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Old 10-16-2006, 07:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default making eye contact with professors during their lectures

I find it uncomfortable to make eye contact with my professors while they're lecturing because a lot of mine look at me a lot, and I don't know why. I want to hold the eye contact so I don't seem so awkward and nervous, but then I can't concentrate on what they're saying. I usually just end up looking away, and probably not so casually.

I feel like they notice. I'm either worrying about that or I'm afraid my face expression looks unfriendly so I have to make an effort to appear normal. It's just all so distracting.

I don't like going to a certain class just because of this problem. I always come home feeling negative about myself because I think that professor notices. He always looks at me and it's uncomfortable so I'm always looking down at my stuff. I feel so.. not confident in that class.

I also look around to see how other people react to it. Some seem to hold eye contact well (looks natural and casual) while there are a few who aren't but only because they're sleepy or bored. I don't think there's anyone else like me. : /

Does anyone here go through this eye contact problem during lectures, or is it just me?
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Old 10-16-2006, 07:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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i go through exactly what you described, infact, i cannot really offer you any advice because i'm in the same boat
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Old 10-16-2006, 07:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: making eye contact with professors during their lectures

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dove
Does anyone here go through this eye contact problem during lectures, or is it just me?
YES! I had this exact same problem too. I can appreciate exactly how you feel.

I think the key is here:
Quote:
I don't think there's anyone else like me. : /
As far as the prof is concerned, everyone else in the class is like you. It's a common technique for speakers to look at and make eye contact with their audience, so think about how often they speak... making eye contact while lecturing is hard-wired into them. The last thing they are noticing is your facial expression.

Don't give yourself another thing to worry about (save your brain the neurotransmitters . Look down at your desk if you have to and forget it.
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Old 10-16-2006, 08:23 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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I'm sure your "look aways" are normal.

I use to have a teacher that never ever made eye contact with her class. She always looked at the wall behind us or the ceiling. We noticed it for the first few days and then we got use to it.
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Old 10-16-2006, 08:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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No worries. I do the same thing and always figured it was normal because I've always seen everyone else do it too. Unless the teacher is asking you a specific question they're probably not even paying attention to you even though they're looking right in your eyes. Like captainxo said, it's just something lecturers learn to do automatically. They're far too focued on the point they're trying to make and what they're going to say next to even notice any expression you might have on your face.
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Old 10-16-2006, 09:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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I do the same sometimes. captainxo is right, though. I remember when I did public speaking. You are taught to make eye contact with everyone. I remember when I made eye contact with everyone I never actually noticed anyone, probably because I was nervous. The professor probably notices a bit more since he's used to speaking, but he is still going to be more focused on what he's saying and not how you react.
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Old 10-16-2006, 09:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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I think its a good opportunity to practice your eye contact. hold it for as long as you can. I used to make constant eye contact and even though I was quiet I had more than one prof mention they knew I was absorbing/processing the information.
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Old 10-16-2006, 09:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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I feel uncomfortable too. Most of the time I look in their general direction, but never directly at them.

I wouldn't worry too much about it. Instructors want you to feel comfortable and do well in their class. So if you learn better by not looking at them, they'll understand.
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Old 10-16-2006, 11:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Maybe I just miss something important, but why on earth would the lecturers care about whether you make eye contact with them or not? I instinctively avoid eye contact with those lecturers who seem unfriendly, but I never give much thought to it...
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Old 10-16-2006, 11:21 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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I had this problem at church when I went last week. The gues speaker was looking at me and I was afraid I was looking at him for too long. I have a tendency to do that. SA is bad at that!
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Old 10-17-2006, 12:44 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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I had this problem in college. My solution was to just look at the bridge of the professor's nose or just look at the general area around their eyes but not directly into their eyes. It lets them know you're paying attention without feeling like you're staring them down.

It still happens sometimes though when I'm in meetings where people are sitting close to me. A couple of months ago, I caught myself looking too long into someone's eyes at work while he was talking during a meeting and I am pretty sure I freaked him out.
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Old 10-17-2006, 03:34 PM   #12 (permalink)
 
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^ Yeah, I've tried the whole staring at their nose thing but it still feels weird for me because I know that they're looking at me. I'll try it again though and see what happens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by millenniumman75
I had this problem at church when I went last week. The gues speaker was looking at me and I was afraid I was looking at him for too long. I have a tendency to do that. SA is bad at that!
I go through the same thing at church too. I always feel like the priests are looking at me during their sermons so I always try to sit behind tall people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skroderider
Maybe I just miss something important, but why on earth would the lecturers care about whether you make eye contact with them or not? I instinctively avoid eye contact with those lecturers who seem unfriendly, but I never give much thought to it...
It's not really about that. It's just the whole uncomfortable, awkward feeling of thinking he notices my awkwardness. And I think he does because when I look away in a not casual way, he kind of pauses or starts stuttering.

Thanks for replying everyone.
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Old 10-17-2006, 11:54 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Yeah I got this a lot at uni. But I also got nervous when they looked at me because I feel like they might ask me a question in front of everyone. Then I'd look away and have to calm myself down. This might be a silly suggestion, but maybe you could pretend to take a note when they make eye contact with you. I look down at my book. I don't know if it's good advice though because I suppose we shouldn't avoid it.
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Old 10-18-2006, 01:16 AM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Yes, I have the same problem. In one of my classes, I have a teacher that is very confident and out-going. During her lectures, she peruses up and down the aisles and locks eyes with students as if she was talking to them -- and only them. I feel threatened when she does that to me, but I try my best to keep eye contact. However, I secretively panic because I'm afraid she's going to ask me a question that I don't know the answer to. And when she does, I just nod out of stupidity.

Making eye contact and processing what she's saying is very hard to do simultaneously; It's either one or the other for me.
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Old 10-18-2006, 01:25 AM   #15 (permalink)
 
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Same thing happened to me. I had a lecturer who'd walk up and down the aisles and look at people. I just pretended like I was taking notes.

It was far worse when everyone was coming into lectures in big groups of friends and I sat by myself.
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Old 10-18-2006, 02:05 AM   #16 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Restless Mind
During her lectures, she peruses up and down the aisles and locks eyes with students as if she was talking to them -- and only them.
OMG that is scary! My anxiety is not that bad now, but that would send it straight through the roof!
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Old 10-18-2006, 07:33 AM   #17 (permalink)
 
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I had trouble making eye contact with professors, especially when they asked a question. I was afraid if our eyes met they would call on me.
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Old 10-18-2006, 08:04 AM   #18 (permalink)
 
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The other week we had a guest lecture from some police superintendent. He said something like 'There's undeniably a lot of prejudice in the police force, and I admit, when I first joined, I was extremely homophobic', and I swear to god he was glaring right at me when he said it.
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Old 10-18-2006, 09:18 AM   #19 (permalink)
 
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hi everyone. . .

regarding eye contact with professors or to anyone, I think it is essential especially when having communication. When you speak or talk, you really must have eye contact to the audience or to the one you're talking to.

Anyways, I think we are just a bit conscious when they tend to look at our direction. What we need is a strong motivation to overcome this problem. We must put in mind that we have to fight this. Just put in mind that it is not only you whom he is looking at. He is having eye contact to everyone. So just look at him when he looks at you and he will look at the others then. But when you avoid his eye contact, he will even notice you more. Try to practice this when you talk to your friend or someone close to you. Maintaning eye contact can also help you gain more confidence.
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Old 10-18-2006, 09:31 AM   #20 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: making eye contact with professors during their lectures

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dove
I find it uncomfortable to make eye contact with my professors while they're lecturing because a lot of mine look at me a lot, and I don't know why. I want to hold the eye contact so I don't seem so awkward and nervous, but then I can't concentrate on what they're saying. I usually just end up looking away, and probably not so casually.

I feel like they notice. I'm either worrying about that or I'm afraid my face expression looks unfriendly so I have to make an effort to appear normal. It's just all so distracting.

I don't like going to a certain class just because of this problem. I always come home feeling negative about myself because I think that professor notices. He always looks at me and it's uncomfortable so I'm always looking down at my stuff. I feel so.. not confident in that class.

I also look around to see how other people react to it. Some seem to hold eye contact well (looks natural and casual) while there are a few who aren't but only because they're sleepy or bored. I don't think there's anyone else like me. : /

Does anyone here go through this eye contact problem during lectures, or is it just me?
they could be looking at you because you look uncomfortable,
or they could fancy you
or you could be the only person actually watching and not gazing into space bored
or just communicating normally

From my few years in academia most profs are a**es anyway and can be quite full of themselves and intimidating. One in our lab blanks you when you say hi, even if it is Saturday and you are the only people there and he is passing you

I tend to hide behind people, I hate being in an aisle or on the front row where people can look right at you. I always feel uncomfortable at the theatre (plays not films to the americans) as sometimes actors interact with the audience. When I was a kid there were people who pulled kids out of the audience and put them on stage in front of 100s of people and make them assist in their act. I still worry about winning something now and having to go to the front on stage.
I feel that I would be scared in front of an audience and feel the fear for them, and feel uncomfortable watching them. At the same time it is intimidating to be singled out and makes them seem scary, not scared.
I hate eye contact.
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