Curious, I decided to conduct, with help from my friend Jayne, a social experiment on the wandering eye. My goal? To inform you guys what’s good and what’s not when it comes to eye contact.
Here’s what went on: Jayne and I, in order to gauge guys’ reactions to eye contact, went out and talked to random people. I stood aside and watched while Jayne asked for directions to a nearby location.
We did this in both professional and casual settings, a department store and a university campus. She spoke with men of all sizes and ages. It was neither Jayne’s nor my intention to look for love, which was fine because the results didn’t bode well for the guys.
I hate to say it, but both scenarios ended up showing a continuous pattern of fellows just checking out first Jayne’s body, and then mine over her shoulder. Sorry fellows, but it’s not generally a compliment to a lady to check out her body so blatantly…and then check out her friend.
Ninety percent of the men we spoke with did not maintain eye contact. In the professional setting, the boys made eye contact for as long as it took to appear helpful, and then the wandering eye came into play. In the non-professional settings, there was virtually no eye contact. Guys! You may think you’re being subtle, but we notice those looks.
Then there were the guys who avoided any eye contact altogether. In Eastern cultures, not making direct eye contact is a sign of respect; however, in Western culture, good eye contact is important. Avoiding eye contact is seen as impolite, as you are virtually putting up a wall between you and the other person. You also look nervous.
Two Cents from the Coach
According to a life coach, when talking to an individual, whether female or male, the way to keep respectful eye contact without appearing creepy (i.e: the whole staring through your soul) may be not as tricky you think.
You should look into an individual’s eyes for about five seconds and then glance up or to the side as if you remembering something. Looking down may signify the end of a conversation on your part.
Since technically there were both Jayne and I present, it was essentially to a small group these gentlemen were explaining directions. When you only look at one person while speaking in a group setting, the other members tend to stop listening. To have everyone listen (and for you to appear polite) talk to each new person with each new sentence.
Following the above tips of good eye contact will go a long way towards making you a self-assured and approachable guy. The more positive results you get, the less nervous you will feel.
Oh and boys, just in case you were wondering about what sort of eye contact is romantic, here’s a hint: while she’s talking, make her face your focal point and smile; look at her eyes, then move your gaze to her lips followed by her cheeks (the ones on her face), her nose and then back to her eyes. This sort of eye contact keeps your gaze up and prevents staring, making you appear confident and courtly, which is a very attractive combo. See? It’s not so hard to be that charming dude you hate, but secretly admire. Go forth now and try it out!