Eye Contact

Eye contact is a funny thing.  It is a really big deal in may societies as it is a sign of trust, respect, and decency. But I have a problem with eye contact. I can't really explain it but eye contact makes me very uncomfortable.

I was reading an bunch of articles on eye contact with children because of some of my students. And then I began to think of myself. I don't avoid eye contact because I'm lying to you or because I am being disrespectful. I tend to avoid eye contact because I makes me squirm. I feel like people are staring me down when I make eye contact.

I was once asked what one of my biggest weaknesses was and only this one time did I admit that it was eye contact. And the person with whom I was speaking said it really hadn't phased them, but now that I said something-they noticed it.

In one of the articles that I read, it gave a list of things to describe individuals who can maintain eye contact. These things include: more dominant and powerful; more warm and personable; more attractive and likable; more qualified, skilled, competent, and valuable; more trustworthy, honest, and sincere; and more confident and emotionally stable.

Now at first I was offended when I read this list. I feel that I am a very personable individual. I don't constantly stare at the floor. I just choose to look beyond people or around the area instead of directly at their eyes. I do not feel incompetent simply because I don't make eye contact. And I certainly believe that I am trustworthy.

Then I got to the end of the list: more confident and emotionally stable. That one makes sense to me. Heaven knows that I am not the most emotionally stable individual. My self-esteem is down in the gutters some days. But isn't that life? Or atleast that is what I have been led to believe. I'm not always positive but I try to be a glass half-full kind of girl. I am definitely much more positive when it comes to other people and their lives compared to myself and my own life.

The point that I am trying to make: I understand the importance of eye contact. But I also understand that everyone is different. People have back stories that you and I know nothing about. People have their reasons for behaving the way that they do. Sometimes it takes more than I glance into someone's adverted eyes in order for you to understand them.

So the next time someone is avoiding eye contact or only glances at you occasionally instead of during the entire conversation, try not to take it so personally. Try to find out about them. Instead of judging them, get to know them.

I tend to be better at eye contact once I know someone and I feel comfortable with them. So maybe it's not a defiance thing but more a comfort thing.

Think about it.


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