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Thread: Handling and Deciphering Eye Contact

  1. #1

    Handling and Deciphering Eye Contact

    Was reading over some experiences with eye contact in the rants thread, and it struck me as amusing just how complicated such a simple occurrence can be. Eye contact can communicate such a myriad of emotions and intentions. Even the lack of eye contact communicates something. Eye contact can even have detrimental effects on one's cognitive abilities, as it takes such a massive amount of brain power to attempt to decipher the information in another persons eyes. It plays a vital role in everything from mating to board room politics. It's fascinating!

    Once I'm familiar with an individual, eye contact becomes an unconscious background process in which I have the utmost confidence in. But when it comes to strangers, it can sometimes take on a large role in my conscious thoughts. If I'm in a rather jolly and outgoing sort of mood, I make eye contact freely and without reservations. It happens rather naturally, and while I'm conscious of it, I'm also confident in its application. The same could be said for an angry mood.

    But far more often when I'm out in public surrounded by strangers, I find myself in a rather neutral or mission oriented mood. This is fine when it comes to eye contact with other men, but when I'm in this mode I find eye contact with women to be troubling.. or at least troublesome. I think in this mood, more of my brain is dedicated to solving problems rather than to the social world around me, and it catches me off guard. My natural eye contact mechanisms don't kick in until after the contact has been made, and then I'm reeling to not only decipher the other persons eyes, but also what my own eyes have accidentally screamed out without my knowledge or intention. At that point, it's damage control and befuddlement. Did I just call them a bitch? Threaten their life? Indicate mating interest? Are their eyes telling me yes? No? Yes to what! I guess I'll just look at my coffee until they go away. They will go away, right?

    I think this is a big part of why being around lots of people exhausts me. Why I'm introverted and would rather just be alone or with people for which I'm already familiar. It might also explain why I have a lot more stamina for online extraversion than I do for RL extraversion. It really does take far less brain horsepower to decipher text than it does to decipher spoken words, faces, eyes, body language and such. I can carry on a textual chat and write software simultaneously. I cannot, however, carry on a RL conversation and do the same. Certainly not well.
    Quote Originally Posted by whatloveihave View Post
    I don't find you a potential threat to human society, you're not crazy. Feces.

  2. #2
    dormant jigglypuff's Avatar
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    the only strangers i'm comfortable making and sustaining eye contact with are babies. actually, i seek out eye contact with them. they're cute and funny to look at. i guess most dudes can't get away with doing this unless they're related or somehow associated with the baby. dudes won't be randomly asked to watch strollers, though.

    i'm p uncomfortable making eye contact during any sort of interview. i'd rather talk about myself and look in periodically. listening and looking is hard. :/

    eye contact on dates is sexy. eye contact does not making an outing a date. eye contact with a purpose that doesn't match the relationship just makes me uncomfortable.

    eye contact that you share with friends cuz something really stupid or funny just happened and you're at the point where you can communicate and share humor without words is the best.

    i feel special and trusted when animals sustain eye contact with me.
    Last edited by jigglypuff; 09-23-2014 at 10:39 PM.

  3. #3
    Member El D.'s Avatar
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    This is tough for me, but I notice its easier if someone is smiling. It gets really intense if someone has a serious look on their face and the eye contact is held for longer than usual, like if an attractive woman is just staring with a sort of blank look, its inviting but still makes me uneasy in a way. Or if someone is angry and theyre staring me down I find it to be especially uncomfortable. I dont want to submit but I also dont want to keep staring into their rage.

    When it comes to strangers I generally try to avoid eye contact because if you look at someone its expected that you would have something to say to them, but I actually feel awkward just looking straight past strangers on the street sometimes. Sometimes it seems more normal to at least take a second to see who it is your passing. I dont generally like making eye contact for more than a 2-3 seconds though (I think this is probably shorter than normal) unless its some intense situation.
    Last edited by El D.; 09-24-2014 at 02:38 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tele View Post
    the only strangers i'm comfortable making and sustaining eye contact with are babies. actually, i seek out eye contact with them. they're cute and funny to look at. i guess most dudes can't get away with doing this unless they're related or somehow associated with the baby. dudes won't be randomly asked to watch strollers, though.
    I never make eye contact with babies. I don't want to inadvertantly be signaling some kind of agression towards them. What if it starts crying?

    I look at strangers faces but not their eyes. Kind of a: "if you want to look into my eyes, go ahead... I'm not hiding them. But I don't want to talk". Probably is that glassy INTP stare I keep reading about.

    When talking to people I'm interested in or closer to I make it a point to look into their eyes and try to work out what they mean. It helps me feel less socially anxious by taking the focus off myself. I had to learn how to do this because my parents both have terrible social anxiety, and I feel like I'm still catching up to the rest of the world.

  5. #5
    dormant jigglypuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buddha View Post
    I never make eye contact with babies. I don't want to inadvertantly be signaling some kind of agression towards them. What if it starts crying?
    that's never happened to me. the thing is you have to keep a genuine, friendly, smiley face, even if it's just your eyes. human instinct is to respond to that positively. babies don't lie. they even smile back. most will probably just look back at you with some curiosity. (but don't do this if the parents/guardian might not like it. i am a really cute, harmless-looking girl, so yeah.)

    i have trouble with it when it's adults who i'm not happy to see cuz they probably want something from me, in a really artificial social environment about presenting some company image or some other bullshit.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by tele View Post
    that's never happened to me. the thing is you have to keep a genuine, friendly, smiley face, even if it's just your eyes. human instinct is to respond to that positively. babies don't lie. they even smile back. most will probably just look back at you with some curiosity. (but don't do this if the parents/guardian might not like it. i am a really cute, harmless-looking girl, so yeah.)
    Of well, yes. I don't have problems with children or babies either. Just the parents. As a none-cute harmful looking guy I am a potential paedophile to them.

  7. #7
    was here.. LordLatch's Avatar
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    I fear what I'm thinking shows in my eyes. Not because I think mean things but rather if they knew what I was thinking, it would take an hour to educate them and explain how that thing I'm thinking correlates to what is happening outside my mind. Path and prerequisite explanation is tedious, is sometimes daunting, and is almost never worth it.
    This just in: I'm accepting all friend requests too unless you're a fricken jerk and I can't stand your existence and inane drivel. If that's the case, then I'll accept your friend request so I can keep an eye on your ass unless you don't hold any interest for me; then only the threat of keeping my eye on you stands. feces

  8. #8
    Bringer of Jollity MoneyJungle's Avatar
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    I always look at babies kindly and sometimes make weird faces at kids aged four to seven for our mutual amusement. I usually do this when I see some bored kid staring out of a car window. I'd do it in closer proximity if people weren't so hysteric about pedophiles. I'd probably be a little uncomfortable around kids without the Nancy Grace-ification of the USA but now I just avoid them as much as possible regardless of the fact that they're so much more amusing in small doses than grown-ups.

    I'm not an eye contact lingerer. I've worked on not immediately breaking eye contact instinctually because I think it comes across as shifty to most people. Of course, then it's hard to listen to someone if you're consciously monitoring your eye contact to the point where you feel like a sociopath. I like the walking conversation best of all because any eye contact feels so natural.

    Most of my conversations at work happen while I'm looking at what I'm working on, so that's nice for me.

    Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore?

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    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    This thread makes me think about a particular family member. Things are so awkward between us! We're very polite to each other but it's like we cannot relate on some fundamental level and we both know it, so we're often glancing at each other and quickly looking away.

    She always talks about how wonderful and beautiful everything is, no matter what it is (musicians, weather, food, every tiny detail to do with the baby). It should be really sweet but for some reason it just makes me seethe on the inside. It's like she has no discernment whatsoever - if everything is marvelous then nothing is marvelous. I try to hide my contempt but I think she knows.

  10. #10
    a fool on a journey pensive_pilgrim's Avatar
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    I've made an effort to make eye contact with people because it might give me information about their state and it makes me feel more in control of the situation. Social interaction takes energy anyway, and if people are intimidated by me they're less likely to try to fuck with me, so it's better than avoiding eye contact and coming across as insecure. I really don't feel like I understand peoples' expressions though. I often get the vague impression that whoever I'm speaking with doesn't want to be speaking with me, but it's hard to say exactly why. In my group therapy they would say that I need to work on "softening my expression" but I don't know what that means. Smiling feels strange unless something happens or is said that makes me want to smile. It's a lot easier for me to interact with people when there's some third thing that's the focus, an activity we're performing or an object of discussion.

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