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Why do i or others have trouble making eye contact?

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posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 06:47 PM
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Throughout my life for as long as I can remember, I've always had a difficult time looking people into the eye and i'm not really sure why.

Whether it be my wife, a friend, family, or a complete stranger, I struggle to do it. It often becomes a problem in job interviews as well. I actually have to tell myself to make eye contact and in turn i feel extremely uncomfortable in doing so. Even on television, if there is a close up of someone looking directly into the camera I have a tough time looking at it.

I've been with my wife for years. Yet i cannot look directly at her for more than a second or two before i feel the need to look away.

Is there a reason for this? Is it genetic? Does it have something to do with personal experiences? Is it some form of distrust in myself or others? Is it self esteem? Is it psychological? What is it? Is there a logical explanation for it?

I consider myself to be quite normal except for this issue. I'm just another regular dude, but i have this glaring aspect about myself that has always bothered me and i've never been able to overcome it.

Does anyone else have this problem or was able to get passed it? I'd love to see any information or experiences anyone may have.




posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 06:50 PM
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I don't know, but I do not trust people who will not look me in the eye, and sometimes I even interpret it as a lack of respect. If I were you, I would work to make it a habit.



posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 06:55 PM
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reply to post by Grumble
 


Yes, I know that many are that way. That's why it's always been a concern of mine. I've always thought of myself to be truthful to others and i've always been courteous to other people.



posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 07:02 PM
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David, I can give a few guesses, but more importantly, I have just the thing to FIX it!

I had this problem too. And I just chalk it up to being too introverted and/or feeling bad about myself and I subconsciously don't want to look at myself in the mirror. Also, you may not want to give others the same chance to see the same thing in your eyes that you see when you look at yourself in the mirror.

Anyway, The Fix!

It's what I call Mirror Time. Go to a private area and stand in front of the mirror and gaze into your own eyes. Don't shy away from what you don't want to see and just become aware of what's going on. Then, just look at yourself and be with yourself as a friend, I guess, and just try and relax and be cool and pleasant until you have a look in your eyes that makes you feel comfortable and that is comfortable and friendly to show the world.

You'll be surprised how good it makes you feel and I begin to kind of "wake up" out of some kind of slumber that I would be in for what seems like months.

Anyway, you don't have to follow my instructions perfectly. The point is to get comfortable looking at yourself in the mirror and just deal with whatever emotional/psychological issues come up. When you are done and feeling alive and awake, it will AUTOMATICALLY carry over to how you look at others... after only ONE exercise. You will be able to look into other peoples eyes and remember what you've been missing all those years. That there is a very subtle communication happing instantly and you will bond with people so much better. It's totally cool.

Good luck.



posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 07:04 PM
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First, Google up "Asperberger's Syndrome". I hope I spelled it right.

Second, lack of confidence can do it.

Third, being an abuse survivor might do it.

Fourth, some religions (though this doesn't fit YOUR case) as you are not a female or young girl.

Fifth, some areas of the country we are told "NOT" to look (insert ethnic groups here) in the eye as in those particular areas it is a sign of "confrontation" rather than a chance greeting. (Again, I don't think this fits your case.)



posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 07:07 PM
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If the issue persists, you might consider Japan. Its considered impolite to look into other peoples eyes there.

So, according to other cultures its not a curse but a blessing.

[edit on 24-1-2009 by Skyfloating]



posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 07:07 PM
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reply to post by David9176
 


Its very honest of you to admit this openly.

It probably is self esteem or lack of confidence. though it could only be in this one regard not in all areas.

It may be if you think of this, stem from a very authoritarian caregiver when younger, and therefore averting eye gaze is a form of showing you are being submissive in that situation.

We learn a lot of behaviours when young.

However it could also be a fear of intimate very close contact, of revealing to much of your soul as such to others, a fear of emotional hurt, maybe suspicion.

It is nothing that is unusual, try the following,

In the mornings, look into the mirror at your own eyes for 5 mins, deeply, all around, the pupil and the coloured part too, learn with yourself first.

Practise with other peoples eyes, wifes would be good, see if its one part where you look, if its the pupil try looking at the cornea or colored part instead and see if its easier.

Another trick for interviews would be as follows, mentally imagine a small trinagle with the base beginning in each pupil of the interviewer, and the tip just at the meeting of the brows, just above the beginning of the nose.

Look at this point during an interview, usually the space between you in such a setting will mean they will think you are looking them direct in the eyes. Its known as the Business triangle and is very good as well if you have a collegue or Boss of the opposite sex who you find attractive, as it keeps all messages and therefore as well your thoughts, on business, and stops you making eye glances where they shouldn't go in such a situation, by only letting your gaze land in this triangle.

Kind Regards

Elf

[edit on 24-1-2009 by MischeviousElf]



posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 07:13 PM
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Eye contact can seem extraordinarily intimate to many people, particularly those with shyness or a strong need for personal privacy. I recall avoiding eye contact during my adolescence. I felt like I was being stripped naked whenever someone maintained eye contact for too long--it was terribly uncomfortable. I overcame it by essentially forcing myself to make eye contact whenever speaking with strangers, friends and family. I found it easiest to make eye contact with strangers in the beginning, as I could just excuse myself from the conversation if it became too overwhelming. I would suggest trying to do this gradually; set a simple goal of maintaining eye contact for just a few (let's say 3 or 4) seconds during each conversation. You can break and return to eye contact periodically throughout a conversation. Increase the time each day or two, even if only by a few seconds. It can be a slow process, but you need to overcome this--a lack of eye contact as an adult can create questions in the minds of others, including suspicion (as has already been noted in this thread). People generally appreciate eye contact during conversation, as it helps to confirm that the person you're speaking to is genuinely paying attention to what you're saying.



posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 07:14 PM
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I had this same problem when I was much younger ,and one of the things I did was the mirror thing TheSingularity mentioned

there is an old method of psycho therapy called Transactional Analysis,it was very helpful in my case
I'm sure if you Google it you can find out all about it

It deals with just these problems of confidence, personal interaction, and body language



posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 07:18 PM
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reply to post by MischeviousElf
 


The problem I see with the Triangle technique is that it may look unnatural. For instance, you never just want to follow a rule of thumb. There are subtle ques when to look and when to look away... when to nod in affirmation, when to get a hint of something that should be read between the lines, the person's possible motives... also you don't want to stare too much.

I would say the Triangle tech could be used in emergency cases or, when maybe YOU have something to hide, like how much money you really have to put down on the new car.



posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 07:20 PM
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Thank you all for the quick replies. This has something that has always bothered me. Looking at the Asperberger's Syndrome link...the description's there are kinda scare me a bit..lol.




ndividuals with AS can exhibit a variety of characteristics and the disorder can range from mild to severe. Persons with AS show marked deficiencies in social skills, have difficulties with transitions or changes and prefer sameness. They often have obsessive routines and may be preoccupied with a particular subject of interest. They have a great deal of difficulty reading nonverbal cues (body language) and very often the individual with AS has difficulty determining proper body space.



I also have a large problem with personal space unless it is with my wife. I often get preoccupied with certain issues for extended periods of time until something else gets my attention.

Although i don't meet all of these standards to have this, it's a bit surprising to me that there was even such a thing.

Once again, thanks for all quick replies..and the tips as well



posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 07:21 PM
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reply to post by Skyfloating
 


That's quite interesting. I had no idea that was a form of distrust in Japan. It's amazing how different other cultures can be.



posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 07:22 PM
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Originally posted by invisiblewoman
...
there is an old method of psycho therapy called Transactional Analysis,it was very helpful in my case
I'm sure if you Google it you can find out all about it
...


Hey, thanks for reminding me. I think I first learned about TA from reading Games People Play where the author talks about pastimes and such. That's a good book.



posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 07:25 PM
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First, this most likely is not a self esteem issue. Do google Aspergers syndrome. This is classic of the disorder. Both my husband and my son have this. My son has been officially diagnosed, my husband has not. My husband had to re-train himself how to give eye contact. He said the main reason he cannot look someone in the eye, is because it is so distracting. He cannot look and listen at the same time. He then learned to focus on spot directly above the eyes. It still looks as if he is engaged in conversation, but the physical distraction that he experiences when looking directly in the eyes is gone.

If not Aspergers, then you could have social anxiety disorder. I am quite certain that this is something you cannot control and is not related to your self esteem.

Good luck,
Pax



posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 07:26 PM
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reply to post by David9176
 


That might describe me a bit as well. Do you stay up late as well and hard to wake up in the morning?



posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 07:30 PM
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Originally posted by paxnatus
...I am quite certain that this is something you cannot control and is not related to your self esteem.

Good luck,
Pax


I wouldn't be so certain. For me, it just took taking 10 mins out of my day and out of my routine or rut that I was in. It just takes effort to wake-up out of your sleeping, mechanical state. Meditation is good for this as well. So, that's 30 mins out of your day... to do something for yourself.

[edit on 24-1-2009 by TheSingularity]



posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 07:30 PM
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They say the eyes are the window into the soul.

You can sometimes learn more about a person by looking them in the eye than you can from any other part of that person.

Perhaps for some people looking them in the eye also means revealing more of yourself than you are comfortable with so you avoid doing it.

What about people who are total strangers and they endlessly stare at you? That bothers me to no end, I don't know why some people do it, what are they looking for, what do they see, what is the problem?




posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 07:30 PM
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reply to post by TheSingularity
 


YES!!

I've always been a night owl. I have an extremely tough time getting up in the morning. I have to hit the snooze button numerous times and i always feel absolutely terrible.

My main problem is at night...I think...often about stupid things that i shouldn't be thinking about at all. Then i get angry with myself for thinking..lol

I've been this way since i was a kid.



posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 07:33 PM
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reply to post by TheSingularity
 



Oh I totally agree and as someone who has had this same problem David should take your experience more than any advice I give.

It is good though in interviews with space between you if you cant look at the eyes, as it gives the impression to the interveiwer you are looking them in the eye.

Just to clarify as well I don't mean to look constantly there but let you gaze go around this triangle, looking directly in the eyes to build confidence, but if that becomes uncomfortable you can look at the tip of the triangle.

When younger It helped me when I had a Boss who was very sexual, she was very very pretty and as my Boss of limits, it stopped the usual response I saw from my co-workers of staring at her lips or letting their gaze go lower.

She used to use this I observed as a Power thing, and funny enough i was the only male member of the team that she seemed to respect and not try and manipulate. if I found the gaze into her eyes to much as I was loosing track of work, I would use the move the gaze around the triangle to break it.

There is also the reverse Intimate Triangle where you have the Tip of the triangle placed on the persons sexual organ region and allow your gaze, looks to follow that line and look within that area, to show real sexual intent and desire


David I have a considerable amount of experience with Aspergers and Autism, just to let you know WE ARE ALL on the "Scale" of measurement as such. i.e. OCD is often present in people with no Aspergers Diagnosis, but it is a hall mark of Aspergers too. It is more pleasant life if you do fall on the scale so its defined by a doctor on you as a diagnosis of having it, than say ADHT or Panic Attacks so dont worry.

Go and get a test why not?

No drugs for it, its not a deficiency or real issue as you are married and from your posts as normal as any of us here
just may help you understand yourself more, and know which way to go to achieve any change you want in your life.

Kind Regards,

Elf



posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 07:35 PM
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reply to post by Walkswithfish
 


Another thing i've always noticed about myself is that when i drink alcohol, I don't do this stuff. I'm the exact opposite. I talk to everyone, make eye contact, fine with personal space, etc. ALso, i have no trouble falling asleep..




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