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Making Connection: Eye Contact II

I got a fun and interesting response to the article about eye contact, so I have posted it below for you to enjoy…

Ah! One of my favorite topics; eye contact. This is yet another area that affects the genders somewhat differently, though I absolutely concur with the overall power of eye contact. (At the risk of undermining the rest of my message and appearing loony, I even make eye contact with squirrels! They seem to like it.)

A very easy way to incorporate it is to make sure when you approach a service person (cashier, bank teller,
bus driver), that you look them in the eye and offer a greeting. Too often people blow through these interactions and waste opportunities to make everybody feel a tad better.

It CAN be scary to be the forward party (which I usually designate myself), but the rewards are compelling — I get enough positive feedback to keep on doing it.

I have to say though, that many people are so alienated from themselves and others that when you
look into their eyes, you get nothing. I call it the ‘dead fish eyes’ syndrome. Nobody is home. Either that, or there is a wall up. Then again, some folks’ eyes appear to be going around like pinwheels — not
good either!

I particularly like to use eye contact to bridge what are traditionally gaps — race, gender, age. Interestingly, I’ve noted that younger people — children past a certain age and teenagers will NOT make eye contact with me. It is the rare one who does. (I can’t recall if I wouldn’t look people in the eye at that age or not.) I think senior citizens (unless they are too frightened generally) appreciate the eye contact — too often they are over-looked. I do my best to appear non-threatening and friendly, i.e., not a purse snatcher or other questionable

On the gender front, a woman has to be careful about making eye contact with men. If she does so in public, a strange man may end up bounding across a room or public space to approach her, which can be

If I may add a specific note to men: don’t just stare! If you are going to look into a woman’s eyes for longer than is socially considered acceptable, SAY SOMETHING. Or smile at least! It works my nerves when men stare at me without softening it somehow. It’s a fine balance, I admit, between saying nothing and saying TOO much. If I might, I’d suggest men choose a non-threatening comment, nothing too personal, but rather something about the environment. “These lines are always so long” is much better (in my opinion) than “Where do you live?”

I admit I don’t always use eye contact strictly to create good will and harmony in the world — a well-placed stern look can also have amazing power, particularly if you want to send a message without starting up a verbal confrontation. Say somebody shoves you in public, turning and giving them A Look can be quite useful. In personal relationships, when someone is acting the fool, just looking at them can be enough to straighten them out!

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