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Old 07-23-2006, 08:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Eye contact- what is normal?

Okay, I noticed that I avert my eyes a lot from a person's gaze while talking to them, but I usually only do it in prolonged and/or formal converstations. I'm SURE you guys do this, too. I used to avert people's eyes completely, but now I don't have a problem looking at them- I just feel weird looking at them for such long periods of time, or, if they're a higher status than I am, I feel like I'm acting proud or pompous.

I considered this to be normal until recently. Do others usually avert thier eyes (not for a long time, but just like glancing at the door or the picture on the wall, or the tv, or the carpet, for a short time and then returning his gaze to the speaker)? Or is this just another symptom for SA?
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Old 07-23-2006, 08:55 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Yeah, I wonder about this too. How could anyone not be thinking about if they are making the right amount of eye contact or not in these situations? It feels so unnatural!

For example, I had to talk to my English teacher (a grad student) after school to discuss my ideas for my presentation. I made the effort to look her in the eyes. I was thinking "o.k. that's got to have been half a minute! keep holding it keep holding it ahhh!" I couldn't help but flick my eyes other places. I didnt' know when I was supposed to drop my gaze. I tried to look like I was following what she was saying but putting on an "interested" face and nodding and stuff. Well, it sucks that I just don't "know" what to do with my eyes. They way I deal with it is that I assume that I am not making enough eye contact. Even though I still chicken out sometimes, I think it's better to err on the side of too much eye contact.
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Old 07-23-2006, 08:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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If you stare too long, it usually makes the person uncomfortable, unless you want to fall in love...in a scientific study, apparently strangers who maintain eye contact for like 5 minutes have a high incidence of falling in love.
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Old 07-24-2006, 10:29 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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I have found that if you maintain contact for a long time the other person will be intimidated or uncomfortable. (sometimes I play around with this on the customers at work ) I used to have a problem with eye contact, but now I don't. Unless I am feeling very emotional. I hate to cry infront of others.

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Old 07-24-2006, 11:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Thanks to inattentive ADD people think im a great listener and i pay attention them when in reality im not even there, i've developed an uncanny ability to be on complete auto pilot during conversations and give generic answers while not even being there. Of course this totally screws me up when i need to pay attention to the conversation and i completely break eye contact and fumble through the conversation.
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Old 07-25-2006, 01:24 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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I can make eye contact for a few seconds, and then I end up looking out a window or at something on the wall. I look down a lot too... at my ring or watch or shoes. I hate it because then people think I'm not listening or I don't care about what they're saying, but that's not the case at all.
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Old 07-25-2006, 02:50 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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if i make eye contact for too long i get all anxious and have to look away.
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Old 07-25-2006, 03:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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the etiquete of eye contact varies with the place and culture, is some high crime areas, it isnt used at all as its considered agressive

if in doubt, look at their forehead, dont look down
you can practise eye contact by looking the TV nresreader in the eye, the effect is the same
also make a point of remembering the color of peoples eyes
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Old 07-25-2006, 03:21 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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I had a boss once and we would stare at each other all the time when we talked, I think my ability to maintain his eye contact comfortably was the reason he hired me. Then he made me mad and I quit and I don't look at him at all anymore, just not comfortable with him like I was.
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Old 07-25-2006, 04:48 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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I chatted with a counsellor the other day who made me feel remarkebly comfrotable for only having just met him, but still I struggled to maintain eye contact for more than 1 second at a time.

That showed me that I have a complete deficiency of any sort of social skills whatsoever.
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Old 07-25-2006, 05:19 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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I can do eye contact very easily when someone is talking to me. I just have a problem with the reverse.
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Old 07-25-2006, 07:09 PM   #12 (permalink)
 
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I had the opposite problem. I made too much eye contact. I have PTSD, so I'm hyper-vigilant, meaning I am way too aware of my surroundings, and always on the look out for danger. I also have a hyper startle response.

I didn't even realize I was staring at people. It took me a long time to realize that was why people were uncomfortable around me. Once I did realize it, it felt strange, and was always worst walking past people in the hallways at work. I didn't know if I should make eye contact and say hello, or look at the floor, or avert my eyes somewhere.

When I did first start averting my eyes, it was so awkward because I didn't know where to look, and people sensed my awkwardness and felt awkward around me. I became extremely aware of how much eye contact I'd make. For me, I have to err on the side of too little eye contact. I'd rather appear shy than freak people out by staring at them.

It's getting easier now. It's been 3 jobs later, and I feel like I'm finally not freaking people out. I'm learning how to look away, avert my eyes, and look natural about it.
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Old 07-26-2006, 01:25 AM   #13 (permalink)
 
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I hate making eye contact. they think you want to kiss them or something!!!
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Old 07-27-2006, 02:17 PM   #14 (permalink)
 
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i have a big problem with eye contact. I was once told my an english teacher in school that if you dont look at someone in the eye it means you do not feel good about yourself. Gosh i wonder how long it took her to figure that out.

yesterday i was in my therapy session and i was doing everything to avoid eye contact and she called me on it and asked why am i not looking at her, and if she was that ugly?? It was funny that she noticed this and i was doing it so i would not connect with her and not open up to much of myself to her. usually i would give her some kind of eye contact but yesterday i tried to avoid it all together.
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Old 07-27-2006, 04:14 PM   #15 (permalink)
 
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^^^ "am i that ugly?" lol, seems as if she's trying to tell u have an eyecontact problem in a nice humorous way, your therapist seems cool

im working on my eye contact with my therapist as well and it's getting better (very slow progress, but progess none the less) a few months ago i was at the point where if i were to talk to someone i'd "always" stare at the ground or at there pants or whatever, or even when i walk pass someone i'll look away in the opposite direction (where it felt "safe") but now i challenge myself to engage eye contact and i am able to atleast hold a second's worth of eye contact with a girl and not become all sweaty with an incredibly fast heart beat
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Old 07-28-2006, 02:06 AM   #16 (permalink)
 
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Well i once heard in a psyc class, and i also read in a few places, that for a pesron, well "normal" person, diverting eye contact is gerenally a result of the person thinking about something...

So to me, i just kinda observe the peson i talk to... i kinda looked away after 10--15, seconds---and then i see the other person geranlly look away after i wait anyway from 10-50secs, and be a bit hesistant(as if they are thinking about the thing they are talking about)


In short, its uncommon to have like extremely long (5mins about) periods of eye contact in a normal situtation---unless you wanna let the person know they are in love.

Its pretty common to divert eye contact about every minure or so, it lets the pesron know that you are actually thiking about what they say
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Old 07-31-2006, 10:08 AM   #17 (permalink)
 
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My therapist is really cool. I respect her because she calls me on things, like the no eye contact etc. I also call her on things as well. Once i was talking to her about something then all of a sudden her eyes starting bugging all over the place.. i thought i was boring her. I called her on it and asked her what that was all about. It is good that we have that kind of relationship. She has really been a life saver for me.
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Old 07-31-2006, 10:19 AM   #18 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Eye contact- what is normal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by estrella
Okay, I noticed that I avert my eyes a lot from a person's gaze while talking to them, but I usually only do it in prolonged and/or formal converstations. I'm SURE you guys do this, too. I used to avert people's eyes completely, but now I don't have a problem looking at them- I just feel weird looking at them for such long periods of time, or, if they're a higher status than I am, I feel like I'm acting proud or pompous.

I considered this to be normal until recently. Do others usually avert thier eyes (not for a long time, but just like glancing at the door or the picture on the wall, or the tv, or the carpet, for a short time and then returning his gaze to the speaker)? Or is this just another symptom for SA?
I think this is totally normal. When I talk to my counselor I look her in the eye all of the time but not for long periods of time, to me that is rude. I think people with SA have a tendency to look away excessively but looking away and then back again is normal. People talk all the time without staring into each other's eyes for the whole conversation, that would be unnatural.
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Old 07-31-2006, 10:26 AM   #19 (permalink)
 
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I hate it when my therapist just looks at me and does not say anything that makes me feel so uncomfortable.. i just want to go hide somewhere
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Old 07-31-2006, 10:57 AM   #20 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sab227
I hate it when my therapist just looks at me and does not say anything that makes me feel so uncomfortable.. i just want to go hide somewhere
You need a new therapist. If you aren't able to say anything it is their job to make you feel comfortable not sit and stare at you. Most of the time my counselor has more to say than I do and she never just looks at me if I am having a hard time responding to a question, she helps me by asking the question in a different way or asking another question.
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