Why Do we Make Eye Contact but Never Talk?
Even though eye contact when talking to another person is universally agreed upon as a sign of respect, it still doesn’t prevent us from getting weirded out by someone who stares too long or even feeling ashamed when we meet someone’s gaze too long ourselves. Why do we think eye contact is so important? Where did this belief come from? And why don’t we speak?
This is one of those seemingly innocuous social behaviors that serve an important function: It helps us form deeper, more meaningful connections with others. In a study from researchers, people had to chat through video chat software with another person in another room. Although both participants saw and heard each other, only one could see their partner’s eyes at any given time.
Those in pairs who could only see each other’s eyes for half of the conversation felt a closer connection than those who saw all of their partner’s faces or heard them speak only periodically. The results suggest that there’s no substitute for looking someone in the eye regarding human relationships—even if you can’t hear what they’re saying.
The short answer is that making eye contact (or not) has nothing to do with friendship or likeability. Of course, there are situations where it’s appropriate to look someone in the eyes, and other times when a glance is fine. But regardless of your relationship with someone or where you happen to be, if someone’s gaze lingers for an uncomfortably long time, you have every right to feel uncomfortable and ask them why they won’t look away.
When you’re not confident doing so in person, a polite Can indeed you please turn your gaze away? This should suffice. And even though it may seem rude, I think it’s okay to hold someone’s gaze until they look away first. You shouldn’t need permission from anyone else to control your body language!
It’s up to you whether or not you want to make direct eye contact with people every day. Still, people must know how others’ actions affect them, even if they aren’t intended as insults. Sometimes just being aware of our actions can help us be more considerate.
Why Body Language Matters
Body language is important, yet people don’t often think of it as part of the conversation. They don’t realize that when you meet someone, how you hold yourself and what you do with your body can say a lot about who you are and how you feel about yourself. Your body language also reveals your level of confidence in social situations.
It can even reveal if you’re lying or telling the truth. When meeting new people, try to avoid fidgeting or shifting around too much—it makes others uncomfortable. It may give off an air of nervousness. The same goes for looking at your phone while talking to someone: It makes others feel like you aren’t interested in them or their conversation.
If possible, try to maintain steady eye contact during conversations—not only does it show interest, but it lets others know that you respect them. Keep in mind that a smiling face can go a long way!
How To Overcome Body Language Barriers
Many people still feel isolated even in a more connected world than ever. To break through physical barriers and understand someone’s point of view, a good place to start is with their body language.
This is crucial because you can’t achieve true communication without it—but it isn’t always easy to read other people.
The first step is to ensure your body language doesn’t create a barrier. Make positive gestures, such as smiling and holding eye contact; studies show these can help you seem likable and trustworthy, opening up communication lines. Meanwhile, avoid negative gestures, like crossed arms or a scowl.
Other Ways We Show Interest In A Person
Are numerous other ways to express interest in anyone without speaking to them. We check out their social media pages, find articles they’ve written, and even seek out mutual friends to learn more about them.
Think beyond just making conversation to connect with someone you’re interested in; try going above and beyond by using all your digital resources to create a killer dating profile or compliment them on something they did recently. Let your actions speak for own selves rather than someone’s words.
How to read body language in other ways
While reading a person’s body language is certainly one way to gauge their emotional state, you can interpret subtle cues in other ways.
For example, talking to someone and staring down at their phone doesn’t necessarily mean they are disinterested. It might mean that they are busy texting or emailing someone else and have glanced up to make sure you haven’t walked away. Learning how to interpret facial expressions in certain situations can also help you read body language better.
Similarities Between Humans and Animals
Making eye contact with an animal is like locking eyes with a human. We understand that it is often done to show respect or signal submission, usually in dogs or horses. However, it’s harder to say whether or not our glances are a nonverbal form of communication in humans.
One scientist who believes they are is a psychologist; he has made it his life’s work studying micro expressions and looking for patterns that help us tell whether someone else is lying (he claims he’s discovered them).
A new study found that people in relationships are more likely to be proactive in person rather than send text messages. Researchers had close couples fill out diaries every day for two weeks. The findings suggest that when people are interested in what their partners have to say, they will seek them out—literally!
When people have an important question or issue they want to be addressed, they prefer speaking directly to their partner rather than communicating electronically. The best way to foster communication is by making time for it. Without designated time for communication, you may miss opportunities or hurt your relationship.