Personality Cafe banner

1 - 20 of 55 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,595 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I pretty sure for all my life I have failed to make "strong eye contact" with people. However, I think a more accurate statement would be to say I rarely look people in the eye when talking to them. Sometimes, I barely even look at their face. It often seems like my eyes are examining something else when talking to people. It's like I am following two different trains of thoughts whereas I am analyzing the object before me while analyzing the conversation I am having. Though, I rarely if ever focus on one thing. My eyes often jump around, particularly when I am nervous or excited.

I especially have troubles making eye contact when I feeling self-conscious or when I perceive the other person to be superior to me. It's like if I don't look at them, their presence is not actively acknowledged, and thus my presence is not actively acknowledged, and so they must not be looking at me and my horrendous face. If i believe them to be superior to me, then I get to retreat back in myself and once again not acknowledge their presence for else I would be subjected to their dominating vibe.

Okay... that last bit doesn't make sense to even me. There are also a few more reasons for why I fail to make eye contact with people at times. This is simply a real problem I have and a difficult one for me to work through. I figure it's usually invoked by high anxiety (which I get all the time, so...). What's worse is that whenever I think about overcoming it, I become aware that I am not making eye contact with the person, which makes me become self-conscious, which makes it harder for me to keep eye contact with them.

It's almost hopeless.

Anyone else have issues with making eye contact with people?

It's weird since a lot of people believe me to confident, but strong eye contact usually implies confidence. I guess I look at people when I talk to them at times, but it's not a habitual thing for me.

(Sorry for the long post. I wanted to make it short, but that always seems to be an unachievable feat for me.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
259 Posts
Usually I try to look people in their eyes a few times when they talk to me because I like to show them I'm really listening (I guess being a Journalism major has trained me in that). But I don't stare into their eyes for the entire conversation.

But if I'm talking to someone who makes me feel self-conscious or uncomfortable I won't look at them in the eyes because I feel like they'll be able to see my emotions, if that makes sense. Or if I do not like the person I won't have any need to look them in the eyes.

Or, if the topic changes to something I do not like I will look off to the side, trying to show I'm disinterested.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
213 Posts
I have trouble with eye contact, but I don't think it's for the same reasons as you. I find it is easier for me to mentally process what is going on if I'm not making eye contact. But if I have to think or figure out something, I need to avoid the eye contact. I'm always looking up and away trying to find the idea. Eye contact is too intense for me, in a sensory way, I get too much information and my mind will start jumping around.

I sometimes look away when with someone of authority, though not always.

It sounds like body image sort of stuff is at the core of this... maybe... that's what I get out of the words 'horrendous face.' I don't know how to give advice with regard to that. I think I look horrendous and I just don't really care... that much. I would like to say appearance doesn't matter, but I think I've felt condescending looks based on my appearance... so I have no idea how much more intense it is for a woman.

The hardest part is making it natural I think, it is easy enough to overcome the anxiety/sensitivity and just stare at another person's face... but getting it to the point of being natural so you can be effective at it. That's the hard part.

I think the best part is to just not worry about it and get along without it, if possible. If you can be successful without the eye contact... then who really cares. Or just naturally break down the anxiety, and then eye contact will follow...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
105 Posts
It's funny- I don't feel very confident with most people, but I always try to maintain eye contact when talking to someone. I think I got the impression at an early age that keeping eye contact was a way of showing strength or confidence, so it became a part of my behavior. It feels weird to me when people don't look at me most of the time we're talking.
Sometimes it's harder to keep eye contact, especially in the situations you mentioned, but I still make myself do it, just because it's what I always do. I don't do it the whole time we're talking, just most of it.
It's one of the few ways I can feel competent/confident in the majority of my interactions with other people.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,595 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
But if I'm talking to someone who makes me feel self-conscious or uncomfortable I won't look at them in the eyes because I feel like they'll be able to see my emotions, if that makes sense.
Yeah, emotions. I am also afraid they can read all my emotions. Of course, they are probably still looking at me regardless if I make eye contact, but for some reason I feel protected from their sight if they are out of mine. That's a very weird psychological response, even if I understand the phenomena.

I always think to myself: if anyone ever notices how little I make eye contact with people, that would be a great indicator of how truly scared I am.

I recognize eye contact can be affirmative in terms of communication, which is probably why I have started to stress out about doing so. Only due to the circulatory nature of this situation, it just builds upon itself.


I have trouble with eye contact, but I don't think it's for the same reasons as you. I find it is easier for me to mentally process what is going on if I'm not making eye contact. But if I have to think or figure out something, I need to avoid the eye contact. I'm always looking up and away trying to find the idea. Eye contact is too intense for me, in a sensory way, I get too much information and my mind will start jumping around.
Sometimes I feel like it is a product of my Ne.

It sounds like body image sort of stuff is at the core of this... maybe... that's what I get out of the words 'horrendous face.' I don't know how to give advice with regard to that. I think I look horrendous and I just don't really care... that much. I would like to say appearance doesn't matter, but I think I've felt condescending looks based on my appearance... so I have no idea how much more intense it is for a woman.
Can't deny that.

The hardest part is making it natural I think, it is easy enough to overcome the anxiety/sensitivity and just stare at another person's face... but getting it to the point of being natural so you can be effective at it. That's the hard part.

I think the best part is to just not worry about it and get along without it, if possible. If you can be successful without the eye contact... then who really cares. Or just naturally break down the anxiety, and then eye contact will follow...
"...naturally break down the anxiety..."

If only. That might require many, many threads to work out though. However, I do understand just about all of my issues. It's seeing them become undone that is the hard part for me.
 
  • Like
Reactions: WoodsofDesolation

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,835 Posts
I've heard of lots of people having trouble with this. I can see how it could be a confronting experience and how the social protocols surrounding it can be confusing. I think it's also one of those things that becomes difficult if you think about it too much. It's like when you feel that someone is watching you walking, and you start to get nervous and over think it, which leads to you walking a bit strangely. The good news is that other people probably do not notice much whether you are making eye contact with them or not. People don't notice things like that as much as we think they do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
318 Posts
I feel like avoiding eye contact can be some way of protecting yourself emotionally. If I am talking to someone and eye contact is established, I feel like I am on the spot and someone can see straight through me and it's kind of scary having that kind of vulnerability. I have gotten much better at this recently though.

I mainly motivated myself to get better at this because I looked at it from other people's perspective. If I was talking to someone and they never looked at me directly, I would kind of feel like they weren't 100% engaged. I know this isn't true because even if I didn't make eye contact, I would always be listening and interested. So I just do it for the sake of others. Also, have you ever met someone's eyes and immediately avert their gaze? I have been working on that also, because that could definitely come off as weird or not confident.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
A good topic. I worry about it less than I used to. I am aware of eye contact fairly often when talking to people, but I make and break it less consciously than I used to. I rarely have trouble making contact, but I probably break it before the other person does. When thinking hard about what I'm saying, I'm often aware of looking away. I wish I knew how much eye contact is appropriate, that's my problem. I don't suppose there are any recipes to follow.
I allow myself to have the odd problem. Ones that don't get better by stressing about them. I was diagnosed many years ago with (socially) avoidant personality. It's a very limiting condition on my life in general. Trouble with eye contact is part of it. Shyness too, although I am shy only sometimes, depends how I feel. I looked through a forum of people with avoidant personality, and there were many who seemed far shyer than me. I think here will be a far better place for me.
It's caused me a lot of depression.
I'm talking about avoidant personality because it might be that or another treatable condition that underlies your experience, Vinndi. I think a trip to a psychologist or similar could be a good investment in your future life. Or maybe you already have. You seem out to get on top of your problems while you are young, that's the way.
I guess another thing you could try is meditation. Learn to distract yourself from your selfconsciousness. I don't know much about it in detail. Many psychologists teach mindfulness, which is similar.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
179 Posts
Maybe because we can see right through them when we make eye contact, we assume that they can do the same. Silly rabbits
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
418 Posts
I guess some people are made anxious by eye contact but people who don't make good eye contact in conversation make me squirmy and uncomfortable. I had a friend, an ENTJ, who would look at something near my eyes, but would never look at them. And she would shift from one spot to another, first the bridge of my nose, then my ear, then my eyebrow. #$#!!!! This only exacerbated her projection of emotional distance. I prefer eye contact but will try to accommodate the preferences of the other person. If they glance away a lot or seem to be made uncomfortable by it, I will try not to look at their eyes so much. But there is nothing like good eye contact, the more the better as far as I'm concerned.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,595 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It's best not to think about it. In fact it's best to just stay out of your head in general.
I have almost always known this, but I haven't quite figured out how to achieve that.


The good news is that other people probably do not notice much whether you are making eye contact with them or not. People don't notice things like that as much as we think they do.
Honestly? I think I started this thread just to hear that. Dx Though, I was also curious if others have an affliction with this as well and what might therefore cause it in them.


@yakeye - I am pretty sure I could go see a therapist or something and get diagnosed with some form of an anxiety disorder. It wouldn't be anything severe, but I am sure I fall under enough qualifications. I just... don't want to do that? It's complicated. Though, I have never head of avoidant personality disorder, but that sounds a whole lot like me. Most of my anxiety is situated around the social sphere, however my anxiety can spike out of nowhere about nothing whether or not there is social stimuli to provoke it.

...Actually, maybe not. I was going to bring up how I always hate to be late, but that is focused on social ramifications. School and money don't normally stress me out, but then again I don't usually focus on those things. That might because I am too worried about other things, or might because I don't truly know how to cope with things and simply block it out of my head (which can have negative consequences when things like my grades begin to slip).

But, I really didn't want this thread to be about my anxiety. Rather I was curious how often others make eye contact.
 
  • Like
Reactions: yakeye

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,835 Posts
Honestly? I think I started this thread just to hear that. Dx Though, I was also curious if others have an affliction with this as well and what might therefore cause it in them.
There's this thing in psychology called the "spotlight effect". Basically, people greatly overestimate how much other people notice them and how much people care when they do notice. The metaphor is that people feel like they are standing under a spotlight in social situations and that everyone is noticing them and judging them. But the research shows that people really don't notice as much as we give them credit for and they don't really care even when they do notice things about us that we feel are embarrassing. Interestingly, when people have been told about this effect before having to give a speech in front of a large audience, they have reported that having knowledge of this effect gave them an increased feeling of confidence. So it could be a good thing to remind yourself of when you are in a social situation that causes anxiety.

There is also a thing called "the illusion of transparency", which states that people overestimate others ability to read their concealed emotions. People aren't really as good at reading us as we think they are.

So, the basic message is that other people probably don't notice or care if you have small quirks like having a difficulty making eye contact. It seems like a big deal to us, but it doesn't matter to them. So we can feel secure in the fact that we have some degree of privacy, even when we are around others.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
418 Posts
I don't actually blame you! I'm really curious to know how people here type their friends like that! With or without consent? !!! :)
Great question. Personally, I have little confidence in typing someone else accurately. After all, most of us typed ourselves. Would we want someone else deciding what type we are? I doubt it. However in this case the person said she was ENTJ, and appeared to fit the descriptions quite well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
242 Posts
I used to rarely make any eye contact for all the reasons you gave. But somehow I got over it. I can't remember exactly how it happened, but I got over it. Now I think I've mastered the skill of strong eye contact. This sounds weird but if you think of eye contact as a weapon or just a powerful tool, then it becomes easier to use. Have fun with it. Make eye contact with as many strangers as you can in a day. See how many of them look away before you do. In conversation, make constant, relaxed eye contact and observe how the person reacts. At first I thought it would make other people uncomfortable because it made me uncomfortable, but it usually had the opposite effect. Eye contact forms an unspoken bond between people and it helps them trust you and open up to you. I would highly recommend trying it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: goastfarmer

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,595 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
There's this thing in psychology called the "spotlight effect". Basically, people greatly overestimate how much other people notice them and how much people care when they do notice. The metaphor is that people feel like they are standing under a spotlight in social situations and that everyone is noticing them and judging them. But the research shows that people really don't notice as much as we give them credit for and they don't really care even when they do notice things about us that we feel are embarrassing. Interestingly, when people have been told about this effect before having to give a speech in front of a large audience, they have reported that having knowledge of this effect gave them an increased feeling of confidence. So it could be a good thing to remind yourself of when you are in a social situation that causes anxiety.

There is also a thing called "the illusion of transparency", which states that people overestimate others ability to read their concealed emotions. People aren't really as good at reading us as we think they are.

So, the basic message is that other people probably don't notice or care if you have small quirks like having a difficulty making eye contact. It seems like a big deal to us, but it doesn't matter to them. So we can feel secure in the fact that we have some degree of privacy, even when we are around others.
You know? Anxiety is an irrational thing. So even though I have never known the terms for these things, I have known of these psychological effects. Anxiety, however, always finds an irrational loop to justify way in this particular case people are actually always judging me. When my anxiety starts to justify it in every social situation, you would think the "exception to the rule" would begin to crumble away. It just does't seem to do that. But, it's been a while since I have tried to actively fight these thoughts. I think so far, my coping strategy is to just wait until it dies down. I always calm down eventually (whether that's sooner or later).


I used to rarely make any eye contact for all the reasons you gave. But somehow I got over it. I can't remember exactly how it happened, but I got over it. Now I think I've mastered the skill of strong eye contact. This sounds weird but if you think of eye contact as a weapon or just a powerful tool, then it becomes easier to use. Have fun with it. Make eye contact with as many strangers as you can in a day. See how many of them look away before you do. In conversation, make constant, relaxed eye contact and observe how the person reacts. At first I thought it would make other people uncomfortable because it made me uncomfortable, but it usually had the opposite effect. Eye contact forms an unspoken bond between people and it helps them trust you and open up to you. I would highly recommend trying it.
I think I could make a game out of it. This reminds me of one time a friend approach me a proposal and said (something like this but not this), "Hey, you. Sociology nut. Have you ever paid attention to the kind of eye contact people make with complete strangers? I mean you should go around looking people in the eye and see when they break eye contact. Not only is it fun, but I bet you could learn something from it." Though due to my affliction, I have never tried this... but approaching it like that will probably make it easier for me to make eye contact in more casual situations.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
This is off topic so I'll be brief.
Would we want someone else deciding what type we are? I doubt it. However in this case the person said she was ENTJ, and appeared to fit the descriptions quite well.
Thanks, I'm glad I asked, at the risk of giving offence. I'm starting to be a little less mystified by this culture around personality types. Maybe there are forums like this about star signs. I'm much more comfortable here.
 
1 - 20 of 55 Posts
Top