraid to maintain eye contact with them. It’s a subtle sign of showing legitimate connection and transparency. It will not seem very obvious at first, but they will feel this genuine sincerity deep inside.
It makes other people want to get to know you better
When you maintain eye contact, you are allowing people to really connect with you. The more another person connects with you, the more they’ll want to get to know you. This is something you can make happen by simply maintaining eye contact with another person.
It shows confidence
Maintaining eye contact is a staple characteristic of confident people. If you’re someone who’s struggling with confidence, you emulate this behavior and eventually heighten your self-esteem by simply maintaining eye contact. Not only that, but it will also make those you converse with believe that you are a confident person. This is a good thing for both your self-esteem and your social life.
It makes other people know you’re comfortable around them
Aside from showing confidence, maintaining eye contact also shows comfortability. This will immensely help you out if you have trouble being comfortable with other people. This goes both ways too. If the people you’re interacting with know you’re comfortable with them, they will also feel a bit more inclined to be more comfortable with you.
Being comfortable is key when it comes to socializing. If you both can manage to become comfortable with each other, forming a friendship becomes easier. This is just one of the few reasons why you shouldn’t avoid eye contact.
Making eye contact helps you read others
By maintaining eye contact, you are able to read other people much easier. This isn’t very straightforward nor will it be very obvious. If you’re attempting to be a better listener and become more empathetic towards someone, you can do so by maintaining eye contact. The connection that you form by maintaining eye contact with somebody will make you focus on them intently, making it easier for you to read them.
Conversations flow more steadily
Because maintaining eye contact helps you read others more, this will also make it easier for you to have steady conversations. You’ll be able to respond in a more snappy manner, you can keep the back and forth more steady, and you can come up with more follow-up questions because your attention is solely focused on the person you’re making eye contact with.
It helps you become more assertive
This is another subtle effect you can make happen if you don’t avoid eye contact. You can make yourself seem more assertive. As long as you know what you’re doing, which we will get into later on, you can make yourself seem more assertive without being intimidating by simply maintaining eye contact. Being assertive is one of the things you can do to make yourself become more socially adept and better at social interactions. It will also help in making you become more confident.
People will perceive you as an honest person
Similar to how making eye contact can make you seem more sincere, it will also help you seem more honest. When you say something to someone while maintaining eye contact, it will make your words seem more believable. This isn’t so you can use it as a manipulation tool, but so you can be more reliable and trustworthy, which you shouldn’t break if you want to have a healthier social life.
It will make you more memorable
Maintaining eye contact will also make you more memorable in the eyes of others. This comes from the subtle yet sincere connection you can form with others by simply doing this. You will remain in their minds and it will make it easy for them to remember you.
This is immensely helpful if you’re socializing in a public space with multiple strangers. You may not be able to befriend people immediately in one night, but you’ll at least make it easy for them to remember you the next time you encounter them.
Once again, this goes both ways too. Maintaining eye contact will help you remember the people you encounter.
How To Maintain Eye Contact
Now that you’re aware of the benefits of making eye contact, here are some tips and tricks you can use so you’ll start feeling comfortable with it.
Stop overthinking it
One of the most common hurdles of people who always avoid eye contact is overthinking. Overthinking is a mind-killer that will restrict you from performing well in a social setting. Maintaining eye contact is one of these restrictions. The more you overthink, the more false information you will believe to be true.
This is why you won’t be able to maintain eye contact with someone. Your overthinking mind will formulate thoughts others may have on you and that will make you anxious to look others in the eyes, even though most of those thoughts are merely unfounded.
Don’t overdo it
You also shouldn’t overdo making eye contact with someone. If you overdo making eye contact, you’ll come off as insincere. The way you force making eye contact will seem obvious to everybody. Worse yet, you’ll come off as a creep.
There’s a fine line here you’ll need to balance. You’ll learn exactly how to balance this as you go along with this article. Just keep this in mind, for now.
Force it until you make it
If you’re really uncomfortable with making eye contact, one of the things you can do for now is to simply force yourself into making eye contact with others. Force it until you make it, or in this case, until you’re comfortable with it.
This is how you can get started and begin your improvement. After all, you won’t have the opportunity to become better at this social skill if you don’t force yourself to step into it. It will seem very hard, and it will definitely be, but it’s a step you’re going to need to take to achieve this goal.
Switch between looking at both eyes alternately
This is a helpful trick you can use if you struggle with eye contact. Alternately switch looking at one eye and the other when conversing with someone. Do so at every 3 to 5 seconds and 7 to 9 seconds. Make the pace dynamic and non-robotic.
You can also do the shift each time you blink. If you’re looking at the person’s left eye first, switch to the right eye the next time you blink. This will make your eye contact seem more natural and not forced. It will make it seem like this is something you’re naturally comfortable with rather than something you’re forcing yourself to do.
Gaze at the space between the person’s eyes
This is another trick people who always avoid eye contact use to get better at this social skill. Look at the space between the person’s eyes and you’ll provide the illusion of making eye contact.
Of course, you shouldn’t do this all the time. Don’t simply make your eyes stay looking at that space. Make this dynamic as well. If you start feeling uncomfortable with making eye contact, turn to the space between the other person’s eyes. This will give you a slight break but it will make the other person believe you’re keeping eye contact with them.
Another thing that comes into play in making your eye contact become more natural is blinking. Don’t think that you should blink minimally when making eye contact because that will make you seem more unnatural. It’s quite the opposite, in fact.
In fact, what you should do now is to not think about blinking at all. Don’t think about blinking minimally and don’t think about blinking naturally. Stop thinking about it and your eyes will do the rest. Doing otherwise—meaning being mindful of your blinking—will only make your eye contact look robotic, forced, and awkward.
Stare at the mirror to practice
One of the practices you can as you go along with this is to simply practice in front of a mirror. What you can do is this: stare at the mirror and look at yourself in the eyes. See how wide or how narrow you can make your eyes until you can find your most comfortable look. That’s the look you’ll need to use when you make eye contact with others in public.
Keep in mind everything you’ve read thus far and everything you’re about to read. Stare at yourself in the mirror and see how you look while looking at both eyes alternately. See how natural you look while looking at the space between your eyes. See how you look while blinking naturally. Performing this practice will help you prepare for your next social interaction.
Do this first with people you’re already comfortable with
If you’re someone who’s starting from scratch with this, practice first with people you already know. Practice making eye contact with your friends, family, and other people you trust. This will make it easy for you to actually get into rather than starting immediately with strangers.
As someone who’s naturally uncomfortable with making eye contact, you shouldn’t make the journey way harder for yourself than it has to be by immediately going out there and doing this with people you don’t know. Practice with friends, and once you start feeling a bit more comfortable with the practice, go out there and do this with complete strangers.
Seek out the help of a professional
If the reason why you avoid eye contact all the time is something a tad more psychological and mental, you may need more than just an article from the internet. Please, if you believe you need professional help, do not hesitate to do so.
You can do your part by improving by whatever means necessary on your own time, but it is always better and much more advisable to seek out the help of a professional. You’ll get better much more efficiently.
Mind your body language
Even if you force yourself to get comfortable with eye contact, even if you force yourself to perform it on a regular basis, if your body says you’re uncomfortable, people will be able to spot that.
That said, you will need to be mindful of your body language as well as the way you make eye contact with everyone. This may seem like way too much management, but all you’ll really need to do is to relax.
Take it easy. Relax your body. Stiffness will kill the steadiness of your body language. Get lost in the conversations you’ll have rather than the anxiety of your mind. Your body language and your eye movement will follow.
Start doing this with strangers
As mentioned earlier, you can make things easier for yourself by practicing with people you’re already comfortable with. However, if you keep doing this only, you’re never going to improve. It would also be senseless for your social life if you aren’t able to do this to meet and make new friends.
With that in mind, be sure to head out there and start getting used to making eye contact with strangers. Connect with them. Have a conversation with them. It’s going to be tough at first, but with enough willingness and reputation, this too will become a whole lot easier for you. In time.
Actively get to know the other person
Keep in mind that the whole reason you’re doing this is so you can connect with the other person more intimately. More personally. That said, as you’re doing your best to maintain eye contact with the other person, make sure to remember the main reason why you’re doing this: to get to know the other person.
Ask questions. Probe away to get the full picture of who the other person is. You’ll be surprised at how easy maintaining eye contact will be if you actively make conversation with the other person.
Know that it’s okay to look away sometimes
Just because your goal is to maintain eye contact with someone, that doesn’t mean your eyes should be fixed on them for the entirety of the interaction. As already mentioned in this article, you can and should relax throughout all of this.
If you wish to look around every once in a while, you should do so. What you just need to keep in mind is to maintain eye contact if you’re talking and listening. With everything in between, you can dart your eyes around to observe your surroundings. Just be sure to return your gaze to the other person when a conversation is being had.
Be more empathetic
If you use empathy on your side, maintaining eye contact with someone will become much easier. By being empathetic, you’ll be able to place yourself in the shoes of another person. Feel what they feel—or at least, feel what they need you to feel.
If you can be empathetic towards another person, you’ll want to pay attention to them more. You’ll want to maintain eye contact because you’ll want to keep your focus on them. Keep this in mind the next time you attempt to make eye contact with someone.
Don’t be intimidated by another human being
One of the most common reasons why people avoid eye contact is because they feel intimidated by other people. Don’t. This may sound easier said than done, but you absolutely have no reason to feel intimidated by other people. They’re just human beings, like you. They have their own aspirations, dreams, and fears, like you.
Treat everyone else the same way you want to be treated. Be fair to everybody. You have no reason to be afraid of them or anything of the sort. You certainly don’t want everybody else to be afraid of you, do you?
When you stop seeing other people as intimidating, making eye contact with them will suddenly become easier.
Maintain a fair distance with the other person
This should go without saying, but it’s something you’ll want to keep in mind anyway. Be sure to maintain a fair distance with the other person when you’re making eye contact with them. Stay close enough that it’s comfortable, but not too close that it’s intrusive.
Not only will this be easier for the other person, but it will be easier for you too. If they’re comfortable, you’ll be more comfortable too. If you both are comfortable, then making eye contact and interacting with the other person will be more straightforward.
Start believing in your confidence
If you were simply faking your confidence before so you could interact with others, or in this case, so you could make eye contact with someone, now it’s time to actually believe in its existence. Believe in the idea that you are confident. Don’t only act like a confident person but think like a confident person.
One of the most common killers of confidence is shyness. In worse cases, mental and social anxiety. For the former, it’s all about belief, persistence, acceptance, and rising above mistakes. For the latter, however, it requires a bit more of a professional touch.
Do this every chance you can
Finally, the best thing you can do to ensure that you become comfortable enough with eye contact that you no longer feel the need to avoid it is repetition. Make eye contact whenever you have the chance to interact with another person. Whether it be with a co-worker, a passerby on the street, or the waiter at your favorite restaurant, make eye contact.
This will make this whole thing become much more doable for you. It will transform your anxiety into normalcy. It will even make you a more confident social person. That’s the key here. Just keep on doing it, and in time, you’ll be able to make eye contact with anyone without feeling any hint of anxiety.
You’ll also need to be patient for this too. Especially if you’re starting with discomfort about all this. It’s going to get some time, and if you’re impatient about it, you might simply get turned off with this whole thing.
Become Comfortable With Making Eye Contact By Improving Your Social Skills
Making eye contact is a social skill that you must learn. It will make you interact and connect with others better. Conversely, being better at interacting and connecting with others will also help you become more natural at this. As long as you become socially adept, you’ll never have to avoid eye contact ever again.
Having said that, you should take the time to improve your social skills too. Your other social skills, I mean. Take the time to master the art of conversation. Take the time to overcome social anxiety and shyness. Learn what it means to be introverted and how you can socialize as an introvert if you ever are one. Improve your social skills and you won’t have to avoid eye contact because it will become something you’ll be naturally comfortable with. Good luck!