Social Anxiety Forum - View Single Post - Why am I scared to look people in the eyes?
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 05-30-2008, 02:45 PM
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Re: Why am I scared to look people in the eyes?

Originally Posted by tednugent2007
I guess I'm afraid I will make them uncomfortable because I'm making too much eye contact and it will seem weird. I also feel like they're invading my space when looking into my eyes for long periods. Dunno how to explain... but it just feels freaky. lol
Hehe ok. So I'd try to figure out the visual clues that would indicate that they are uncomfortable. Otherwise, it's just speculation and the mind-reading fallacy. Try to come up with tangible indicators that can either be confirmed or disconfirmed. How will you know whether they are uncomfortable? Maybe write out some ideas for what would qualify as evidence that they are uncomfortable, alongside some visual clues of evidence that they are not uncomfortable. You want to get a good, testable framework around it before you even begin the testing phase.

The safety behavior is looking away and avoiding eye contact. What is the benefit that you think this behavior causes? Does it prevent them from acting in an uncomfortable or mean way? Does it make them act more comfortable and friendly? I'm not trying to answer for you, as obviously you only know the answer to that, hehe. This is another way though to come up with a testable way to see just how effective the safety behavior is from what you think it's protecting you from.

It can get pretty deep at times (for me at least), so I'd recommend writing it down as you get ideas. Just remember to make notes of things that can be tested. You can't read minds, so testing whether someone feels this way or that way isn't going to be effective for either confirming or disconfirming anything. Keep the tests on a level that you can confirm or disconfirm with clear visual cues.

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