The importance of eye contact in communicating

Paul LinesStarred Page By Paul Lines, 22nd Jan 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Philosophy>Other

When communicating with others the process of eye contact is as important as the words we speak

Why the eyes matter in communicating

A mirror into the soul is how some would describe our eyes. Nevertheless, they are so much more than that, which is why eye contact is such an important part of everyone's body language. Without saying a word our eyes, and the way we use them, can speak volumes. Without being able to know our thoughts, others perceive our hearing and understanding by watching our eyes. Lastly, our eyes can be used to read how other people are relating to us as an individual, or our status, although it is surprising how people fail to do the former.

Words between people are sometimes not needed. You can actually say a lot by the way in which eye contact is made, even before you open your mouth. This happens in any situation that we might find ourselves, be that a relationship, social occasion or business environment.

What the eyes say

In a relationship, the way that eye contact is used has a significant impact upon how your partner or date perceives what you are saying to them. For example, if they see that you cannot make or maintain eye contact with them, there are two messages that you might be sending. The first is that you are not interested, which is likely to leave you sitting on your own nursing your hurt pride. For example, if you insist upon allowing your eyes to wander around the room instead of focusing on the person you are with, making them feel important and special to you, this reaction is hardly surprising. People want to know they matter and making eye contact is one way of giving them this message, as indeed is listening to what they are saying.

The second aspect that can be read through eye contact, or lack of it, is honesty of feeling and words. If you partner asks you a personal question about you feelings for them and you cannot keep eye contact with them when you reply it could show that your words are not the truth or, at best, that you are not totally sure of your feelings.
To a lesser or greater extent these same two aspect of people being able to read what we are thinking by our eye contact behaviour applies to any other situation where we are conversing with others. Making eye contact shows we are interested in the person and what they have to say when they are talking. When we are talking, making eye contact shows them we want them within our conversation, the words are directed at them and that we believe in what we are saying.

Eye contact can also create an impression of the type of person we are and the particular emotions that we feel at the time that contact is made. For instance, someone who stares at another is often considered to be rude and aggressive, or trying to dominate. Similarly, it could denote feelings of anger. In this case, the stare will be noticed by the fact that there is little movement of the eyelids. A stare can also make the other person feel uncomfortable and there they will create a bad impression of the person making eye contact in this manner.

Conversely, a person can make eye contact that shows they care about another, in which case the contact is not so intense and, because of the facial expression surrounding the eyes are softer. This shows the level of comfort they have with the person they are looking at, and can signify feelings of empathy, connection and an emotional reaction.

How eyes can lead to misunderstanding

Although many of our eye contact actions come automatically, we have to remember it can be easily misunderstood, a situation liable to cause problems in certain circumstances. If you give the wrong eye contact signals in a relationship or a work environment it can result in having the opposite effect to what was intended. For example, if you stare too hard at a person you are dating you may be perceived as rude, even if the reason for your staring is the wonderful visual impact they have on you. Similarly, if you gaze out of the window while the boss is giving you instructions, he or she might think that you are not taking a blind bit of attention, whereas in fact, the opposite may be true and you are simply gazing away as you concentrate of working out how to put his or her wishes into action. If this is the case then you need to explain to the other person why your eyes are acting in this manner.

Conclusion

In conclusion, therefore, it can be seen that there is a need to pay attention to the way you use your eyes when you make contact or communicate with others.

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Tags

Behaviour Pattern, Communication, Communication Problems, Communication Skills, Contact, Eye Contact, Eyes

Meet the author

author avatar Paul Lines
Having spent a large part of my working life as a business consultant, I am now a full time freelance writer offering content for on-line and print publishers, as well as focusing on creative writing

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Comments

author avatar Jerry Walch
22nd Jan 2011 (#)

I will never trust someone or what they say if they don't look me in the eyes when talking to me.

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author avatar Denise O
22nd Jan 2011 (#)

I agree Jerry, if they can't look you in the eye, some thing is up.
Great article Paul, loved the message and the whole format. Congrats on the star page, it is well deserved.
Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar Paul Lines
22nd Jan 2011 (#)

Thanks Jerry and Denise

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author avatar zed
22nd Jan 2011 (#)

Absolutely true!
good read :)

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author avatar Paul Lines
22nd Jan 2011 (#)

Thanks Zed

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author avatar Yvonnek
23rd Jan 2011 (#)

I agree one hundred percent, eye contact is very important.

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author avatar Angelique Newman
5th Feb 2011 (#)

Wonderful article Paul; I totally agree.

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author avatar Paul Lines
5th Feb 2011 (#)

Thanks Angelique and Yvpnnek. I am glad you enjoyed it

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author avatar D in The Darling
8th Feb 2011 (#)

He who can't look you in the eye is hideous!
Great article Paul and congratulations on the star. You deserved it.

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author avatar Paul Lines
9th Feb 2011 (#)

Thank you Din

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author avatar Rose Silver
9th Feb 2011 (#)

Yes, nice article and "right on spot" regarding eye contact..:)

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author avatar Paul Lines
9th Feb 2011 (#)

Thanks Rose

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author avatar Val Mills
15th Feb 2011 (#)

Wonderful article

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author avatar Paul Lines
15th Feb 2011 (#)

Thanks Val

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author avatar Rathnashikamani
5th Mar 2011 (#)

Good observations on body language!

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author avatar Paul Lines
8th Mar 2011 (#)

Thanks Rath

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
23rd Jul 2011 (#)

Some people don't make eye contact, not because they are uninterested, but because of their own fear or lack of self-esteem. Great star page and great share. Thank you
Paul.

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